2015 Conferences

This is a brief post about the conferences I am – and hope to be – attending this year.

The one that I have so far been accepted to present at is the Gender and Education Association conference in London, 24-26 of June. It will be my first time overseas since I was 16 and first time in that part of the world!

This is the abstract for my paper (keeping in mind of course what I actually present will likely be somewhat different):

Keywords: Barad; Haraway; new materialism; science education; teacher education

Ethico-Onto-Epistemological Entanglements of Gender-Sex and Science

ABSTRACT

Feminist interrogations of the relationships between gender and science education have addressed issues of inequality, perceptions of science, as well as the masculinised foundations of science/knowledge. The two prevailing ways of understanding these issues rely on poststructuralist and constructionist frameworks. The emerging framework of ‘new materialism’ offers an additional interpretation that argues that in addition to discourse, matter and biology are important in holistically understanding reality. By way of this framework, matter is understood as agentic, emergent and dynamic rather than passive or essentialist. New materialism also prompts reconsideration of many other subjects; refusing, for instance, the Cartesian split between mind and matter, or nature and culture, and instead arguing that these concepts are inherently entangled into ‘onto-epistemologies’ and ‘naturecultures’.

Specifically, for my research project, I draw from feminist scientists Donna Haraway and Karen Barad to understand ‘gender-sex’ as a non-binary, non-essentialist and ‘material-discursive’ phenomenon. This interpretation is then applied to analyse power-knowledge relationships in science education. Within this framework science education is understood as inherently ethical, as well as epistemologically entangled with social phenomena (such as gender-sex). For example, there is the argument that ‘socioscientific issues’ remain marginalised against the traditional and masculinised core of science teaching (Hughes, 2000).

My preliminary research, which includes qualitative in-depth interviews, investigates and identifies the assemblages constitutive of Australian pre-service teachers’ views of science and ethics. There is a particular focus on the possible entanglements between the development of their views and knowledge with gender-sex and other phenomena. The inclusion of ethics, along with considerations of what kind of ethics, in science education is a primary concern. This is in light of the increasing effects of scientific and technological developments on the world. Consequently, my research considers the connections between gendered influences and an ethical science education, not only for primary and secondary students but also in teacher education.

Hughes, G. (2000). “Marginalization of Socioscientific Material in Science-Technology-Society Science Curricula: Some Implications for Gender Inclusivity and Curriculum Reform.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 37(5): 426-440.

I’m also hoping to attend, and present (if I’m accepted) [Update: I was not accepted :/], at the ‘VI Conference on New Materialisms: Transversal Practices: Matter, Ecology and Relationality’, which is at the University of Melbourne, 27-29 of September.

The latest one I’m interested in attending and presenting at, but unsure about at this point, is The Australian Sociological Association conference in Cairns, 23-26 of November.

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