Lecture by Angela Willey

Undoing Monogamy: The Politics of Science and the Possibilities of Biology (29 June 2017)

In this talk, Willey both frames and traces the broad contours of Undoing Monogamy, a radically interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of monogamy in science and culture, propelled by queer feminist desires for new modes of conceptualization and new forms of belonging. She approaches the politics and materiality of monogamy as intertwined with one another such that disciplinary ways of knowing themselves become the object of critical inquiry. Refusing to answer the naturalization of monogamy with a naturalization of nonmonogamy, the talk suggests the need for a critical reorientation toward the monogamy question in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The talk traverses the books’ treatments of colonial sexual science, monogamous voles, polyamory, and the works of Alison Bechdel and Audre Lorde to show how challenging the lens through which human nature is seen as monogamous or nonmonogamous forces us to reconsider our investments in coupling and in disciplinary notions of biological bodies.

  • Time: 10:00 – 12:00
  • Venue: Jozef Plateauzaal, Campus Boekentoren, Plateau-Rozier, Jozef Plateaustraat 22

Registration for the lecture is not needed. All are welcome!

The lecture is followed by a Master Class:
The master class explores the question of subjectivity in epistemological interventions of feminist science studies. These critical studies of science have sought to theorize new ways of imagining “objectivity” and taking into account the politics of location and embodied conditions of knowledge production. This has led to a variety of epistemological approaches, often categorized as either feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint theory or feminist postmodernism, and more recent attempts to incorporate new materialist engagements with matter and embodiment within feminist critiques of science and philosophies of subjectivity.

  • Time: 13:00-15:00
  • Venue: Room C01.27, Campus Boekentoren, Plateau-Rozier, Jozef Plateaustraat 22

Registration for the master class is closed

Angie Willey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She works at the interstices of queer feminist theory, feminist science studies, and sexuality studies.  Her work has appeared in Feminist Studies; Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; Journal of Gender Studies; Science, Technology, and Human Values; Archives of Sexual Behavior; and Sexualities and in volumes on monogamy, the science of difference, materialism, and the global history of sexual science.  She is author of Undoing Monogamy: The Politics of Science and the Possibilities of Biology (Duke University Press 2016) and at work on her second book, Feminism’s Sciences: Nature, Bodies, and the New and Old Materialisms.

The lecture is part of the Doctoral Schools Specialist Course ‘How to Make Sense of Subjectivity in Research‘ and is hosted by the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender. For more information contact Katrien De Graeve.


Jozef Plateaustraat 22:

From Ghent Sint-Pieters Station: Take the main tram (1) towards the city centre, which takes about 10 min (by foot is at least 20 minutes). Get off at stop “Verlorenkost”. Take the street on your right up the hill (Jozef Plateaustraat), with the Illy coffee shop on the corner to your right.

By car: The square ‘Sint. Pietersplein’ has an underground parking (P10). There is also paid parking in the surrounding streets (with coin metres). From the motorway (E40/E17) take the exit Ghent Centrum. Coming down a viaduct and towards the first traffic lights you see, get in the left hand lane early and take a left onto the inner city ring rather than heading to the city centre. Follow the ring (Sint-Lievenslaan) and take a right turn at the second set of traffic lights (Overpoortstraat). This street leads you to the underground car park at the square.
Walk up hill through Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat (to the left of the abbey) and take the third street on your left, which is the Pleateaustraat.

Jozef Plateauzaal:

Take the main entrance (nr. 22) and go through the glass doors on your left. Take the next glass door. Jozef Plateauzaal is at the end of the corridor on the left.

Room C01.27:

From the main entrance at Jozef Plateaustraat, you walk down and to the left (Gezusters Lovelingstraat). Halfway down the street on the left you cross the little parking lot and take the green door (entrance Sterrenwacht). At the end of the short corridor you go right, through the blue door. Then, first corridor on the left and room C01.27 is at the end of the corridor. Map.

Lunch Break

There is a student cafeteria within the Blandijn building (only sandwiches, reduced prices only for holders of a Ghent University student or personnel card). The Blandijn buidling is directly adjacent to Boekentoren (leave the Plateau entrance, go to the right to the St.Pietersnieuwstraat, take the second street to the right (Blandijn). The main entrance is on your right.

Some other locations for sandwiches:

Plateau main entrance to the right:

  • FaxFood (St.Pietersnieuwstraat 91)
  • Snackfood (St.Pietersnieuwstraat 97)

Plateau main entrance to the left:

  • Het Hoekske (Kortrijksepoortstraat 1)
  • Verloren Kost (Nederkouter 134)