LOVA Study Day 2019 – Gender Moves

On Friday, May 10, 2019, the annual LOVA Study Day was held in Leiden, organized by Jasmijn Rana. The theme of the day was Gender Moves and brought together scholars, students and others who were interested in gender, sports, and dance. There were two keynote speakers: Alex Channon from the University of Brighton and Kathy Davis from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Six presentations were done in two-panel sessions; one of the presentations was by way of a live stream through Skype from Barcelona as the presenter could not travel to Leiden. The study day was a huge success with more than seventy people attending throughout the day. The meeting was closed by a ceremony in which the LOVA Marjan Rens Master’s Thesis Award 2019 was handed out by honorary LOVA member Prof. Dr. Willy Jansen.

May 10, Leiden University


This year it is 40 years ago that LOVA was established, and we want to celebrate with a seminar around the theme “Gender Moves”. We invite you to join us on May 10, 2019, at Leiden University, to explore how gender is enacted and reproduced in movement and how gendered movement contributes to dismantling and/or reinforcing ideas and norms about gender. The ways we move shape our very senses and the kind of being we become (Carter 2018). The material bodies and social expectations of different people, however, have strong effects on how people move and ‘are supposed to’ move. MacKinnon, for example, argues that: ‘women have learned actual disability, enforced weakness, lack of spirit/body connection in being in motion’ (1987:20). Women’s emancipation and empowerment through sports might be understood as reversing the learned weakness of women (Theberge 1987). On the other hand, these programmes are arguably ways of disciplined leisure (Coleman and Kohn 2007, Rana 2014), in which women embody cultures of recreation, consumption and self-improvement. And while the realm of sports has for long been described as quintessentially masculine (Dunning 1986, Messner 1992) and homophobic, more recent studies notice a shift to alternative masculinities in sports (i.e. Channon and Matthews 2015). In short, gender norms, and their intersections with sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, age and religion might be reinforced or deconstructed through movement (i.e. Samie and Aartie 2017). While people move their bodies in different ways across time, the concept of gender might move along, and vice versa. What is the effect of the change in physical movement on the way we come to understand ‘gender’? Does the increasing participation of women in sports have an effect on gender categories and how these categories are characterized? Does the influence of the queer movement have an effect on what we understand as ‘gender equality’ in sport, dance, physical exercise and moving in general?

LOVA’s annual study day aims to connect people working on sports, dance, physical exercise and other embodied practices and to further discussions on the relationship between movement, embodiment and gender. We invite participants to present work based on both empirical researches on various embodied practices and theoretical reflections on embodiment and gender. This seminar is also open to other presentation formats than papers. Please submit an abstract (max. 250 words) no later than March 3, 2019, to j.rana@fsw.leidenuniv.nl. Selected participants will be notified by March 10, 2019.