Keynote: Joan Wallach Scott: How Politics Constructs Gender and Gender Constructs Politics – online!

Charles Gleyre Les Romains passant sous le joug 1858Joan Wallach Scott’s Keynote (1.2 Hours) at the „4. Schweizerische Geschichtstage: Formen der Macht“ (09.-11.2016, Lausanne) via Das Fachportal für die Geschichtswissenschaften der Schweiz (Web)

In her 1986 article Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis, J. W. Scott insisted that gender „provides a way to decode meaning and to understand the complex connections among various forms of human interaction. When historians look for the ways in which the concept of gender legitimizes and constructs social relationships, they develop insight into the reciprocal nature of gender and society and into the particular and contextually specific ways in which politics constructs gender and gender constructs politics.“

Since writing that article some 30 years ago, J. W. Scott has been exploring the ways in which psychoanalysis enhances those kinds of readings. In this talk she suggested that one approach to the operations of power is to look for the ways in which normative notions of sexual difference are deployed. For historians the analysis is particularly useful because the meanings of gender are, like differences of sex, impossible to ‚fix‘. Their very mutability allows us to identify change not only in the meanings of gender itself, but in the political investments of individuals, groups, races, states and nations. Read – and hear – more … (Web)