davina_cooperThe Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies in cooperation with the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University organises the seventeenth round of the DOING GENDER Lecture Series. These lectures stress the importance of doing gender work combined with an active involvement in the practice of gender theory and research. The concept of DOING GENDER supports a hands-on approach to gender issues in the sense of social and political engagement with the new forms of gender inequalities that are taking shape in the world today. The lecture series wants to give space to the new generations of gender theorists and practitioners and to perspectives that innovate the field and do gender in new ways. Key is the notion of doing gender: what is the state of the art definition of gender? How do contemporary scholars and activists utilise this definition?

On Friday November 4, 2016, Professor Davina Cooper will give a Doing Gender Lecture on Governing erotically: States of withdrawal, attachments and pleasures.

This talk is based on a chapter from Davina Cooper’s new book project, which explores how we might reimagine the state in ways that could be productive for progressive transformative politics. The book takes as its ground and thinking tool the contemporary legal drama over conservative Christian refusal to affirm same-sex relations, for instance by excluding lesbians and gay men from their organisations and venues, and in refusing to service same-sex weddings. At the same time, it addresses the reactive withdrawal by liberal state bodies, taking away contracts, subsidies, jobs and institutional recognition from conservative Christians in turn. In this talk, Davina Cooper takes this legal drama as the basis for exploring the erotic state. Her analysis starts from the more common and powerful critique of state sexual practices as coercive, oppressive and misogynist to consider how else erotic state relations could be performed. Addressing the place of friction, waste, time, residues, and pleasures, she explore the arousal that comes from micro-sized processes of political stimulation, and ask how this can help us to reimagine what the state could be.

Davina Cooper’s first academic position was at University of Warwick Law School (from 1991-1998). She also completed her PhD there (in 1992), begun at the LSE. Davina Cooper then moved to Keele University (from 1998-2004), and for 3 1/2 years was Research Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences, prior to coming to University of Kent to establish the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality in 2004. Her main areas of research sit at the interstices of socio-legal studies, political theory, social diversity and the transformational potential of state and non-state sites. Specifically, Davina Cooper has explored these themes in articles, book chapters and books over twenty years, including in: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994). Her most recent book, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (2014) has just been published by Duke University Press.

Doing Gender Lecture details:

Friday November 4, 2016: Prof. dr. Davina Cooper (Kent Law School, University of Kent, UK)

  • Lecture: Governing erotically: States of withdrawal, attachments and pleasures.
  • Time: 11.00 – 12.30 hrs
  • Location: Utrecht, Janskerkhof 15A, room 2.02
  • Chair: Dr. Christine Quinan

The Doing Gender Lecture Series takes place in Utrecht and is free of charge.
Registration is compulsory: nog@uu.nl