Gender and Urban Space

Detailed Table of Contents

Sonja Frenzel: Editorial
Natalie Collie: Walking in the City: Urban Space, Stories, and Gender
Abstract: This paper outlines a feminist reading of Michel de Certeau’s work on urban space and narrative in The Practice of Everyday Life. De Certeau offers a persuasive, highly poetic theoretical framework for understanding the production of urban space and the way it is experienced – and ‘written’ – through the everyday practices of a city’s inhabitants. The role of sexual difference in the production of this space is somewhat underdeveloped, however. In response to this gap, and with the help of Elizabeth Grosz’s essay Cities-bodies, I develop a feminist analysis of the urban subjectivity implied in his work.
Author's Bio: Natalie has a PhD in creative writing and currently teaches theories of journalism, communication, and the media in the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland. Her research interests include urban culture, narrative & genre, media ecology, speculative fiction, gender, and transmedia storytelling.
Judit Minczinger: A Mass-Produced Muse: Gender and Late-Victorian Urban Developments in George Du Maurier’s "Trilby"
Abstract: This paper examines the gender dimension of several issues emerging in the context of the fin-de-siècle urban setting through a discussion of George Du Maurier’s popular novel Trilby. Set in bohemian Paris, the novel’s female protagonist Trilby, initially a highly hybrid character, is gradually turned into a domestic creature in order to be protected from the lures and temptations of the city. Later hypnotized by the evil Svengali, she is then transformed into an outstanding diva, La Svengali, and as a female performer she arouses insatiable feelings of passion and desire in her audience. The paper examines the ways in which the heroine and her associations with the city engage with various ideological formations, including the cult of domesticity, the paradigm of the pastoral tradition, and the Romantic conception of artistic genius. Trilby’s transformation into a metropolitan celebrity also highlights several developments in the late nineteenth-century city, including new technologies of display, changing modes of consumption, a burgeoning mass culture, as well as a preoccupation with the commodity. Du Maurier’s best-seller may teach us contemporary readers about the ways in which the issue of gender and the position of women constitute one of the fault lines in the development of urban modernity.
Author's Bio: Judit Minczinger is a doctoral candidate at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her dissertation focuses on literary representations of women in a variety of public spaces of the fin-de-siècle metropolis.
Ami Crinnion: The Slutwalks: Reappropriation through Demonstration
Abstract: The Slutwalks were protests which took place in cities across the world in summer 2011 and were sparked when a police officer told a group of students that they should stop dressing like sluts to avoid being sexually assaulted. A global movement in which women and men took to the streets - many dressed provocatively and proudly called themselves sluts - in an attempt to reclaim both the derogatory term and the right to dress how they want; free from judgement. This paper interviews Slutwalk participants from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK and Vienna, Austria to explore their motivations for getting involved and to gain a deeper understanding of how they have challenged androcentric structural norms that are manifest within the city.
Author's Bio: Ami Crinnion completed a Master’s in European Urban Cultures in 2012 after spending the duration of the yearlong course studying in four different universities: Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), Free University Brussels (VUB), Tilburg University and Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA). Ami has undertaken feminist research in the role of women and femininity in women’s magazines and the following study of The Slutwalks. Ami currently lives in London and works for a children’s mental health charity.
Chandramukhee and Stephanie Leder: Dowry Practices and Gendered Space in Urban Patna/India
Abstract: In arranged marriages, bride-givers and bride-takers participate in the transactional space with different intentions during marriage solemnization. Hypergamy along with caste-endogamy restricts the options for brides’ fathers in the selection of grooms leading to dowry competitiveness while grooms’ families feel justified in demanding dowry as a return for the investment in their son. Raised lifestyles and more disposable income due to modernization in Indian cities have aggravated the phenomenon further. This article investigates how dowry practices create and sustain a highly gendered space in urban Patna/Bihar. The representational space of the social practice of dowry is analyzed in 16 unstructured in-depth interviews with fathers of brides and women of the Hindu Kushwaha caste in West Patna and old Patna city. To examine how transactional space is created, groom’s family factors and bride-giving family factors that encourage dowry practices are identified. Furthermore, the discriminatory spaces in the brides’ parental and marital homes as well as strategies and attitudes to deal with dowry are investigated.
Author's Bio: Chandramukhee, an M.Phil. student of the Geography Department at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, and did her Post-graduation in Geography from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. Her research in M.Phil. is specialized on dowry practices in urban Patna in the field of Gender Geography. She received a scholarship in Gender studies from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. Her research interests include social practices in urban space that leads to gender discrimination, her focus is mainly on understanding women’s situation in the patriarchal system in India. Stephanie Leder is a PhD scholar at the University of Cologne, Germany. She studied Geography, English, Biology and Education at the University of Cologne and the University of New Brunswick, Canada. For her PhD thesis on Education for Sustainable Development in Geography Teaching in Pune/India, she receives a PhD scholarship from the Cologne Graduate School for Teaching Methodology. The PhD project is in corporation with the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research in Pune. Her research interests include Geography Teaching and Megacity Research (water, health, informal settlements, gender and education) with a regional focus on India.
Shu-Ju Ada Cheng (Review): "Illicit Flirtations"