Debating gender and sex: Meaning, reality and the creation of other futures

The current conflict over sex and who gets to count as a woman is also a conflict about how to understand reality and how to have a discussion. While the conflict over defining sex and womanhood has received fierce attention, far less attention has been paid, in Britain, to the relationship between sex, what counts […]

Tacit bias in reference-writing: How men are becoming the explicit standard

Some months back, I received an email asking me for an academic reference. With it came a request that, in writing the reference, I pay attention to my unconscious gender bias, which I should try and limit. I am glad universities, internationally, are directing reference-writers’ attention to the different kinds of recommendation letters that men […]

Responding to gender critical feminism: On gender, sex and a generous feminist politics in anxious times

Can feminism develop and grow if the room for reasonable divergence between us becomes ever narrower? We need spaces where we can discuss feminist politics to improve all our feminisms. The cheerleading, backslapping and feuding of twitter is not a good substitute. [image: Ben Kanter] I’ve been wondering how to respond to the social media […]

Acting as if other law reform options were already on the table?

Now is an exciting time to be asking the question: do we need an assigned legal gender? The research project I’ve started with colleagues on gender’s legal future is situated in a swirl of critical and creative approaches to gender and its possible futures – in terms of what gender means, what it does, and […]

Are Christian bakers part of the wedding cakes they make; and what follows if they are?

Is making a cake for a gay wedding the same as making a cake with an anti-gay message? This equivalence was drawn by conservative judge, Justice Gorsuch, in the US Supreme Court decision on Masterpiece Cakeshop recently released. For the Trump nominee, both kinds of cakes were exercises in expression, and to require bakers to make the […]

Can projects of reimagining complement critical research?

Photo: Ben Kanter This post was prompted by the responses of some critical scholars to my recent work on reimagining the state; I focus on the challenge of developing transformative methods and the relationship they might have to more critical accounts. The task of the critical academic is often seen as one of exposure – […]

On Corbyn, antisemitism and things Jewish

Davina Cooper and Didi Herman Yet another episode in the story of Jeremy Corbyn’s antisemitism. This time from 2012, in expressed support for a graffiti artist’s free speech rights after the artist’s painting of white bankers playing monopoly on the backs of the globe’s dispossessed was declared offensive for its racist caricatures of Jews. And […]

Traditionalism limits The Shape of Water

[photo: Ben Kanter] Guillermo Del Toro’s The shape of water is a film meant to be loved. A captured sea creature is placed in a laboratory; facing destruction and caught between the coldly calculating politics of American and Soviet interests, it is saved by a young woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), whose empathy turns to romantic […]

What do we write to convey?

Academic writing can seem freighted with agendas other than communicating sense, even as academics split over whether inaccessible writing conveys brilliance or simply that ideas and readings have not been fully digested. Increasingly, I incline towards the latter. Or at least I know that is what causes me to write in overly-referential, condensed ways, drawing […]

Green-lighting the government’s will, or how a referendum might actually support democracy

  A fight has been raging since Brexit over whether the people’s will has expressed itself; and if it has, what did it say? Now in the face of a high court judgment placing parliament very clearly before the royal prerogative, the right-wing media insist the people have already spoken. Like the tablets brought down from […]