CONCEPTS, DEBATES AND METHODS IN FEMINIST THEORY
Inter University Centre for Social Science Research and Extension
School of Social Sciences
Mahatma Gandhi University
(16-17th August 2012)
Feminist research places gender in the centre of social enquiry and tries to give emphasis to women’s experience as a significant indicator of reality. It tries to answer why the human social experiences differ for women and men. Feminist research has transformed from the earlier concerns of ‘research on women’ which considers women as a descriptive category to gender as an analytical category. Over the time, the discipline has advanced by exploring trans-disciplinary frameworks and intersectional approaches of power, inequalities, embodiment, representations, citizenship and sexualities. The present framework of feminist research affirms that the attempts to ‘add’ women into the existing social science analysis or ‘the recovery projects’ to trace out the lost voices of women in history are not adequate to advance the feminist scholarship further. Contextualizing women’s experiences in different social, historical and political contexts to analyze the social stratification and power dynamics of those particular contexts are fundamental to feminist research. Feminist epistemology and research methods have challenged dominant theories of knowledge within social science and humanities, and have put forward an alternate conception of knowledge, and practice of enquiry.
Research on women’s question is primarily done by student from different streams who may not have majored in Women studies. An introductory workshop as the present one will introduce them to various streams of women’s studies, and enable them to theorise and engage in practical applications of knowledge. Through introducing a range of theoretical models/ applications and concepts, we intend to enable them to theorize their own works from a feminist standpoint. In this sense, the workshop aims to encourage active reflection on the nature and shape of women’s / gender/ feminist studies as an academic discipline and field of interdisciplinary enquiry.
One of the major concerns of the centre is opening up a space for convergence of various disciplines; as such we have conceived the workshop as a forum for development of critical perspectives on gender and sexuality through debates and discussions. The workshop intends to promote analyses of the ways in which gender intersects with other practices and constructs systems of domination.
Contemplating these challenges, the gender studies programme of Inter University Centre for Social Science Research and Extension is holding a two day workshop on feminist epistemologies and research methods. The workshop will focus on how feminist scholars challenge dominant theories of knowledge and major methodologies employed in social science and humanities. The workshop will discuss feminist critique of traditional social scientific and humanistic approaches, specific goals of feminist scholarship, perspectives of historiography within gender studies, feminist perspectives on economic concepts & economic relations, body, sexuality & masculinity debates, violence against women, women’s writing & representations, political participation & citizenship, class, caste & gender in Indian context and various research methods used in feminist research.
Students doing their research (both Mphil and PhD) on gender issues in Universities and Research Centres, and young teachers from colleges/ universities in Kerala will be chosen based on the proposals they submit to the workshop coordinators.
Themes of Discussion
· How does feminist research methodology challenge or complement traditional methodologies?
· Perspectives of historiography within gender studies
· Feminist perspectives on economic concepts, economic theory and economic relations, as methodological issues
· New development in participatory and action research methods. innovative, critical and creative feminist participatory action research (PAR) methods with the marginalized
· the discussion of methodological issues in Studies on Men and Masculinities
· The theoretical and methodological investigation, negotiation, and subsequent dissemination of contemporary representations of race, caste, class, ethnicity and gendered lived and living histories.
Please send your detailed CV, a covering letter, and synopsis of the research topic in 1000 words to Workshop Coordinator, Inter University Centre for Social Science Research and Extension, School of Social Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Pullarikunnu P. O. Kottayam by email to
Last date for submission of proposal is 27 July 2012. Selected participants will be intimated by 3 August 2012.
Registration Fees: College teachers -Rs. 500; Students - Rs. 250. For more details please visit www.mgu.ac.in.
· Radhika P, Joint Director, IUCSSRE, Mahatma Gandhi University (9447015664)
· Elizabeth Abraham, Research fellow, IUCSSRE, Mahatma Gandhi University (9496540202)