Modern Girlhoods: A GEA Seedcorn Event

‘Great papers, lots of interesting people and plenty of opportunity for important dialogue’

‘I was totally blown away by Wednesday. Best conference I’ve ever been to, especially the way that the conversations just got more and more interesting as the day went on’

The 8th February 2012 saw another exciting GEA seedcorn event on the theme of Modern Girlhoods. This day seminar was well attended with over 50 participants from Brunel, across the UK and further afield.

The keynote speaker, Dr Farzana Shain from Keele University, in a thought provoking presentation explored the recent Nike sponsored ‘Girl effect’ in supporting education initiatives in the Global South. A lively debate ensued about the possibilities and challenges of development and gender within neo liberalism.

Other sessions included those on contemporary sexualisation debates, gender and celebrity and young women’s friendship and identities in and outside the classroom. Robert Duschinsky and Jessica Clarke both presented intellectually robust papers on sexualisation debates within policy and wider culture. Lyndsay Hayhurst returned to examine the ‘girl effect’ in a paper on girls and martial arts in Uganda.

In the final session of the day participants discussed the key challenges when researching young women’s lives and recent development within theory, policy and practice. This final discussion brought out many interesting discussion points on the state of girlhood scholarship and practice. In particular delegates noted the need to rethink and revise terms such as agency, resistance and success. Many present felt that a return to structural accounts is needed at this time of austerity, with a revisiting of socialist feminist work of earlier decades as one future useful strategy in making sense of the present.

Feedback from the seminar has been overwhelming positive emphasizing the warm and inclusive atmosphere conjured up by the enthusiastic presenters and audience. The Modern Girlhoods organizing committee would like to thank all of the presenters and the Gender & Education Association, the British Sociological Association and Centre for Youth Sport and Athlete Welfare for their financial support.






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