univie Gender Studies Summerschool 2020: Programme and teaching faculty

"In_Visibilisation: Public and Private Spaces in a Historical Perspective"

Daniela Koleva (Sofia University) and Claudia Kraft  (University of Vienna)

Monday, September 21, 2020 

We would like to discuss processes of in_visibilization in a historical perspective that takes the context-related production of public and private spaces and actor-centered approaches seriously. This seems to us the more important since a lot of scholarship still assumes the division of the public and the private as an ideal type of "Western” modernity that is universally applicable. By understanding European history in a broad sense, in which East Central and Southeastern Europe also has its place, we want to contribute to a differentiation of this all too rigid dichotomy.

Questions of in_visibility arise differently if one examines specific social and political framings that deviate from “Western” modernity (for example, predominantly agrarian societies, aristocratic societies, state-socialist and post-socialist societies) and if one looks at the historical actors from an intersectional perspective that includes not only gender but also other categories such as ethnicity, class, sexuality etc. As historians we would like to discuss theoretical assumptions about the possibility of empowerment through practices of visibilization (but also for instance questions of “strategic concealments”) confronting them with historical case studies. In the course we are going to discuss theoretical approaches, useful methodological tools and case studies that can contribute to challenging our previous understanding of spatial orders and its influence on processes of visualization.

  • Daniela Koleva is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Theory of Culture at the University of Sofia "St.Kliment Ohridski".
  • Claudia Kraft is Professor of Contemporary History and Gender History at the University of Vienna and head of "Research Platform for the Study of Transformations and Eastern Europe".

"Negotiating In_Visibility. Ethics and Representation in Feminist Research"

Roísín Ryan-Flood (University of Essex) and Sabine Grenz (University of Vienna)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 

This presentation considers the hermeneutic and ethical challenges encountered in research with lesbian parents, where issues of in/visibility were critical during both fieldwork and writing up. The empirical research consisted of interviews with 68 lesbian parents in Sweden and Ireland, all of whom embarked on parenthood in the context of an openly lesbian lifestyle. A challenge faced by the researcher concerns writing up research findings in ways that expose vulnerable participants to a wider societal gaze. This reflects lesbian women’s vulnerability and a shared concern about relaying findings to a potentially prurient or unsympathetic audience. The lecture explores the practical, ethical and authorial dilemmas in interpreting and writing up intimate and politically sensitive material. It also considers the ways in which in/visibility can be consciously negotiated by both participants and researchers and concomitant implications for feminist theories of ‘voice’, agency and representation.

  • Róisín Ryan-Flood is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Director of the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship (CISC) at the University of Essex.
  • Sabine Grenz is Asssociate Professor for  Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Vienna and Member of Research Platform GAIN.

"Mediated Presentations" 

Skills-Training with Anat Steinberg (Austria)

Wednesday,  September 23,


Experience based Mini-Webinar, focusing on self-presentations on-screen (Adapted to online format)

  • Anat Stainberg is a performance artist, actress and performance coach. Stainberg is born in Tel Aviv, she lived and worked in New York, Amsterdam and since 2007 in Vienna. 

 „Eclipses in Anti-Discrimination Law“

Iyiola Solanke (University of Leeds) in cooperation with Elisabeth Holzleithner (University of Vienna)

Thursday, September 24, 2020 

In traditional anti-discrimination law, the structure of separate statutes forces complainants to choose one ground or another, e.g. race or gender. As the Combahee River Collective stressed in the 1970s, and Crenshaw in the late 1980s, such approaches have blind spots that impact, for example, black women workers in ways not experienced by white women or black men. This eclipse has been addressed by the idea of ‘intersectional’ discrimination. Despite the widespread popularity of this idea, legal protection from intersectional discrimination remains limited. This may be because recognition in legal systems, as well as research and policy papers often focus on ‘multiple discrimination’ (additive and cumulative) rather than intersectional discrimination per se. This is a problem for two reasons: first, multiple discrimination anchors intersectional discrimination within the traditional single dimension consciousness of anti-discrimination law rather than ’disrupting’ anti-discrimination law. Second, additive and cumulative discrimination lack the ‘synergy’ that is central to intersectional discrimination. Black women will remain invisible in European and national anti-discrimination law until a method is found to incorporate these aspects.

  • Iyiola Solanke is University Professor and holds the Chair for EU-Law and Social Justice at the School of Law at the University Leeds. One of many professional responsibilities and leading memberships is at Black Female Professors Forum (BFPF).
  • Elisabeth Holzleithner is University Professor for Philosophy of Law and Legal Gender Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna; Head of Research platform “Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities (GAIN)

"Gendered Images and Narratives: In_Visibilities in Comics“

Ka Schmitz (Darmstadt) and Susanne Hochreiter (University of Vienna)

Friday, September 25, 2020 

In our course we, Ka Schmitz and Susanne Hochreiter, will focus on questions of in_visibility in comics. Comics are a highly productive medium based on two sign systems: visual and verbal codes. As a popular art form comics do not only offer a variety of genres and topics, they, too, show a tradition of critical (self)reflection of signification processes. Comics are not only a hybrid medium in the sense of a mix of different types of signs; the hybridization continues into the signs themselves as they belong to different categories at the same time (iconic, indexicalic, symbolic) : „In place of unambiguousness and linearity there come polyphony and contingency“ . This of course has consequences for the negotiation of bodies and identities. The simple fact that the designed comic body is at the same time omnipotent and injured (fragmented e.g. by panel frames or “cut” in pieces from one panel to the next) shows that “identity” is a contested site.The space between pages or panels (gutter) is an important element in comic analysis. Whereas Scott McCloud suggest that readers/viewers actively “bridge” the gap between panels, other scholars (Ole Frahm) think that a specific “lack of information” play an important role for what is un_told/un_seen – with a subversive potential. But not only the gutter, also contradictory relationships between visual and verbal information, perspectives/focalizations, frames, panel structures, zooms etc., open up many opportunities to analyze processes of in_visibilization.

In this workshop we would like to start off with different examples of comics, share observations on the “intersemiotic interplay” (Packard) of comics, and discuss insights with participants. We, too, would like to give the participants the opportunity to involve actively and collaboratively in comic design – as comics are result of a process: material and structural characteristics are equally important as rules for design and reception. Together we will  playfully experiment with comic elements  – characters, expressing emotion through facial expressions / body language, perspective and framing, text and timing - and analyze comic strategies of in_visibilization. Drawing skills are not required!

  • Ka Schmitz is an artist, graphic designer, facilitator, and University lecturer based in Darmstadt, Germany.
  • Susanne Hochreiter is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of German Studies at the University of Vienna; Head of Research Project on "Narratives in Comics" and member of Research platform “Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities (GAIN).