Who we are
In March 2010, the Center for Gender Research at Uppsala University, Isabelle Dussauge and Anelis Kaiser Trujillo in particular, launched the first international and transdisciplinary NeuroGenderings workshop. Entitled "NeuroGenderings: Critical Studies of the Sexed Brain", it brought together experts from different disciplines to identify theoretical and methodological strategies for social scientists, cultural scientists and neuroscientists to engage with radical, intersectional feminist and queer studies of the brain.
The NeuroGenderings Network was born at this meeting. Founding members included Anelis Kaiser Trujillo, Isabelle Dussauge, Sigrid Schmitz, Deboleena Roy, Hannah Fitsch, Cynthia Kraus, Rebecca Jordan-Young, Catherine Vidal, Cordelia Fine, Emily Ngubia Kessé, Raffaella Rumiati, Kathrin Nikoleyczik, Marianne Regard, and Iris Sommer. Most of this group has continued to engage as the core group for the Network.
The first meeting of the NeuroGenderings Network, in Uppsala,
Sweden, March 2010.
The network was founded to bring together feminist researchers working on brain issues. The international network represents a broad range of disciplines such as neuroscience, the humanities, social and cultural studies, gender and queer studies, feminist science studies, and science and technology studies. Research in the network focuses on a variety of issues related to gender and the brain; our goals include evaluating the current state of neuroscientific methods, findings, representations and interpretations of empirical brain research (neurofeminism), initiating dialogue across disciplinary boundaries, and developing detailed and enriched approaches to neuroscientific analyses (feminist neuroscience). Moreover, the NeuroGenderings Network aims to develop concepts for more reflective debates in education and in all social spheres (an approach we call neuropedagogies). The Network published its first joint findings in a special issue of the journal Neuroethics, entitled "Neuroethics and Gender" (for an overview, see Dussauge & Kaiser, 2012).
Our feminism has always been reflected both in the approaches we take to studying the brain and in the way we work with each other. In terms of the former, this means that we recognise that the production and dissemination of knowledge is never neutral, but implicated in power relations - i.e. politics. Similarly, in terms of the latter, we recognise that we ourselves are unequally situated in relation to power, and we commit to doing the work necessary to be aware of and accountable for these power differences. In other words, we are not a ‚neutral‘ academic body, nor are we simply an ahistorical or apolitical professional network that functions to advance the work of individual members. We are a feminist collective dedicated to using our specific skills of critical intellectual engagement to challenge the unjust power relations that are too often reinforced by uncritical work on ‚brains‘. We feel strongly that our challenges must be holistic and broad - not just focused on 'sexism' in any narrow sense, but intersectionally whenever and wherever 'science' is used overtly or covertly to support unequal power relations of gender, race, sexuality, ability and other systematic structures of normativity, exclusion and violence.
We are not a laboratory, we have no leader. The collective communication structure of the network works slowly, we have no financial resources and no academic institutionalisation. We are not an association, we do not pay fees. So sometimes our process of collectively building a common opinion is not rapid.