Central Goals and Research Questions
What representations of gender and ethnicity are currently being produced in theory, history, oral narratives, literature, television, cyberspace and film? What feminist methods, gender tools and analytic frameworks in relation to the power of dominant discourses are currently being produced as a form of resistance? The joint endeavour of this research programme is to find out how these different types of discourses interact, how they co-constitute, reinforce, contradict, or explain (away) each other.
Our first purpose is to make connections:
- in disciplinary terms, forging links between usually distinct fields (history, philosophy, literary theory, social theory, reflexive and experimental ethnography, post-colonial studies, third world feminism and media studies).
- in intertextual terms, trying to link so called high and low culture to eve-ryday stories and discourses about gen-der and ethnicity.
- in conceptual terms, by linking issues of (post-)colonialism and (post-)modernism to issues of feminism, and by attempting to place often ghettoised (his)-stories in productive interaction.
Secondly, the concepts of representation and subjectivity are addressed from an explicitly gendered perspective. We take gender to be the approach that in every analysis connects the categories that are excluded to those that are included (masculine, feminine, black, white, etc.)
Thirdly, the programme aims to shed new light on the processes of inclusion and exclusion among and within both dominant and non-dominant ethnic groups. Possibilities for identification form a crucial aspect of the power of representation. Identity-formations and constructions of gender are, in addition to material and social circumstances, critically informed by cultural artefacts: music, imagery, and cultural myths enable a given group to construct their own identities (Hall 1996). Such artefacts may be used to reinforce as well as to subvert prevailing prejudices.