About

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 Faye Bird and Gareth Mills (see bios below). We are PhD students in the departments of Law and Literature who are very keen to meet other students and members of staff. We are interested in finding out all about you and your research.

How can you get in contact with us? We will be happy to hear from. You can email either Faye, Amy or Gareth directly:

Faye Bird: faye.bird@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Amy Gower: amy.gower@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Gareth Mills: gareth.mills@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Or you can also email the GSRN address:

ReadingGenderSexuality@gmail.com

Or you can tweet us:

Twitter: @ReadingGender

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Gender and Sexuality Cluster (SWWDTP)

We are linked to 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, though do watch this space as more open events are sometimes run!

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

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About Us:

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Faye at the UN Human Rights Council

Hi, I’m Faye and I am currently working on my PhD in the field of international law. Concerned with the political and legal barriers to the gender-sensitive responses of the international community and the application of the law of armed conflict, my socio-legal PhD research, which I undertake at the University of Reading, engages with feminist theories, discourse analysis, and institutions of governance. My current research is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council via the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

My thesis cuts across a number of disciplines from law to international relations, gender studies to security. In doing so it turns on various conceptual difficulties not adequately addressed in the international legal system, such as the gendered dichotomy of the offences of ‘slavery’ and ‘sexual slavery’, and the excluded victims of sexual violence in Iraq and Syria, such as male victims, and Muslim women and girls targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL-Daesh).

I previously studied law at the University of Exeter and obtained my masters in international law at the University of Reading. Throughout my studies I have specialised in using feminist perspectives to unearth the gendered nature of legal frameworks, both in the drafting of law and in its application.

I am currently teaching on the Gender and Law module and the Criminal Law module on the undergraduate LLB law degree at Reading and am also supporting the university’s cross disciplinary Global Development Research Division. Further, I am a member of the UN Gender Network, which focuses on advocating and policy drafting for greater gender parity within the UN employment structures.

In addition, I seek to bridge my gender-focused research with policy making, and will be working with the UK Cabinet Office and Home Office to strengthen the links between academic output and policy makers. This work includes research on welfare reform, digital transformations, and vulnerable persons such as victims of human trafficking.

I am very excited to be coordinating the University of Reading’s Gender and Sexuality Research Network with Amy and Gareth for a second year, and am looking forward to hearing about and engaging with all the fantastic research that is being conducted at Reading and at universities near and far. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us by way of email, or you can drop us a tweet @ReadingGender!


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Hi, I’m Amy, I am a new member of the GSRN committee this year but have been a regular attendee since starting my PhD last September. I am looking forward to another exciting year of cross-disciplinary research sharing and discussion!

I am about to start my second year of my PhD in History at the University of Reading, funded by the SWW DTP. My research explores gender, feminism, and schooling in English comprehensive and grammar schools between 1970 and 2000, by investigating experiences of female students, classroom practices of teachers, and institutional policy. My project engages with how ‘ordinary’ teenagers experienced changes in the education system, how they regarded feminism, and how they negotiated ideas of gender, sexuality and race in their everyday lives. More broadly I am also interested in the histories of youth, subculture and resistance. Previously I have been an editor on the SWW DTP supported magazine, Gendered Voices, and am currently co-organising a Gender History Postgraduate Conference to be held here in Reading in October 2018.

The GSRN is a supportive, friendly and inclusive space, and I very much look forward to seeing old and new faces in October!


varadi picI’m Anna Varadi and I am coordinating the Screen Series for GSRN. I’m a Doctoral Researcher and Sessional Lecturer in Television Studies at the University of Reading, co-supervised at the University of Southampton. Both of these institutions do excellent research on various aspects of the media, cinema, and television, and I wanted to bring some potentially unorthodox topics regarding visual media and gender to the forefront of discussion at the GSRN Screen Series. I have been an active member of GSRN throughout my PhD and presented a paper last year on women’s corporeal performance in the Netflix series GLOW. I’m really looking forward to joining Faye and Amy in running some of the GSRN events this year.

My doctoral research focuses on the reconstruction of the 1980s in contemporary American television (yes, that includes Stranger Things) and is funded by the the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. As part of my research I work on the construction of women’s bodies in select TV shows, with a particular focus on the positioning of women of colour and national identity. My wider research interests include television aesthetics, media and politics, feminist popular culture, and nostalgia. I have presented at national and international conferences including the feminist media conference Console-ing Passions (Bournemouth University, 2018) where I discussed the HBO series Big Little Lies in relation to sexual and domestic violence as well as the #MeToo movement. I am also an Editorial Assistant for the journal Critical Studies in Television. In 2018 I was a Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Paley Center for Media in New York and this experience has contributed to my growing interest in public engagement and outreach via my research into television. As such, I hope I can bring some new ideas to GSRN and spark some interesting interdisciplinary discussions with the materials selected for the Screen Series.

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