Gender Justice & Neoliberal Transformations

The Gender, Justice, and Neoliberalisms working Group is a transnational research team developing a comparative and synthetic approach to questions of gender justice in the current geopolitical and economic moment. The team formed out of the “Gender, Justice, and Neoliberalisms” workshop held at BCRW in 2012, and includes researchers working across sites ranging from New York City to Detroit, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Madrid and Amsterdam. The Working Group undertakes multi-sited, collaborative research so as to produce innovative ideas about how to address social issues more effectively, and thereby to contribute to more just social relations. Although economic justice issues have received increased attention since the financial crisis of 2008, they continue to be discussed in terms that rarely include questions of gender and sexuality. Across our work, gender is a central unit of analysis rather than simply a recurring theme, the lens through which we apprehend and historicize the social, political, and economic shifts ushered in by neoliberalism. Given the centrality of gender and sexuality to both state formation and contemporary operations of statecraft, we argue that this engagement is crucial to theorizing neoliberalism, and particularly so in relation to transformations in the welfare state, the feminization of labor, and the increase in affective labor broadly.

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The Scholar and Feminist Online: Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations

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Issue 11.1-11.2 | Fall 2012/Spring 2013

Guest edited by Elizabeth Bernstein and Janet R. Jakobsen
This issue of The Scholar & Feminist Online forges new ground by weaving together issues of gender and sexuality, usually sidelined in conversations about neoliberalism, with questions of the economy and political processes. Bringing together a diverse group of scholars who work on a wide array of regions, sites, and issues, the issue makes rich connections between Detroit and Buenos Aires, privatization and gambling, and migration, caring labor, and sex work. Using short papers, videos, poetry, art, and photography, the contributors consider the meanings of neoliberalism through questions of how it is lived, how it connects people, places, and issues, and importantly, what its contradictions can reveal about the possibilities for social change and justice. Piercing through the heart of this issue are the urgent questions the editors ask in the introduction: “If neoliberalism is the current context for action, what might gender justice become?” And equally important, “If another world is possible, what kind of world would we desire it to be?”

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Working Group Members

Principal Investigators

  • Elizabeth Bernstein, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Sociology, Barnard College. Specializes in the convergence of feminist, neoliberal, and evangelical Christian interests in the shaping of contemporary U.S. policies around the traffic in women.
  • Janet Jakobsen, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College. Specializes in ethics and public policy with a particular focus on social movements related to religion, gender and sexuality.

Core Participants

  • Ana Amuchástegui, Professor of Social Psychology, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco. Researches contemporary sexual politics and reproductive rights in Mexico.
  • Sealing Cheng, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Chinese University, Hong Kong. Specializes in questions of gender, migration, and refugees in Hong Kong and South Korea.
  • Abosede George, Assistant Professor of History, Barnard College. Specializes in the history of urbanization, gender and neoliberalism in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Louis F. Graham, Assistant Professor of Community Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Specializes in Health Inequities and LGBT Health with a focus on the city of Detroit.
  • Maja Horn, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures, Barnard College, Columbia University. Specializes in literature, art and performances of gender and sexuality in the Dominican Republic.
  • Kerwin Kaye, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University. Specializes in gender, addiction, and incarceration in New York City.
  • Tami Navarro, Associate Director, Barnard Center for Research on Women. Specializes in neoliberal development, gender, subjectivity, the Caribbean.
  • Mark Padilla, Associate Professor of Global Studies, Florida International University. Principle Investigator of Ford Foundation Project on inequality, sexuality, and youth in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Mario Pecheny, Professor of Political Science, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Researching HIV, sexual and health politics in Latin America.
  • Sine Plambech, Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies. Studies international migration, human trafficking, sex work, global care chains, gender, and humanitarianism.
  • Svati Shah, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Researching the political economy of migration, sex work, development, and urbanization in South Asia and South Asian diaspora.
Skyscraper hovers over dilapidated storefront with torn sign in Korean

“Making Way for the Global City” by Cheon Malsun


New York City in the World from For the Public Good Conference, held on March 28, 201.

Gender, Justice, and Activisms in New York City from a special pre-conference panel to the For the Public Good Conference, held on March 28, 2014.

What is NEOLIBERALISM? – An original video produced by BCRW for The Scholar and Feminist Online

Paradoxes of Neoliberalism – An original video produced by BCRW for The Scholar and Feminist Online