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Four members of the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies presented papers to the Australian Women's Studies Association at their conference in Melbourne last month, and we were pleased to see the Association take an important new move in changing its name to the Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA rather than AWSA).

The new President of the Association is Dr Maryanne Dever of Monash University, and while the AWGSA's new website is being set up, queries about membership should be addressed to Maryanne.

As part of the Association's new activities it has announced it will be sponsoring two panels in December, at the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia's annual conference, and at The Australian Sociology Association's annual conference. Seven different university's women's or gender studies programs are represented on these panels, including the University of Sydney.

AWGSA TASA panel: Women, choice and contemporary dilemmas
For twenty first century feminist scholars and activists, critical interrogation of the concept of ‘choice’ is essential to understanding how social aspirations and outcomes are experienced by individual social agents who are differently located in social structures. In a late capitalist society and neo-liberal policy climate stressing mutual obligation and individual responsibility, a variety of issues are now framed as matters of personal choice. This panel explores feminist interpretations of choice and agency with regard to women’s experiences in contemporary Australia.

  • Chilla Bulbeck (University of Adelaide), "Choosing a biography: how young men and women construct choice in their imagined futures"
  • JaneMaree Maher (Monash University), "The fertile fields of policy talk? Decision-making, choice and policy"
  • Alison Bartlett (University of Western Australia), "Theory, desire and maternity: at work in academia"
  • Kerreen Reiger & Monica Campo (La Trobe University), "Deconstructing 'choice' in birth and breastfeeding"

AWGSA CSAA panel: Rethinking Consent
This panel foregrounds current research on the representation of consent and sexual consent in practice. It considers how subjects are positioned by discourses on sex and consent and how gender, race, nationality and age inflect what kind of consent is sought, acknowledged and legitimated. Beginning with the conference theme, and the imperative to understand/challenge the construction of difference between Australian and unAustralian sexual violence, the panel then moves into a recent Australian controversy around the age of consent before returning to the idea of consent itself, asking what kinds of consent matter to the powerful image of the consenting subject.

  • Chair, Helen Keane (Australian National University)
  • Barbara Baird (Flinders University), "For those having trouble telling the difference: Australian and UnAustralian sexual violence"
  • Steven Angelides (Monash University), "Adolescence, Sexual Consent, and the Law"
  • Catherine Driscoll (University of Sydney), "The Subject of Consent"

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About the Blog

This is the blog for thinking and talking about culture, Cultural Studies and cultural analysis at the University of Sydney.