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Gender, Sexualities & Cultural Studies

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Welcome

The Gender, Sexualities and Cultural Studies Special Interest Group welcomes all researchers, especially honours, masters, doctoral research students and early career researchers interested in the cultural politics of gender, sex, sexuality and everyday life. The first chair of the SIG was Mary Lou Rasmussen (Deakin/Monash), and the SIG was founded at the Fremantle conference of AARE in 2001. Following on from Mary Lou Rasmussen, it was convened for four years by Claire Charles (Deakin) and Kristina Gosttschall (Charles Sturt) through to 2011. Anna Hickey-Moody (Sydney) and Daniel Marshall (Deakin) are the immediate past convenors and Annette Brömdal (University of Southern Queensland), Lisa van Leent (Queensland University of Technology) and Leanne Coll (Deakin) are the current Co-Convenors. Anna and Daniel have developed the position statement below as a way of indicating the forms of scholarship undertaken by group members. It's a statement intended to orient those who might not be sure what our SIG does. If you read it and it doesn't make sense, or its not quite you, but you feel your research is located in one of the areas we have named, why don't you come to the SIG dinner and meet the group members. It's about the cultural politics of experience.

The SIG runs postgraduate and early career researcher development workshops before the annual conference (subject to available funding). It awards a best ECR paper and best overall paper prize for papers presented in our SIG stream. If you would like to be involved, email a convenor. We especially encourage the submission of themed symposia and invitational symposia in our research areas.Conversations between practice, industry, policy and theory are warmly received, as are perspectives from the humanities and sociology of education. 

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AARE Gender, Sexualities and Cultural Studies SIG: Call for nominations for mid career leadership award for 2017 opening soon

 

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Position Statement

The research areas of gender, sexualities and cultural studies are brought together by an interest in the politics of everyday life. Broadly speaking, our interest lies in the everyday ways in which adults and young people embody, perform and express gendered and sexualised identities in varying contexts. Scholars in this SIG address the cultural politics that accrue in relation to identity work and explore how different practices and identifications shape experiences and interpretations of schooling, youth and identity categories. 

Cultural politics surrounding the sexual practices of youth, distinctions between public and private sexual identities and the roles that sexualities education might, or might not play in shaping young people's sexual practices are core to many experiences of adolescence. The cultural politics of sexuality are also forms of cultural pedagogy that are all too often used to teach essentialist ideas about relations between gender, 'biological sex', sexual orientation, minority and maturity. 

We read cultural studies of education as the practice of thinking critically about the cultural politics of curriculum, pedagogy and schooling and the ways young people navigate and interpret experiences and texts in and out of school. We are interested in scholarship that explores how teachers might read students as critical, discriminating subjects of contemporary popular culture, school cultures and curriculum. We acknowledge Richard Hoggart's argument that discrimination is a way that 'people without an intellectual bent' could nevertheless 'become wise in their own way' (Hoggart 1957: 338). Doing gender differently and forms of sexual and aesthetic activism can be important examples of young people and teachers performing such wisdom. More than this, we contend the role of the teacher in reading student's embodied choices is always political. As such, the SIG brings together researchers engaging critical approaches to hegemonic cultural patterns, including dominant constructions of sex, gender, sexuality in their everyday instantiations. We read these as institutionalized and embodied articulations of what Judith Butler has called the heterosexual matrix. 

In terms of curriculum, we want to hear responses from teachers and researchers to Turner's critique of how ineffectual versions of the critical literacies project can occur by encouraging students to 'work across media and representational formats' and 'making use of 'discourse' as the singular core concept and using language as a metaphor for explaining how all cultural forms communicate.' (2007: 108) Turner argues schooling needs 'more media-specific analytic tools than the critical literacies approach provides' (2007: 108), that theory has been incorrectly translated into state syllabi and that the pedagogical implementation of these theoretically-informed approaches requires greater nuance and sophistication. We see this work as core to curriculum-based cultural studies of education. How might critical theory be embodied in cultures of schooling rather than taught as doctrine through curriculum? 

We agree that critical literacies as presented in school too often involves 'repetitive, routine exercises' in which students must 'spot the targeted ideology, name it as a discourse, and put their pens down' (109) this leads to an 'exclusion of pleasure from the list of experiences assumed to accompany the consumption of texts' (110). As such, it seems to us that part of the project of researchers working on gender, sexuality and cultural studies in education is to foreground discernment and associated pleasure in the critical project of understanding, writing about and teaching embodied forms of critical cultural literacy.

Cited:

Hoggart, R. (1957) The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working Class Life with Special Reference to Publications and Entertainments. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Turner, G. (2007) "Cultural Literacies, Critical Literacies, and the English School Curriculum in Australia"International Journal of Cultural Studies 10 (1) 105-114.

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About Annette, Lisa and Leanne

Dr Annette Brömdal is a lecturer in Sport, Health and Physical Education at the University of Southern Queensland. Her research interests fall within the areas of bodies, gender and sexuality in elite sports, medicine and in contemporary sexuality education. Her publications include articles in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, Qualitative Research Journal and International Journal of Research & Method in Education; Handbook of Sexuality Education book chapter, Intersex Bodies in Sexuality Education: On the Edge of Cultural Difference (co-authored); Teaching LGBTQ+ Studies in Education book chapter, The Biopedagogical Potentials of Critically Exploring Intersex Concerns in the Sociology of Sports (in press) and sexual politics books, Intersex – A Challenge for Human Rights and Citizenship Rights (authored) and The Making of ‘Intersex’ in Female Elite Sports (in press).

Dr Lisa van Leent is a lecturer in the School of Curriculum within the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests concern teacher support in relation to sexuality education, particularly in regards to gender and sexuality diversity, and the improvement in support for LGBTIQ+ students in schools. Dr Lisa van Leent has higher education undergraduate and postgraduate teaching experience in the sociology of education, multiliteracies, digital literacies and English Curriculum. She has extensive experience as a primary classroom teacher. She completed her doctoral study, titled “Primary School Teachers’ Conceptions of Pedagogical Responses to Concepts of Diverse Sexualities” at Queensland University of Technology in 2014. Her future research interests involve how inclusivity is presented through ‘texts-in-use’ within a primary school context to promote critical awareness of heteronormativity.  

Dr. Leanne Coll is a Lecturer in Health & Physical Education at Deakin University. Her research interests with young people centre on the conditions of possibility for transformational learning related to gender and sexualities in schooling. She is particularly interested in the promotion of meaningful student involvement in health and physical education research through queer action research and participatory/visual research methodologies.

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