Call for Papers: Volume 9 of the Language Studies Working Papers

The University of Reading’s Language Studies Working Papers has issued a call for papers for the publication of volume 9 which many of our network followers may be interested in. The editors of the LSWP, Sophie Payne (who just happens to be founder and former coordinator of our very own GSRN!) and Roopa Leonard have emailed the follow call and are hoping to hear from as many different departments as possible:

We are now inviting PhD students to submit a paper for Volume 9 of the Language Studies Working Papers, to be published in April 2018. The LSWP is based in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, but we are very keen to accept papers from all departments at the University of Reading that offer a perspective on language-related research in the following broadly-defined areas: 

– academic literacy
– discourse and sociolinguistics
– phonetics and phonology
– child language development
– second language skills and processing
– clinical studies
– Italian studies
– German studies
– French studies
– Spanish studies

The deadline for the submission of papers is Monday 6th November 2017. Please contact us ( as soon as you can if you are considering submitting a paper, as well as if you want to discuss whether the format of your research material is appropriate for the LSWP.

Please see the variety of interesting papers that have been submitted over the years by visiting our website and scrolling to the bottom of the page where you can access the tables of contents and uploaded papers for Volumes 1-8:

Submissions may include any unpublished work, such as papers based on presentations given at departmental conferences, as well as research work in progress which relates either to a research project or your thesis. Submissions do not have to be in the form of a complete study, as they may also relate to the various stages of your PhD work, i.e., a summary of your Literature Review, early findings, or a more in-depth discussion of your results.

All submissions should be unpublished and be entirely written by their author(s). Manuscripts will be anonymously peer-reviewed by staff and students specialising in the relevant field of study.

Papers should be emailed to the Editors ( as a .doc attachment. The maximum length allowed – including notes and references – is approximately 5,000 words. A 200-word abstract summarising the content of the paper should be included after its title. Also include the author’s full name and name(s) of supervisor(s), course details and address, as well as a short biographic note in the accompanying email.

Many thanks again and we look forward to receiving your submissions!

Very best wishes,

The Editors (Sophie Payne and Roopa Leonard)

Call for Papers: Present your research at the GSRN’s Seminar Series 2017/18!

The Gender and Sexuality Research Network is now accepting abstracts for our seminar series taking place in the upcoming academic year (2017-2018).

We are an interdisciplinary research group based at the University of Reading which provide a supportive and collaborative space for those whose work or interests include aspects of gender, sex, sexuality and the body to share ideas and stimulate discussion across disciplines. We are keen to hear from as wide a variety of perspectives as possible, welcoming the submission of abstracts from all disciplines. As it is our aim to offer an inclusive platform covering the full spectrum of gender and sexuality beyond traditional binary constructions, we encourage the submission of abstracts addressing, amongst others, issues of femininity and feminism, LGBT+ rights, as well work conducted from masculine and non-binary perspectives.

Our regular seminar series will start the first week of October and is provisionally planned to take place during term time on Mondays from 4-5pm at the University of Reading. The format will be a one-hour session with space for a twenty-minute paper followed by a Q & A. We offer a supportive environment where researchers can present works in progress or finished pieces. If you would like to take part, please contact us at and include your 100-word abstract and title, name, department and preferred seminar date in the email by the end of 11th August 2017.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Faye and Gareth

Twitter: @ReadingGender

A welcome from the new network organisers

GSRN double mugshot faye and gareth


It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself and Faye bird as the next organisers of the Gender and Sexuality Research Network. I discovered the Research Network late in 2016 after Sophie and Maria had been running things for three years and encountered a community of dedicated graduates and lecturers who had clearly established something special. We’re all in their debt for founding this fantastic network.

We will be carrying on the seminar series, starting Autumn Term 2017, so check your inboxes for our announcement this week! Last year, alongside a complement of high quality presentations that demonstrated research from a feminine perspective, such as ‘Women’s Employment in Saudi Arabia’ (Mona Almunaiey), papers such as Jacob Bird’s ‘Deconstruction of the Voice in Drag Lip Sync’ bought non-binary and masculine perspectives to the series, something we are keen to continue.

Expect continued notifications of events on social media, and get in touch with us on Twitter @ReadingGender

We look forward to taking part in another year of important work in Gender Studies.

Gareth & Faye

Goodbye and thank you for all your support!

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 21.30.00
Celebrating the success of the network at our very last meeting of 2016/7


Sophie and I (Maria) are pleased to announce that Faye Bird and Gareth Mills will be taking over the running of the Gender and Sexuality Research Network in the upcoming academic year. We are confident that we are leaving the network in safe hands!

We founded the network back in late 2014. We have gone from one meeting per month with local Reading students to weekly meetings with speakers from all over the UK! We have really enjoyed running the network and watching it grow.

We would like to thank everyone for their support! We could not have made the network what it is today without our attendees and fantastic speakers.

Here’s to another successful year of the Gender and Sexuality Research Network!

Signing off from the blog for the very last time,

Next meeting: ‘Experience of Time and Subjectivity in Motherhood Writing’, Monday 20th March, 4pm, HumSS280

Hello everyone

We warmly invite you to join us for our very last talk of this academic year. The talk will be given by Mariana Howell from English department the University of Southampton. Her title is ‘Experience of Time and Subjectivity in Motherhood Writing’ and she’ll be speaking at the usual time of 4pm, in HumSS280 on Monday 20th March. Here is her abstract:

What happens to a woman during pregnancy, post-partum and early motherhood? How is her perception and experience of time, space, and self/other altered during the process? The maternal experience, loaded with power, terror, ambivalence, joy, confusion, and pleasure, has long been ignored by the psychoanalytic tradition. My work will look at how ‘maternal memoirs’ narrate the writer’s mothering journey. Their work contests the dominant cultural expectations of motherhood and attempts to construct a maternal dialogue that emphasises compassion, rather than guilt. I will use psychoanalytic theory to discover new analyses of maternal subjectivity and psychical experience to show that the mothering experience has a profound effect on women’s lives.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday, for what will be the last session of the network run by Sophie and myself (Maria) before we hand it over. It’s been a real pleasure watching the Gender and Sexuality Research Network grow over the past few years…

Meeting Report – “Facing the Hardships”: Mixed Race Relationships and Women’s Magazines in 1950s Britain, by Anna Maguire

Thank you again to Anna Maguire for sharing her new research project with us. Anna has just finished her PhD and is exploring postdoc opportunities. Providing us with extracts from agony aunt pages in Women’s Own and Woman Magazine, she discussed how mixed race couples were perceived in Britain in the 1950s. In 1948 the Empire Windrush docked in London carrying men from Jamaica and marked the first of many recruits from the commonwealth. She explained that in this context of immigration to Britain from its overseas territories, mixed race relationships challenged colonial and racial boundaries.

Usually, the letters in the agony aunt pages were from white women in relationships with black men on subjects such as a girl’s parents not allowing her black boyfriend into the house. Mothers would also write in to question their own attitude to their daughters mixed race relationship. One mother stated that she is happy for her daughter to date her partner, yet she draws the line at marriage. The theme of parental control is a recurring feature both within the context of mixed race relationsips and others – women under 21 were not allowed to marry without their parents’ consent! Differences in religion and class were also raised as a concern.

One interesting example of the time which Anna provided was a letter sent by a white girl who wanted to marry a black widower who was many years her senior. She was unsure how or whether to tell her parents. The agony aunt, rather than challenging why anyone should disapprove of such a relationship, instead confirms the girl’s fears. She advises the girl to wait until she is older since her relationship may just be a crush. The agony aunt underlines that the relationship must be strong enough to survive the social pressure and that mixed marriage is a great risk.

We wish Anna the very best of luck with her project – we look forward to hearing how her research on this interesting topic develops!

We will see you next week for our very last seminar of the academic year 2016/2017. Sophie and I (Maria) will be handing over the running of the network very soon. We’d love to see as many of you as possible for our last seminar in charge, we’ll really miss running the network. The paper is by Mariana Howell, in the English Literature department at Southampton. The title is ‘Experience of Time and Subjectivity in Modtherhood Writing’. We hope to see you there!




Next Meeting: ‘“Facing the Hardships”: Mixed Race Relationships and Women’s Magazines in 1950s Britain’, 13th March, 4pm, HumSS280

Hello everyone!

We look forward to welcoming you to our network on Monday 13th March at 4pm in HumSS 280 for a talk by Anna Maguire from the history department at King’s College London.

The title of Anna’s talk is ‘“Facing the Hardships”: Mixed Race Relationships and Women’s Magazines in 1950s Britain’

Here is her abstract for what promising to be a fascinating 20 minute talk…

The arrival of the Empire Windrushin 1948 was a symbolic turning point as the British Nationality Act saw the ‘Empire come home.’ At the centre of debates about new ‘race relations’ were mixed race relationships, challenging racial, colonial and gender boundaries. This paper examines discussion of mixed race relationships in British women’s magazines in the 1950’s, particularly in Agony Aunt pages, to examine how women represented their experiences and how responses were framed. This paper is part of a new research project that investigates the representation of mixed race relationships in cultural productions and maps the connection between discourse and experience for those in these relationships.