Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
RN33_04b_H: Gender Relations in Academic Institutions
Time:
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Maria Carmela Agodi, University of Naples Federico II
Session Chair: Felizitas Sagebiel, Bergische Universitaet Wuppertal
Location: HB.1.15
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 1.

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Presentations

Feminist Experiences about the Compulsory Course of Gender Equality in a Rural University in Turkey

İlknur Meşe, Nezihe Başak Ergin

Giresun University, Turkey

Rural universities in Turkey had been established in accordance with neo-liberal economic aims since 1990s. Since 2007, this became widespread as a means of political and socio-economic policy of the government whose nationalist, conservative and religious components are shaping these rural universities. This takes place in three ways: Firstly, the rectors are directly appointed by the President. Thus a direct organic relationship has been established between the university and government. Secondly, the mindset predominating the university reinforced by the academic staff and course curriculum is being continual. Thirdly, the students are not too stranger to this rural habitus of the university related to the socio-economic classes they belong to and places from where they come. Within this habitus, to teach the course of gender equality that was decided to be given as a compulsory course throughout the university in 2015 became quite different, challenging and backbreaking experience. Since to work for affecting students and creating a feminist classroom by going over the deep cleavage resulted from the inconsistency between feminist pedagogy and the language of feminist literature was demanding quite an endeavor. We are teaching this course for hundreds of students in several departments of the Faculty of Education for two fall semesters of the years 2015 and 2016. The first year that we taught this course, we prepared an evaluation form composed of nine questions to be replied by students towards the end of that semester. This presentation is based on two sources: Firstly, the replies and evaluations of 327 students and secondly our two-year teaching experiences. The theoretical -and practical- framework of the study will be grounded on feminist pedagogy and feminist literature.


“Doing masculinity” in the neoliberal university: the construction of academic masculinities in Estonia

Kadri Aavik

Tallinn University, Estonia

This paper focuses on understanding gender inequalities and privilege in the context of the corporatisation of higher education. Specifically, it seeks to understand how academic masculinities are constructed in contemporary universities as work organisations and sites of knowledge production.

In recent years, a significant body of critical work has emerged documenting the processes of neoliberalisation in higher education and the effects of this on academic life. While some of this work has paid attention to ways in which academic subjects and knowledge production are gendered, the focus has largely been on women, leaving men in the status of an unmarked group whose privilege and roles in reproducing hierarchies and inequalities in university settings remain mostly invisible.

In examining how masculinities are constructed in the academia, I take an intersectional approach, considering also how other categories, such ethnicity and age interact with gender to shape men’s experiences and manifestations of male privilege in universities.

My analysis draws on interviews conducted with male academics and university leaders Estonian universities. The findings suggest that academic men are constructed as vulnerable, resonating with the broader discourse of “boys and men as victims” of the education system in Estonia. This conceptualisation of academic masculinities has important implications for efforts to build solidarities around developing gender equality in the corporatised university.


Changing Gender Relations at Austrian Universities

Nina-Sophie Fritsch, Christina Liebhart

University of Vienna, Austria

The situation of women in the academic world is characterized by multidimensional segregation. Nevertheless slight progress – especially in terms of leading positions – has been observed recently in Austria. Therefore female academic activism is central to advance grassroots struggles for a better world while bridging the scholarly, political and community realms. In Austria various reforms have been carried out in the last decade and the academic sphere has undergone perceptible change, with redevelopment and reshaping at different institutional levels. These reforms have had an effect on gender relations, especially within the past several years, with an increasing proportion of female academics now in leading positions. This paper investigates the ways in which female activism is influencing institutional settings and how academics reach leading positions. The analysis is based on qualitative (semi-structured, problem-centred) interviews conducted with the most successful women at Austrian universities, focusing on the obstacles these women encountered and how they managed to overcome them.

The paper presents different patterns of career development exhibited by female academics in leading positions, the role of these patterns in the advancement of female faculty and different strategies of academic activism. The analysis yields three main patterns of career development, consisting of the following characteristics of academic activism: (1) individualistic, output-driven, (2) political-sustainable and (3) adaptive-flexible. The most important theme within those patterns of career development consists in a sustainable improvement for women in academia. Above-average engagement is seen as necessary contribution for initiating and promoting further change in gender-specific, segregating structures.



 
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