What impact does women's limited presence in key fields of research have upon our capacity to grapple with social and political change? And if gender is ignored as an analytic category, can the social sciences make a meaningful contribution to understanding or resolving issues of gender inequality in society?
Paul Dalziel, Professor of Economics and Deputy Director of the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit, Lincoln University, New Zealand;
Catriona Mackenzie, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics;
Sylvia Walby OBE, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Director, Violence and Society UNESCO Centre, Lancaster University;
Laurel Weldon, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute at Purdue University;
This conference aims to compare the status of gender analysis and feminist research in different social science disciplines and to build persuasive arguments about how and why gender matters in them. To this end, we are seeking case studies from different disciplines, or from across disciplines, of how our understanding of fundamental questions has been improved by application of a gender lens.
The conference will also explore the intersection of knowledge and power by asking how the status of gender and feminist research corresponds with the status of women in key areas. What is the relationship between continuing patterns of male dominance in certain social science disciplines, notably political science, economics and philosophy, and the research agendas that shape disciplinary curricula and standards of research excellence? Have some disciplines been more successful than others in transforming gender relations in both professional and disciplinary terms - and what is the relationship between these aspects of change?
To date, there has been little public interest in women’s under-representation in social science areas as compared with the focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). However, in some social science disciplines there is an equally skewed demographic. For instance, in economics in the US, UK and Australia, it is estimated that women make up less than 15% of the professoriate. Yet this is one of the disciplines that should most aid our understanding of how gender works in society and of the relationship between market and non-market activity.
Generating case studies of how gender or feminist research has enriched or sharpened the focus of the social sciences will be a particular aim of this conference. But we are also interested in papers that explore questions such as:
- How would key terms of reference in social science disciplines (for example ‘politics’ or ‘the economy’) be transformed by expanding the influence of feminist perspectives?
- How have feminist approaches engaged with and been engaged by social science disciplines?
- Have disciplines become more reflexive, pluralistic and inclusive of diversity? Or have hierarchies of knowledge and disciplinary boundaries been reinforced by new forms of research governance?
- What counts as ‘success’ for gender equity in terms of status of women in the profession or the inclusivity of disciplinary content and approaches?
This conference revisits issues raised by the Stanford University Gendered Innovations project in relation to STEMM by turning attention to the social sciences. The conference forms part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery funded project Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences. Economics, political science, sociology, philosophy and history are focus disciplines for this project.
The conference will involve policy-makers, and kick-start a conversation about the implications for the social sciences of both the marginalisation of women and of gender research.
In addition to individual papers and case studies, panel proposals are also welcome.
Alongside a more traditional publication, one output will be the creation of a web-based resource ‘Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences’ which will present case studies and analysis in a searchable online database.
Extended deadline:Please submit abstracts below of approximately 200 words in PDF format by 21 July 2016: