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Research in Focus

ARC-GS Online Lecture Series

The Research in Focus online lecture series invites researchers from around the world to share cutting-edge work on gender and sexuality. ARC-GS aims to curate an interdisciplinary range of voices on questions related to gender and sexuality from around the world. We ask the following questions: How is gender and sexuality studies evolving as a field? Where are we heading? Who is working at the forefront of these developments?

Research in Focus shines the spotlight on scholars who are pushing the boundaries of the field on a broad array of issues ranging from queer New York to gender variant children. Researchers from across the social sciences with a broad focus on gender and sexuality are invited to participate in this series. ARC-GS offers them a platform to share their work and engage in public discussions with researchers from universities in The Netherlands. 

  • Research in Focus #1 | A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983-2008 | Jack Gieseking

    The path to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) liberation has been narrated through a claim to long-term territory in the form of urban neighborhoods and bars. Lesbians and queers fail to attain or retain these spaces over generations—as is often the case due to lesser political and economic power—so what then is the lesbian-queer production of urban space in their own words?  

    Drawing on interviews and archival research with and about lesbians and queers in New York City from 1983 to 2009, my participants queer the fixed, neighborhood models of LGBTQ space in producing what I call constellations. Like stars in the sky, contemporary urban lesbians and queers often create and rely on fragmented, fleeting experiences in lesbian-queer places, evoking patterns based on generational, racialized, and classed identities. Lesbians and queers are connected by overlapping, embodied paths and stories that bind them over generations and across many identities, like drawing lines between the stars that come and go in the sky. This queer feminist contribution to critical urban theory extends current models of queering and producing urban space.

    After the lecture Ladan Rahbari and Andrew Shield will begin the discussion by commenting on Gieseking’s work.

    About the Speakers

    Jen Jack Gieseking is Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches courses on digital, feminist, and queer geographies and critical cartography and mapping. Gieseking’s first monograph, A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983-2008 (NYU Press, 2020), is a historical geography of contemporary lesbian-queer society and economies in New York City. Gieseking’s mixed ethnographic / archival approach resulted in his rethinking the construction of “data” to produce a series of LGBTQ data visualizations about queer history, a project of visualizing the invisible. Gieseking is presently conducting research on trans people’s use of Tumblr as a site of cultural production, and a hub for co-produced medical knowledge. Gieseking is Managing Editor of the ACME: International Journal of Critical Geography editorial collective board, as well as a board member of the Rainbow Heritage Network. Gieseking contributed to writing and reviewing the National Parks Service’s LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History.

    Ladan Rahbari is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and Senior Researcher at IMI.

    Andrew DJ Shield is Assistant Professor of Migration History and Leiden University and is the chair of Leiden’s LGBT+ Network.

    Research in Focus #1 | A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983-2008
    Jack Gieseking on his recent book A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983-2008.
  • Research in Focus #2 | The Child, True Gender Self and the Clinic | Sahar Sadjadi

    In recent years, the field of clinical management of gender in children has expanded and new approaches to gender variant children have emerged. In this webinar, Sahar Sadjadi traces the shifts and continuities in the clinical paradigm that has shaped diagnostic and treatment practices around gender variant children in the early 21st century.

    Based on her ethnographic research in the US, Sadjadi analyzes the cultural conceptions of the relation between the body and the self that inform clinical thought and practice and considers how childhood became a privileged site for tracing the authenticity of identity. She addresses the temporal and affective politics governing medical interventions that seek to avert future suffering and enhance the life chances of gender variant children.

    About the Speakers

    Sahar Sadjadi is an anthropologist, medical doctor and Assistant Professor of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. She received her MD from Tehran University and her PhD from Columbia University. She has held research fellowships at the Graduate Center, CUNY, Paris Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University. Dr. Sadjadi’s research lies at the intersection of anthropology of medicine, gender and sexuality studies and childhood studies. Her previous research focused on the AIDS epidemic in Iran. She is currently completing a book manuscript on a multi-sited ethnography of the clinical practices that have emerged around childhood gender nonconformity in the United States. Her new project is a transnational ethnography of contemporary sexology.

    Geertje Mak is Special Chair of Political history of gender in the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam.

    Research in Focus #2 | The Child, True Gender Self and the Clinic
    In recent years, the field of clinical management of gender in children has expanded and new approaches to gender variant children have emerged. In this webinar, Sahar Sadjadi traces the shifts and continuities in the clinical paradigm that has shaped diagnostic and treatment practices around gender variant children in the early 21st century.
  • Research in Focus #3 | Disobedient Black Mothers: The Culpable Sufferer, the Criminal Dead, and the Intolerability of Refusal | Jan-Therese Mendes

    Drawing feminist analyses of the affective work of shame, compassion, and pain into dialogue with an Afro-pessimist critique of the ‘ordinary’ spectacle of Black suffering and death, this lecture theoretically examines how the ‘bad feelings’ that stick to Black women’s disobedient bodies are used to uphold the whiteness of public space. Considering mainstream news media and social media coverage of two separate instances from 2019 where Black mothers were subjected to public violation or public scorn — in accordance with racial-sexual logics that define the Black female body as recalcitrant, ungovernable, and disposable — I argue that the fleeting shame or sustained apathy of a looking public reveals how the theatre of Black distress renews the racial fraternities of the white city-nation. Situating this analysis within the intellectual tradition of Black feminist thought and praxis this lecture further interrogates the ways women refuse these capitalisations through mutinous affects that illicitly reproduce Black life or embrace death.

    About the Speaker

    Jan-Therese Mendes holds a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University, Canada. Mendes is currently a postdoctoral fellow in studies of gender and race with the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger and a 2020-2021 visiting scholar with the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality. Mendes has previously held visiting scholar positions at Uppsala University’s ‘Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism’ (2018) and in performance studies at Stockholm University (2017), where Mendes has also extensively guest lectured. Invoking frames of analyses from Black feminist theory, Afro-pessimism, and affect theory Mendes’ research uses critical media analyses and arts-based methods to examine Northern welfare states’ penal fixation on the Black womb, Black mournability, pedagogies of assimilation and humiliation, and the possibilities of willful strangeness in Black visual and performance art. Mendes’ recent or forthcoming works are published with Souls, Hypatia, Periskop, and the Palgrave Handbook of Queer and Trans Feminisms in Contemporary Performance. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Mendes founded the international collective ‘Black Feminist Fridays: Nordic and Beyond’ which brings together scholars, artists, and activists from across Scandinavia for bi-weekly online dialogues on the everyday pain, love, and imagination of living Black feminist lives.

    Date and Time

    The event will take place on 14 June from 15:30-17:00 (CEST).

    Online Event

    The event will take place online as a webinar.

    Registration Required

    Please click HERE to register for the webinar.