Pembroke Center

Past Pembroke Seminars

Since 1982, the Pembroke Seminar has convened scholars from around the world to work with Brown faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates to develop new approaches to a common set of issues. The yearlong research seminar meets weekly to examine a critical set of questions from an interdisciplinary perspective.

2020-21 Pembroke Seminar

"Narrating Debt"

Seminar leader:
Peter Szendy
David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature

Shylock and Antonio in Merchant of Venice
Shylock and Antonio, illustrated by H. C. Selous

There seem to be infinite approaches to the problem of debt—a problem that has grown more and more urgent in the light of the central role played by indebtedness in neoliberal, financialized capitalism (as Maurizio Lazzarato has demonstrated in The Making of Indebted Man). There have been genealogies of debt (Nietzsche’s second essay in On the Genealogy of Morality), monumental histories of debt (David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5.000 Years), claims for reparations in postcolonial debates (starting with Fanon’s statement in The Wretched of the Earth that “just reparation” doesn’t owe anything to aid or charity), legal arguments about what is known as “odious debt” (see Odette Lienau’s Rethinking Sovereign Debt), psychoanalytical readings of debtor characters like Antonio in The Merchant of Venice (from Freud to Sarah Kofman and beyond), inquiries into specific types of debt (like student debt). . . Gender has also emerged as a key factor in analyzing historical or contemporary forms of debt: while there still seems to be no equivalent for debt of Marilyn Strathern’s The Gender of the Gift (1988), critical studies are being dedicated to topics ranging from “marital debt” in Canon law to the targeting of women as reliable debtors in recent microfinance practices.

Now, the main, guiding hypothesis of our seminar is that all these approaches, diverse as they may be, presuppose a more fundamental tie between indebtedness and narrativity, or the very possibility of narration.

There are many ways of narrating—witnessing—the condition of being indebted and the historical rise of indebtedness as a mode of governance. Indeed, we will try to map rhetorical or narratological techniques, genres, and gendered voices within various narratives of debt. But it is debt itself that also has to be considered as a narrative, i.e. a performative fiction that organizes time by linking past, present, and future in a diegetic chain. Hence, the first word in the proposed title for the seminar, “Narrating Debt,” should be considered both as a verb (the object of which is debt) and as an adjective (that qualifies debt as being intrinsically narrative).

World Bank Headquarters
World Bank Group headquarters in Washington DC during the 2019 End Poverty campaign.

In this twofold perspective, our seminar will attempt to formulate or formalize (to form) a series of questions: How does redemption or payment of a debt relate to ending, to completion in narrative terms (the Latin absolvere means both)? Could debt or indebtedness be considered as synonymous with causality or necessity—whereas gift would be equated with chance? One cannot but remember here this crucial assertion in Nietzsche’s genealogy of debt: one of the preconditions for the making of debtors, i.e. for “breed[ing] an animal with the prerogative to promise,” he writes, is “learn[ing] to distinguish between what happens by accident and what by design, to think causally, to view the future as the present and anticipate it.”

This first series of questions will then hopefully lead us to a further series that will address our contemporary context: What about capitalism as an endless “cult” of debt, as Benjamin suggested in one of his most thought-provoking and difficult posthumous fragments (“Capitalism as Religion”)? How does debt configure—or preempt—the future in general? How is this preemption of time as possibility translated into a geopolitics of debt (the North-South divide, for example, is largely a creditor-debtor divide) and a micropolitics of debt (race and gender)?

If debt cannot be completely distinguished from promise and from what Nietzsche calls “think[ing] causally,” there is no simple way out of debt (one should be wary of any naïve discourse on general cancellation or absolute jubilee). Our task, instead, might be to imagine and invent—i.e. narrate—other kinds of debts (to environment, to becoming, to possibilities. . .).

2019-2020

"The Question of Critique"

Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg
Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies

The 2019/2020 Pembroke Seminar: “The Question of Critique” will explore the spaces and times of the work of critique. A return to the question is timely, for over the past two decades and in a broad range of disciplines we have witnessed what may be described as a sense of exhaustion or fatigue with “theory” and other forms of critical work. Bruno Latour in 2004 wondered, for example, why critique had run out of steam and proposed that those same critical paradigms prevalent in the humanities had become fodder for critics of climate change. He in that context proposed a (re)newed relation to our objects of study, by engaging them not as “matters of fact,” but “matters of concern.” Concern, care, or curation towards our objects of critique have found resonance also in literary and cultural studies, opening the way to a greater engagement with affect, restoration and reparation. If the predominant paradigm in the critical humanities prior to this reevaluation had been composed of the post-structuralist criticism of deconstruction, psychoanalysis, (post)-Marxism, feminist, postcolonial and queer theory, the first decades of the 21st century have also produced a body of theory that views itself as engaged with the work of “post-critique.” These and other trends have varied in their impact, their political stakes, and have often been discipline-specific. It is worth asking, therefore, how these new endeavors and demands have played themselves out in literary and cultural studies, theories of sexuality and race, science studies, or historiography – to name only a few of these domains.

2018-2019

"What Are (Human) Rights? Imperial Origins, Curatorial Practices and Non-Imperial Ground"

Ariella Azoulay
Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature

From its inception the discourse of human rights was intimately linked with curatorial practices, which were used to intervene in the material worlds of other people and affect their ways of handling objects, organizing their shared spaces and exercising their rights. Looking at the ways these two technologies were linked and entangled would enables a shift from the (visual or textual) representation of human rights to their political ontology and ask what are rights, are they divisible or shared, who is entitled to grant them and receive them? Deviating from a tradition that studies human rights as a distinct discourse whose origins are Europeans, and from the tradition that limits the study of curatorial practices to designated indoor spaces, the seminar will develop a wide historical perspective and pose a set of ontological and political questions.

2017-2018

"The Cultures of Pacifism"

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English

The terrible wars in the first half of the twentieth century (peopled by masses of unacknowledged soldiers from garrison states around the colonial world) provoked complex transnational pacifist subcultures. Unexpected interlocutors came together to protest war and militarism and develop a planetary philosophy of non-violence drawn from diverse traditions. This seminar aims to recover the transnational history of twentieth-century pacifism and to clarify its philosophical and ethical content.

2016 - 2017

"Anti-War! Theaters of War/Politics of Refusal"

Bonnie Honig
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

Resistance to military service is often cast in terms of conscientious objection, which (though it is sometimes communally organized and collectively supported) tends to individualize resistance and to depoliticize it. This seminar will look at anti-war activism through a theoretical lens, drawing especially on the contemporary turn to a “politics of refusal,” an emerging body of theoretical literature that has not thus far been extended to – or tested by -- anti-war activism. The politics of refusal (promoted by what we might call the Bartleby Left) tends to focus on General Strike or inoperativity, and has not really addressed the issue of antiwar politics. What are the promises and limits of drawing on conscientious objection versus a politics of refusal for theorizing antiwar politics? And how might a focus on antiwar politics broaden or challenge the contemporary fascination with a politics of refusal?

2015 - 2016

"Fatigue"

Joan Copjec
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The 2015–2016 Pembroke seminar explored the historical emergence of fatigue across a number of fields: military history, psychoanalysis, philosophy, neuroscience, social and political history and theory, art, film and literature, capitalist ideology. These explorations sketched an alternative, unofficial history of modernism, seen from its “underside,” though this is not to suggest that fatigue is a negative notion. For, it is the positive dimension of fatigue that has been most neglected. Part of our project inevitably touched on debates stirred by the foundation of psychoanalysis: debates about trauma, the relations between physical and psychical causality, outside and inside, and the bearing of pleasure on our conception of reality. Ideally, however, we will alter the terms of earlier discussions radically after taking into account not only current debates between neuro- and other physical sciences and psychoanalysis (regarding phenomena such as neuroplasticity and “affect brain,” for example) and calls for a more object-centered philosophical orientation, but also because the under-examined conceptual history of fatigue provides opportunities fundamentally to rethink basic assumptions.

2014 - 2015

"Aesthetics and the Question of Beauty"

Marc Redfield
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The question of the beautiful has preoccupied Western thought since Plato, and remains a rich area of inquiry in today’s world. Manifestos affirming the cultural or ethical importance of aesthetic experience appear regularly; philosophers, artists and art historians, culture and media theorists, anthropologists, and sometimes even evolutionary biologists encounter—in various ways, of course, and with varying frequency and intensity—the question of what it means to say that someone or something is beautiful. This question can even be said to have inscribed itself in the workings of consumer society itself, where some of the most ancient problems and patterns of aesthetic discourse find themselves writ large, in neon. (Is there such a thing or event or experience as “the beautiful” that would be separable from rhetorical manipulation; from technical reproducibility; from commodity fetishism and acquisitive desire; from the objectification of the female body?)

2013 - 2014

"Socialism and Post Socialism"

Linda Cook
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The year 2014 will be the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of 20th century East European communism. All of the disciplines within the interpretive social sciences were thrown into disarray by these momentous events, as world history seemed suddenly to shift course. The collapse of socialism transformed the geopolitics of Europe, and had more subtle, but very important, effects in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Mid-East. The bi-polar world of the post-WWII decades imploded, patterns of international conflict shifted, cultural identities shifted salience, and international civil society as well as other non-state actors grew increasingly important. Trade and capital regime liberalization opened states that were previously closed to mobile international capital, and new migration patterns began to transform global society and systems of stratification. The outcomes, however, remained uncertain, and the process called “transition” has been fraught with contingencies. New and exciting scholarly debates now focus on exploring these contingencies, and the Pembroke seminar theme, “Socialism and Post-socialism,” is a timely and intellectually-rich area for interdisciplinary collaboration at the Pembroke Center.

2012 - 2013

"Economies of Perception"

Timothy R. Bewes
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

What are the economic dimensions of perception? Does it make sense to speak of the “distribution” of perception? Is perception anything other than a given of human social existence?

Across the disciplines, contemporary thinkers and scholars are paying renewed attention to perception, in particular, to the economic and political conditions of perception, to the inequalities that are implicit within the category, and to the possibility of forging modes of critical engagement that do not depend upon or reiterate perceptual structures. Recent work on affect and the emotions, on new technologies, on contemporary aesthetics, on the neurosciences, and on the ethics and politics of alterity has found itself increasingly alert to the processes of organization, distribution and individuation that are occluded in any straightforward understanding of subjective perception.

2011 - 2012

"The Question of Consent"

Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The idea of consent has always been fundamental to the notion of a just and democratic order. It is at the core of the social contract, indeed of any legal contract, thereby presupposing a free individual capable of engaging in contractual agreements. Consent is at the basis of liberalism and of a free economy. In this sense, consent is tightly linked to the idea of desires that can be met by way of claims made on the basis of natural, political, or ethical rights.

At the same time, it has been argued that consent historically carries with it another, darker sphere. How to understand the notion of freely given “consent” when it leads to the subject’s exclusion, exploitation, or injury of some sort? How to think about the conditions under which people participate in their own subjugation, whether in an economic-political context, or in private and sexual contexts? How to explore the question of repression, in both the political and psychoanalytic senses?

2010 - 2011

"The Power and Mystery of Expertise"

David Kennedy
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The significance of expertise for rulership today is easy to see – in the vernacular of national politics, the management of international economic life, the arrangement of family and gender relations, and more. But what is “expertise?” What part knowledge, what part common-sense --- what portion analytics, argument, lifestyle, character? Expertise is often associated with professional or disciplinary formations – how important are these institutional forms to the practice and reproduction of expert rulership? How does expertise write itself into power?

2009 - 2010

"Markets and Bodies in Transnational Perspective"

Kay Warren
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

"Markets and Bodies in Transnational Perspective” raises questions about global flows of people and technology that involve reimagining the body and transforming what it means to be human. We want to understand the changing ways bodies are being commodified, and the individual experiences and ideological constructions of these processes. The seminar explores innovations in international migration and biotechnology that push ahead of the law. How are these sites moralized and politicized? How are international norms and regulatory strategies formulated to define rapidly moving currents of change?

2008 - 2009

"Visions of Nature: Constructing the Cultural Other"

Leslie Bostrom
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

In 2008-09, the Pembroke Seminar looked at representations of nature across cultures and disciplines and through history. Humans objectify, admire, exploit, and worship nature. Those in the West have an uneasy and contradictory relationship with the natural world, being of it as animals yet simultaneously observing, consuming, and attempting to control it. Through the visual arts and popular media, through literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and science, through gardening, landscaping, and architecture, humans represent their relationships with nature. Nature can be a kind of dark mirror, reflecting back one’s desires and fears, loaded with contradictions and colonial yearnings. People consume it and attempt to control it, yet revere it and attempt to preserve it. It is thought to be fragile yet indestructible, finite yet cyclical, dangerous yet restful. Notions of the natural are employed to build theories of the human, as in human nature, natural law, natural gifts, naturalintelligence. On the one hand, there is something essentially natural about humans, some sort of authentic animal core; on the other, there are fantasies of the wild, as if there were a territory of purenature excluding the human predator. The Western ethical relationship to nature is similarly ambivalent: on one hand, nature is pure and uncorrupted by human desire; on the other, nature is by definition the location of sin, the refusal or inability to recognize divine intervention and moral authority-- the “Noble Savage” vs. “Lord of the Flies.”

2007 - 2008

"The Question of Identity in Psychoanalysis"

Bernard Reginster
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

The 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s birth has occasioned many reassessments of psychoanalysis, some of which are quite critical. Such criticisms tend to ignore two facts. One is that some of Freud’s most basic ideas have become so deeply entrenched that they remain untouched by those criticisms, and their Freudian origins are overlooked. The other is that, over the century since Freud’s early psychoanalytical works, the discipline he invented witnessed a theoretical explosion of new ideas, primarily about the issues of identity and intersubjectivity, which themselves became more and more closely involved with empirical research in psychological development. These new ideas have produced a rich and sometimes confusing fabric of theoretical effects on disciplines as diverse as cultural studies, race and gender studies, literary and media studies, philosophy, religious studies, history, and anthropology. The time has come to take stock. In 2007-2008, the Pembroke Seminar will explore psychoanalytic views on identification, intersubjectivity, and their interrelation. The claim that identification (understood as the development of an identity or sense of self) is fundamentally intersubjective (takes place in a context of relations with others) can be found in a wide variety of guises and across a wide variety of disciplines. But it is in psychoanalysis that most of these disciplines continue to find their theoretical bearings on these issues.

2006 - 2007

"Mediated Bodies/Bodies of Mediation"

Lynne Joyrich
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

It is said that we live in a media-saturated world, that the media now constitute the very air we breathe. But what kind of bodies breathe this air (or airwaves), and how are they formed by media technologies and texts? How do bodies appear and disappear in media culture? What other "bodies of mediation" have existed in, for instance, oral, print, or mechanical cultures? This seminar will explore the relationships between the body and the media across histories and cultures, considering how bodies are figured in media forms, how media forms themselves are embodied, and the interrelations among these phenomena. We will ask what we mean by "media" and "body," as both are subject to historical change, technological reframing, and philosophical debate.

2005 - 2006

"The Language of Victimization"

Carolyn J. Dean
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

In 2005-06, the Pembroke Seminar will consider the multiple languages used to fashion the image and meaning of victimization in different historical and cultural contexts. We will presume that victimization means the violation of human dignity by the state or by extra-legal groups and explore why critics, policy makers, intellectuals, and historians legitimate the experiences of some victims more than others. How do victims figure their own victimization? How do perpetrators turn themselves into victims? When does the consciousness of being a perpetrator or a victim develop? Is the victim-perpetrator dichotomy distinctly modern or does it have a significant genealogy? We will be specifically interested in the aversion and discomfort generated by victims and their experiences as manifested in various historical contexts. Consider, most recently, the silence that prevailed about Jewish experience outside of Jewish communities in the wake of the Holocaust; the reduction of mass atrocities to primitivism and “tribal” struggles when they are complex historical developments, or popular attitudes toward claims for restitution by a variety of victim groups, including Korean women enslaved by the Japanese military and African-Americans seeking reparations for slavery. Why, we will ask, has the historian Jan Gross’s suggestion that we believe victims first and verify their claims later incited such debate? What are the ideological investments in belief and disbelief?

2004 - 2005

"The Orders of Time"

Rey Chow
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center

In 2004-05, the Pembroke Seminar will investigate the question of time, looking at interdisciplinary as well as discipline-specific, historical, and cross-cultural conceptions of temporality. We will place such discussions in relation to time’s classic correlate, space, taking into account how the intimacy, differentiation, and tension between time and space have been an inherent part of social and cultural ideologies with lingering effects. In addition, we will ask how thinking and writing about time have informed the constructions of gender, class, culture, ethnicity, religion, and other important social divisions, and, conversely, how such social divisions themselves are implicated in time.

2003 - 2004

"Shame"

David Konstan
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center; John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics

In 2003-04, the Pembroke Seminar will explore the subject of shame and related sentiments. We will look at both cross-cultural and historical manifestations of shame and congruent concepts. We will examine the relationships between shame and its purported opposites, such as honor and pride, and between shame and its other, guilt, taking note of how these tensions have entered into the construction of social ideologies. In particular, attention will be directed to the role of shame in constructing differences of gender and class.

2002 - 2003

"Embodiment"

Anne Fausto-Sterling
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center; Professor of Biology and Gender Studies

In 2002-03, the Pembroke Seminar will explore how biological bodies become culturally expressive. Traditionally, the study of race and gender has been subdivided into the study of biology, on the one hand, and the study of culture, on the other. Thus, the nature/nurture debate frames most discussions of the body, especially with respect to gender and race. Indeed, until recently, feminist scholarship has championed the dichotomy between sex (biology) and gender (culture). But the body does not itself make such clear distinctions. How can we frame the discussion of embodiment so that biology and culture become one?

2001 - 2002

"Technology and Representation"

Mary Ann Doane
Senior Faculty Research Fellow, George Hazard Crooker Professor and Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

In 2001-02, the Pembroke Seminar will explore the ongoing saturation of culture by technologies of imaging, information, and computation. We will look at the impact technologies such as printing, photography, phonography, film, television, and digital media have on processes of representation, on ideas of presence and absence, contingency, accessibility, culture value. What is the link between technology and mass culture? Do these technologies indicate that sensory perception, rather than being a biological given, is subject to a cultural history? How do new technologies of representation affect concepts of repetition, reproduction, originality, and authenticity? How do they influence ideas of space, time, and knowledge? Do they provoke a culturally significant nostalgia for an “innocent” pre-technological era? How do we explain the Luddite resistance to technology or other movements that situate themselves as anti-technology?

2000 - 2001

"The Question of Emotion"

Elizabeth Weed
Pembroke Center Director

In 2000-01, the Pembroke Seminar will explore the question of emotion and its cognates: feeling, affect, sensibility, passion, mood, sentiment. We will look at the ways emotion is figured before and after the Enlightenment, inside and outside the West, in philosophical texts and in popular culture, in the disciplines and in the public sphere.

1999 - 2000

"The Culture of the Market"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

The Center’s theme for 1999-2000 is “The Culture of the Market.” The collapse of the socialist economies that offered themselves as alternatives to capitalism’s market economies and the advent of “globalization” as the dominant paradigm for thinking both economies and societies have effectively placed the “market” at the center of contemporary discourses on politics, culture, and social life. The triumph of the free market is celebrated well beyond the precincts of strictly economic exchange or financial calculation. Civic life increasingly conforms to market assumptions; the public sphere shrinks as its functions are privatized and assigned economic values; and the metaphor of the marketplace is at work in every realm of public discussion: family life, education, politics, the arts, civil society in general.

1998 - 1999

"Aesthetics, Politics, and Difference"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

1997 - 1998

"Disciplinary Difference"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

1996 - 1997

"The Future of Gender"

Elizabeth Weed
Pembroke Center Associate Director

Once a grammatical term, the word “gender” has in the course of two decades or so, come to be accepted as a common term indicating male or female. When it was first coined, “gender” was used to indicate social and cultural characteristics of maleness and femaleness, as opposed to the biological difference between the sexes: hence, the sex/gender split that feminist scholars have found so useful for their research. This year’s seminar set out to see if the term is still a useful one for scholars and researchers. What does it mean that the U.S. legal code has adopted the term while the Pope has condemned it? What is the status of “gender” in biological research? Has “gender” paradoxically equalized men and women so that masculinity and femininity are seen as comparable rather than unequal positions of power?

1994 - 1995

"The Question of Violence"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

The Pembroke Seminar examined the history of violence as a social and discursive category and focused on expanding discourses of violence in the contemporary United States.

1993 - 1994

"Law, Letters, and Difference"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

Every aspect of contemporary United States society has been subject to the law: real and intellectual property, labor, commerce, technology, art, domestic relations, the environment, health, reproduction, sexuality and so on. Under the pressures of economic, social and demographic changes this “nation of laws” has become the site of vigorous debates on the status of legal categories and institutional practices. This year’s seminar will focus on some of these debates. What happens when traditional legal principles are applied to new sets of problems? What are the processes by which legal categories are currently being expanded and rethought? What influence does new research on gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and so forth have on existing legal categories and on concepts of the juridical subject? Have recent critiques of the western enlightenment affected the production of juridical subjects?

1992 - 1993

"Art in the Age of Difference"

Ellen Rooney
Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

Research will look at how categories of artistic production are currently defined in the US and cross-culturally. How is “art” conceptualized in the era of “post-modernity”? What is the status of representation in visual and performance arts? What is the political economy of artistic production? What do historical studies bring to bear on these questions? What roles do categories such as gender, ethnicity, nationality and class play in artistic production and reception?

1991 - 1992

"Scientific Knowledge and Difference"

Karen Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature

Research looks particularly at the intersection of humanistic and scientific discourses and the discontinuities between the two. What epistemological gaps are there between the humanities and the sciences? What convergences? How is scientific literacy measured? Is there a crisis in science education in the United States? How are we to evaluate the challenges to Western science currently being brought by feminists, third world scientist and US ethnic minorities?

1990 - 1991

"Cultural Literacies and Difference"

Karen Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature

1988 - 1989

"Gender, State, and Political Identities"

Karen Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature

1987 - 1988

"Gender, Ethnicity, and Race"

Karen Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature

1986 - 1987

"Gender in Popular Culture and Popular Religion"

Barbara Babcock
Pembroke Center Director

Research will look at how gender is constructed and represented differently in high and popular cultures, in institutionalized and popular religions. Has the era of “mass Culture” changed the relationships between popular and elite forms? What impact has it had on representations of gender? What are the changing relationships between Western and non-Western popular and elite cultures? How do popular religious movements, found today in so many countries, represent gender differences? Can we gain insights into the relationships between gender and religious fundamentalism by looking at fundamentalism cross-culturally?

1984 - 1985

"Production, Reproduction, and Constructions of Sexual Difference"

Joan Wallach Scott
Nancy Duke Lewis Professor and Professor of History

How are social organizations of production and reproduction are related to the categories of masculine and feminine? What productive roles are available to women and how do those roles both reflect and define cultural positions of the female? How are the categories of production and biological reproduction articulated in a given cultural system? What forms of social and cultural reproductions are performed by women? By asking such questions, what insights can we gain into theories of sexual divisions of labors? What can be learned in all cases by cross-cultural comparisons?

1983 - 1984

"Values, Ethics, and the Meanings of Gender"

Joan Wallach Scott
Nancy Duke Lewis Professor and Professor of History

Research will consider gender as an evaluative category. How are ideas of “female” and “male” inscribed within the values and normative structures of society? Conversely, how do society’s ethics and value systems contribute to a construction of gender? What insights do we gain into these processes by looking at definitions of gender which differ cross-culturally or according to class or ethnicity?

1982 - 1983

"Gender, Representation, and Politics"

Joan Wallach Scott
Nancy Duke Lewis Professor and Professor of History