Panel Talks & Workshops

Patriarchal Inscriptions: Female bodies contested, invaded defended & owned

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | 05 December 2020
Online | Free

Within a broad spectrum of historical and cross-cultural violence against women, the female body is subjected to patriarchal inscriptions which range from fashion-driven body modifications to brutal mutilation – related practices on a continuum of acceptance and repulsion which obscures commonalities and erases distinctions.

A proposal emerging at the Arts & Humanities Research Institute, King’s College London, aims to establish a tripartite programme scrutinising patriarchal inscriptions on female bodies combining study, grounded theorising and application (for uses in education and outreach). Building on extensive scholarship and advocacy in the field of epistemic injustice and embodied gender performances, we will add new areas of interpretation and activism. This, the first in what we hope will be many symposia, links up with our on-going preparations for such a major research programme.

By inviting the wider community of scholars and professionals into the debate surrounding issues over female-bodied texts and socio-political contexts, we pursue a two-fold aim: mapping the body singular and female, and mapping body politics as global and gendered. Only such cartography can facilitate in-depth intersectional and cross-cultural analyses of what we hold to be related interventions which encompass, moreover, highly contested FGM practices. We summon debates that address the urgency created by human rights abuses specifically, but not exclusively, related to FGM, an exigency linked to the broader systemic and normative unravelling of democratic governance at home and elsewhere, affecting all spheres of life.

When, as some intellectuals hold, the era of democracy and democratic accountability may be waning, what are the implications for associated regimes that shape identities? Will entitlements to rights and resources alter? How will an anticipated challenge to democratic body politics weaken the protocols, legislation, and policies serving to protect ever-intensifying gender-based precarities?

Faced with a coronavirus pandemic, volatile global political environment and intensifying migration crises that exacerbate abuses of human and children’s rights, we summon critical questions and insights from diverse disciplines and methodologies to enlighten complex linkages among emergence of newly masculinised ideologies, populist politics and prospects for creating and protecting context-sensitive human/women’s rights-based cultures of bodily integrity.

Remaining events in the series:

Female Genitalia as a Site of Ambiguity & Intervention – Saturday 5th December 2020, 1 – 3 PM

Since 1988, when Dr. Pierre Foldes uncovered how to restore the clitoris, the relatively simple, 20-30 minute operation has been celebrated by beneficiaries, distrusted by FGM’s opponents, and vehemently opposed by guardians of the status quo. Yet, once he had been thanked by the former victim whose renewed clitoral sensation gave her pleasure, the doctor persisted, perfecting a technique from which, today, more than 5000 women have benefited. The census of trained surgeons able to perform clitoral restoration remains small, however, relative to the number of victims. Why? What efforts have been made in various venues to introduce discussion of sexual pleasure? What explicit impediments arise? How has the medical profession dealt with the pioneering technique? What protocols are followed? What do beneficiaries say about their newly-won status? How and where can FGM survivors find medical help and each other, in order to share stories? And how does the fact of restoration affect abolition? Register here

Patriarchal Inscriptions: Racism, FGM Studies & FGM in Social Media – Thursday 10th December 2020, 1 – 3 PM  Register here

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