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Gender Campus

Swiss International Summer School 2012:
Reading Power Relations: Gender in Contextual Perspective

The 2012 edition of this event took place between August 27th and September 2nd 2012 at
the University of Lausanne, in conjunction with the 6th Francophone Feminist Research
Conference (6ème Congrès des recherches féministes francophones). It was organized by the Swiss Gender Studies Universities Network, in cooperation with the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL).

Aim and Focus

The 2012 edition of the Swiss International Summer School in Gender Studies focused on
the gendered dimension of power relations, under two related sub‐themes:

  • Theories of power from a feminist perspective
  • Gender in the context of multiple power relations

The Summer School focused on debates within the broad field of gender studies, analysing
the articulation of gender with other types of power relations, raising crucial questions
concerning the nature of domination, resistance and agency in contemporary societies.
Under the influence of the women’s movement, questions relating to the articulation of
gender with other forms of domination and exploitation have been addressed through a
variety of conceptual frameworks (Marxist feminism, postcolonial studies, etc.). However,
whilst some “intersections” of power relations have been fairly widely explored and
theorised in recent years (notably the somewhat incantatory “class, race, sex” triptych),
others have been rather neglected, more so in some national contexts than in others.
The Summer School encouraged a reflexive analysis of the influence of local, national,
intellectual and historical contexts on the focus of particular intersections of power, to the
detriment of others.
By approaching the theme of power from inter‐ and trans‐disciplinary perspectives, the 2012
edition of the Summer School offered comprehensive insights into current debates and will
give participants the opportunity to explore issues with a long tradition within academic
feminist thinking. The overall theme of the Summer School enabled participants to
envisage power relations in their structural, institutional, individual and collective
dimensions, in a wide range of social, historical, cultural and political settings. Participants
were invited to reflect on the conceptions of power that underpin their own research
activities and to identify the implicit or explicit hypotheses that characterise contemporary
feminist research on the intersections of power.


The Swiss International Summer Schools in Gender Studies was organized and financed by the Swiss Gender Studies Universities Network (universities of Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva & IHEID, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, St. Gall and Zurich). The 2012 edition of the Summer
School is jointly organised by the Gender Studies Centres of the universities of Geneva and

The organising committee was composed of representatives from both these institutions:
Pierre Bataille, PhD candidate, Sociology, UNIL
Laurence Bachmann, Researcher, Sociology, UNIGE
Magali Delaloye, PhD candidate, History, UNIL
Isabelle Giraud, MA, Political science, UNIGE
Iulia Hasdeu, MA, Anthropology, UNIGE
Nicky Le Feuvre, Professor, Sociology, UNIL

Key‐note speakers & Master class experts:
Prof. Elsa Dorlin, Professor of political and social philosophy, University of Paris VIII,
France : “Who’s speaking? Analysis and phenomenology of domination”
Prof. Dr. Sabine Hark, Professor of sociology, Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Frauenund
Geschlechterforschung, Technical University Berlin, Germany: “Female
Trafficking, Alpha Girls, and Gender Policies. On the Time and Future of Feminism”
Prof. Dr. Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor of Sociology,
Maryland University, USA: “Lost in Translation? Black Feminism, Intersectionality and
Social Justice”
Prof. Dr. Véronique Mottier, Professor of sociology, Labso‐ISS, University of
Lausanne, Switzerland & Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences at Jesus
College, Cambridge University, UK: “Gender Power and the State: Poststructuralism
and Beyond”

A: Women's agency and power relations within institutions (states, international
organisations, local governance, etc.) (Isabelle Giraud)
B: Visual Gender Power Relations (Laurence Bachmann)
C: Who’s right, who’s legitimate? Reflecting on agency and empowerment (Iulia Hasdeu)


Curriculum and Timetable