In 2007, the editorial team introduced the Gender, Place and Culture Annual Award for New and Emerging Scholars with funds supplied by Taylor & Francis. The award is targeted at emerging researchers in feminist geographies who are trying to establish research careers and create research momentum.
The editorial team of Gender, Place and Culture is pleased to announce the award winners of this annual award, valued at a maximum of US$1,500. This year the editors agreed to share the award between two candidates who both were deserving in terms of their financial need and the quality of their intended presentations. They are: Maria Anne Fitzgerald, Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Geography, University of Delhi, and Mirjam Sagi, Assistant Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. They will both use the award to present papers at the conference UGI-IGU 2022 in Paris, France, July 18-22, 2022.
Congratulations and best wishes for your continued work in the field of feminist geography!
Title and abstract of Maria Anne Fitzgerald’s paper:
From gender wallah to feminist geographer: Reflections on ‘doing’ Gender and Feminist Geography in India
Existing literature on gender and feminist geography in India has discussed the growth and concerns of the sub-discipline. The frontlines wherefrom this geographical knowledge is produced may also be traced along the fringes of classrooms, recreational spaces and residential complexes within higher education institutes in India. While these spaces are keenly projected as ‘universitarian’ images, they are meshed with unequal gender and caste relations often inconspicuous within these institutes. These power asymmetries (un)knowingly create hegemonies of knowledge, prejudices and preferences in the system of geographical knowledge production within higher education institutes in India. Thus making these spaces acquire a competitive nature rather than collegial practice. Taking up space as an emerging scholar and doing gender and feminist geographies within these contexts in higher education institutes, as a woman of colour, from a cultural and religious minority community in India, is challenging. Scholars of gender and feminist geography are often on the receiving end of banter, infantilization, teasing, disciplining, taming and moral policing within these androcentric spaces. Further, these acts are meted out to appease hegemonic culture and geographical knowledge systems which are at odds with the praxis of feminist geography. Also, the persistent need to justify using feminist themes and methodologies as legitimate ways of doing geographical research in India is another obstacle. In this paper, by adopting an auto-ethnographical approach, I draw attention to the optics of doing gender and feminist geography as a doctoral scholar in a higher education institute in India. This reflexive account also explores the crucial role of feminist mentoring, allyship and peer groups in emboldening scholars to pursue research in gender and feminist geographies within Indian contexts.
Keywords: Feminist Geography, India, hegemonies of knowledge, gender, higher education
Maria Anne Fitzgerald is a feminist geographer with a keen interest in mapping the way identity and space co-constitute the social world of children/young people. Maria is a gold medalist from the MA batch of 2017 of the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics. She has completed her M.Phil and is now enrolled for her doctoral research in the same department.
As a feminist scholar, she focuses on visibilising the experiences of children/young people across multiple spatial scales and uncovering power relations in familial and social relationships between children/young people (e.g. youngest generation, students, scholars) and adults (e.g. parents, family, educators, community leaders etc.). The negotiations, tactics and strategies young people deploy to navigate various spaces are mostly overlooked within geographical discourses in India. Maria has been building on this idea with her supervisor Prof. Anindita Datta, since her MA, in relation to home spaces (the theme of her MA dissertation), spaces beyond the home – educational, community and religious institutions (focus of her M.Phil Dissertation), and within the city, region and nation (her ongoing PhD Research). Whilst navigating these spaces and working with young people from cross-cultural backgrounds (e.g. Anglo-Indian Community, inter-religious families, inter-regional families etc.), she has found her home in feminist geographies.
She owns and operates a collaborative blog, ‘makingspace’ at www.makingspace.co.in, which hosts stories of young people born into cross-cultural families.
Title and abstract of Mirjam Sagi paper:
Instrumentalising fear and women’s bodies in political rhetoric in the context of Budapest, Hungary
Fear and security have become increasingly determining factors in urban planning and policies, having ambiguous effects on public space as a central element of democracy (Davis 1992), as well as on public/private relations as a politically charged geographical organiser of gendered-social relations (Koskela and Pain 2000). Therefore, understanding and (re)addressing the security and fear in the context of urban public space is important not only to have a city where one could feel safe and free, but potentially to have a city that is equally safe and free for all. My research focuses on the ways in which fear and women’s bodies, have been instrumentalised in political rhetoric shaping public spaces, in a time, when both market forces are increasingly determining (further criminalising the poor), and governments are taking authoritarian turns (spreading xenophobia). I believe that a multiscalar/trans-scalar (Pain 2009, Tulumello 2020) analysis of the production of fear can contribute to a critical understanding of such processes and able to establish a grounded critique of the militarization of urban space and urban policy making defined by fear often based on Othering. I approach my research through a feminist political economy lens and by the analysis of political rhetoric across selected government related media outlets in Hungary (e.g., local newspapers, campaigns, billboards), using computer software for qualitative coding and content analysis as research methods. I also draw on survey/ ReliefMap results (Rodó-de-Zárate 2014) focusing on emotions – fear in particular – in the context of three central squares of Budapest and the home to better understand how fear produced and operate at different scales.
Mirjam Sagi is an Assistant Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and she is defending her PhD this year at the Eotovos Lorand University of Budapest. With a mixed social science background (sociology, gender studies, and human geography), her research focuses on feminist geographies’ take on emotions, and on the multi-scalar understanding of fear in particular. Within this framework, on the one hand, her PhD focuses on the ways in which fear has been instrumentalized in political rhetoric in the context of Budapest/Hungary, shaping public space and leading to marginalization and Othering. On the other hand, utilizing the same theoretical frame, at the Academy she focuses on the way emotions/space-experience effect and effected by uneven development. She does so as part of a research group on uneven development and everyday life led Judit Timár. Beside academia she is a member of the HerStory Collective, collecting/conducting narrative interviews with women on food, housing, energy and care.