What is the Gender and Sexuality Research Network? 

We are an interdisciplinary research group focusing on gender studies based at the University of Reading. Our aim is to provide a supportive and collaborative space for those whose work or interests include aspects of gender and sexuality to share ideas and stimulate discussion across disciplines. We warmly welcome academics and students from any department who would like to get involved. Meetings involve a twenty minute paper given by either a graduate student or a lecturer. Afterwards there is a discussion in which everybody can get involved. All are welcome to present on a topic relating to gender and sexuality. The atmosphere of the group is very friendly and particularly suits graduate students who would like some feedback on their research. The group is also a great opportunity to meet new people.

When do we meet?women-149577_1280 The meetings are normally on Mondays from 4-5pm in the HumSS building. We don’t meet every Monday so do look out for emails and on this blog for more details.

How do you get involved? If you would like to attend and have your name on the mailing list, either email us or sign up to the group at a meeting. If you are interested in presenting a paper please inform us either by email (at least two weeks in advance) or at a meeting.

Who is organising the network? The research network is organised by Reading PhD students Maria Tomlinson and Sophie Payne (see bios below). We are PhD students in the Modern Languages department who are very keen to meet other students and members of staff. We are interested in finding out all about you and your research.


Gender and Sexuality Cluster (SWWDTP)

We also have now established a new branch of our research network – the Gender and Sexuality Cluster which is supported by the SWWDTP (The South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research council). Many of the cluster activities are only open to students of the SWWDTP which is comprised of 8 universities – Reading, Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa, Southampton, Cardiff, Exeter and Aberystwyth. However, after our initial networking day, we are now planning a conference to which non SWWDTP students from across these 8 universities will be allowed to send abstracts.

Please check out the cluster website: https://genderandsexualityresearch.wordpress.com/


About Us:

Maria Tomlinson
Maria in Paris as a lectrice

Hi there! I am Maria, and I am doing a PhD in French literature. The title of my thesis is ‘Silenced Bodies: The Unspeakable in Women’s Writing from France, Algeria and Mauritius.’ The taboos I am looking at are all related to the ageing female body, so I am of course very interested in issues relating to gender and sexuality. The taboos I am looking at are menstruation, abortion, miscarriage, infertility and the menopause. I did my undergraduate degree in French and Modern Greek Studies and MA in French Literature at King’s College London. In 2013-14 I worked in Paris as a lectrice (junior lecturer) and taught modules in British civilisation, literary translation and English language before being awarded the AHRC funding from the SWWDTP (South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership) so that I could undertake my PhD research at Reading. I am really enjoying my time at Reading University and am looking forward to meeting you at the group. I’m responsible for keeping the blog up to date. I’m enjoying posting articles on here too: If you would like to add your own piece – let me know!


Sophie graduating from her MRes
Sophie graduating from her MRes

Hi, I’m Sophie and I’m doing a PhD in German Studies with a project focusing on perspectives on modern feminist protest in

Germany and the UK. More specifically, I’m looking at the online self-representations of FEMEN and the #aufschrei and Everyday Sexism social media initiatives, as well as their reception in news articles and the public comment sections of these articles. The aim is to uncover conflicts or patterns across the different media, with a view to better understanding the place and face of feminist protest today.

I did my BA in German and Italian at Reading from 2009 to 2013, as well as an M(Res) in German Studies last year, so I know the University well! I am also part of the editorial board for the Italian postgraduate forum, ReadingItaly, which posts four articles monthly on an aspect of Italian culture.

Coming from a small department, I’m really excited to branch out and meet researchers from other departments with similar interests. Hope to see you soon!

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