Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gender and Sexuality: The Discursive Limits of ‘Equality’ in Higher Education

Liz Morrish (NTU) and Helen Sauntson (University of Birmingham) are organising a series of seminars on 'Gender and Sexuality: The Discursive Limits of "Equality" in Higher Education' funded by a grant from the Dean's Fund at University of Birmingham. Future speakers include Richard Johnson and Joyce Canaan.

This seminar series investigates a number of areas of concern, regarding gender and sexuality, which are identifiable in the current British higher education environment. The series explores how current dominant ‘neoliberal’ discourses, which emphasise the commodification of higher education in the UK, function to set limits upon ‘equality’. Ironically, while these discourses often suggest a widening of opportunities within higher education with an emphasis upon unlimited individual freedom and choice, the lived experience can be rather different for women and sexual minorities. The seminar series will explore the impact such discourses are having upon gender and sexuality identities and practices in the academy. The aims of the seminar series are:

• To identify the characteristics of neoliberal discourse and its influence in the UK academy
• To identify effects which impact on women, sexual minorities and gender/sexuality scholarship
• To examine effects of on constituencies of scholars who are marginalised by neoliberal discourse
• To examine patterns of fiscal loss or reward as a result of neoliberal strategies of HEI management and planning

The next event is:

Friday 20th February 2009 10.00-12.00 (Selly Oak campus, room OLRC 104)
Professor Mary Evans, University of Kent
For Us or Against Us: Coercion and Consensus in Higher Education

In debates about the admissions of state school pupils to Oxbridge those defending Oxbridge have challenged the idea that universities should be 'engines of social change'. At the same time Oxbridge, and other universities have accepted the responsibility of 'enabling' entrepreneurship and other market led initiatives. I want to explore some of the implications of this position in terms of the 'making' of the person in higher education and in particular the ways in which conservative refusals of radical gender and class change re-inforce structural inequalities.

For further information, please contact Helen Sauntson

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