The University of Newcastle, Australia

Research as an Act of Betrayal

Monday, 24 June 2019

Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre and The Centre For 21st Century Humanities will host a talk and a masterclass by visiting international scholar Dr Devaleena Das from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Dr Devaleena Das pointing at a projected chart
Dr Devaleena Das

Dr Das is an Assistant Professor in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the university and writes across interdisciplinary fields, her scholarship spanning several geographical and cultural boundaries.

She explores how and why we need to move beyond corporeal paradigms of fragmentation versus wholeness; biology versus technology; and individual versus collective cultural identity of the body.

Transnational feminist and queer analysis of bodies in medical, religious, philosophical, and cultural studies, shows a shift from theorizing the body as a battleground to weaponizing the body for suicide bombing, to outsourcing of body organs and wombs, and to creative modification of bodies in dance and performance art.

What ontological, intellectual, and affective knowledge about the body could be theorized from these processes of lived bodily experiences, creations, illuminations, and explorations of the polyvocal languages of the body and its organs?

Is corporeal also cerebral? How do we understand this new bodily undertaking of becoming and unbecoming? Is the body becoming too discursive and slippery in order to be loved, desired, and trusted by us?

In her presentation, Dancing, bombing and outsourcing corporeality: can we love the posthumanbody? Dr Devaleena Das attempts to address these questions by proposing a Transnational Feminist Interrogation of Research Methodologies Across Disciplines.

Extracted from her current book, Stripping the Anatomical Parts: A Transnational Approach to Theorizing Body Fragments and Embodied Subjects, her new interdisciplinary corporeal theory aims towards respecting and appreciating the resilience of diverse bodies.

Research is the foundation of academic knowledge as well as knowledge produced in non-profit organizations, social service agencies, corporations, and other venues of economic and social activity.

“As students in different disciplines investigate research problems, they often overlook how their own identities influence investigations,” Dr Das said.

“Further, while quantitative methods are gendered as “masculine” and are being associated with words such as ‘positivism’, ‘scientific’, ‘objectivity’ and ‘statistics’, qualitative methods have been associated with interpretivism, non-scientific, subjectivity and seen as “feminine,” she said.

Dr Das’s masterclass, Research as an Act of Betrayal: A Transnational Feminist Interrogation of Research Methodologies Across Disciplines seeks to assess knowledge-generating strategies, analysis and gendering of methods, how methods impact outcomes, develop critical awareness in doing research, how the power imbalance between research and subject must be addressed to change social inequality, and why we need to investigate the relationship between researcher and researched, subject and object, academia and non-academia.

Keeping this background in mind, this class will focus on the politics of feminist and queer research and knowledge formation and possible outcomes when applying western theories to non-western research contexts across various boundaries.

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