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  1. Arts and Social Sciences
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  3. Gender and Sexualities
About City

The Gender and Sexualities Research Centre

Welcome to the Gender and Sexualities Research Centre


Based in the school of Arts and Social Sciences, the GSRC analyses how gender and sexuality intersect with other social divisions and identities in a rapidly changing world, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue, collaboration and research.

The GSRC is premised upon ideals of knowledge exchange, partnership and inclusion. It acts a hub, drawing together the wide-ranging research existing across the university on gender and sexualities, providing an intellectual base and fostering interdisciplinary dialogue, collaboration and research within City and beyond.

The Centre is critical, inclusive and outward-looking, offering a space for engagement with key contemporary issues. These range from current news headlines (#MeToo, the gender pay gap, LGBTQI rights) to enduring questions about the dynamics of power and in/equality.

Follow us on Twitter @GSRC_City

Sign up to our mailing list at gsrc@city.ac.uk

For more details about the centre, please visit our GSRC pages on the research centre microsite.


GSRC Directors

Management Committee

Advisory Committee


The group is open to new members for anyone with interest in the study of gender and sexualities.

Members of the centre are drawn from across the university and include the following staff and PhD students:


PhD Students


The GSRC (including its earlier incarnation as the GSRF, the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum) has put on a wide range of public talks, seminars, graduate workshops and conferences on subjects including gender and social media, feminism and childcare, feminism and neoliberalism, digital masculinities and care and inequality.

We have hosted speakers from a wide range of international universities and public organisations such as The Daycare Trust, The Women’s Budget Group and Rights of Women, and have collaborated with many external partners including the BSA, the FWSA and the Women’s Media Studies Network, as well as teachers and students at local schools.

If you have an idea for potential collaboration please get in touch with us at gsrc@city.ac.uk

Events in 2019

4 October 4-6:30pm: Research symposium on Sex Robots

Technological advancements in robotics have fundamentally changed the way we shop, drive cars and undergo surgery but what happens when robots enter our bedrooms – as intimate partners? The launch of the world’s first commercially available sex robot ‘Harmony’ – a hyperrealistic sex doll with AI-capabilities – has inspired popular, scholarly and media debate about the impact of technology on our interpersonal relationships.

Some of that debate is avowedly ‘speculative’ (Danaher and McArthur 2017: 4) because the technology is new, the sex robot market niche and, because most of us have never even seen a sex robot much less had sex with one, we rely on science fiction tropes generated in film and TV shows (Sharkey, Wynsberghe, Robbins and Hancock, 2017: 2).

So, does the rise of the sex machine herald a ‘Brave Nude World’ of human sexual experience as one news headline claimed, or will these glamorous cyborgs destroy human relationships altogether? What are the legal and ethical implications of robotic sexual companions?

Join Dr Kate Devlin (author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots),), Dr Rebecca Saunders (author of Bodies of Work: The Labour of Sex in the Digital Age) and Dr Belinda Middleweek (author of Real Sex Films: The New Intimacy and Risk in Cinema) for a discussion about the impact of sex robots on our most intimate sphere – the realm of sex, love and intimacy.

16 October, 1:30 - 6:30pm: Feminist dilemmas, feminist hope? 30 years of the Feminist and Women Studies Association and launch of the GSRC at City, University of London.

Speakers include:

  • Heidi Safia Mirza,
  • Jo Grady,
  • Francesca Sobande,
  • Lynne Segal,
  • Sylvia Walby,
  • Lola Olufemi,
  • Rosalind Gill,
  • Jess Butler,
  • the Res-Sisters,
  • Rights of Women and,
  • the Women’s Budget Group.

Location: Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, followed by drinks reception.

Read the GSRC joint statement with the Feminist and Women's Studies Association (FWSA) on the event

13th November 1-2pm, C307 - GSRC Research-in-progress seminar

An informal research-in-progress seminar. Prof Rosalind Gill (Sociology) and Dr Koen Slootmaeckers (Politics) will both be discussing their current research:

  • Ros will talk about her work on the psychic life of neoliberalism focussing on the promotion of confidence, resilience and positive mental attitude looking at adverts, apps and wider policies.
  • Koen will talk about his work on how sexuality is used to construct and maintain symbolic boundaries and hierarchies in international politics.

Rosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City. Her books include Gender and the Media (Polity) and Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture with Meg-John Barker and Laura Harvey (Wiley).

Koen Slootmaeckers is Lecturer in International Politics at City and co-editor of EU Enlargement and Gay Politics (Palgrave).

25 November, 6-8pm, ELG01 #MeToo: Past and Present

Our panel will discuss #MeToo in long historical perspective, from Mata Hari to contemporary media.

Karen Boyle: On silence breaking

In December 2017, Time magazine named the “Silence Breakers” – the women, and some men, speaking out about sexual harassment – their “person” of the year. This paper re-considers mediatized silence breaking in relation to a longer history of feminist speak outs, and critically examines the way in which feminism (and feminists) featured both in the 2017 stories and in Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s subsequent account of breaking the Weinstein story in She Said.

Julie Wheelwright, From Mata Hari to #MeToo: Reflections on Seduction, Harassment and Sexual Shame

A few months before the New York Times broke the story about Harvey Weinstein paying off his accusers for decades in 2017, a new publication of Mata Hari’s letters provided a historic perspective on the sexual harassment of female performers. Coinciding with the centenary of Margaretha Zelle MacLeod’s execution on espionage charges by the French on 15 October 1917, this presentation explores the contemporary relevance of her rejection of victimhood and sexual shame.

About the speakers

Karen Boyle is Professor of Feminist Media Studies at the University of Strathclyde. She is author of Media and Violence: Gendering the Debates (Sage) and Everyday Pornography (Routledge). Her new book #MeToo, Weinstein and Feminism is out soon with Palgrave.

Julie Wheelwright is Director of the Creative Writing MA at City and author of The Fatal Lover: Mata Hari and the Myth of Women in Espionage (Harper Collins) and Amazons and Military Maids: Women Who Dressed as Men in Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness (Pandora).

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor and Head of the Dept of Media and Communications at LSE. Her most recent book is Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny (Duke) and the article ‘From Pick-Up Artists to Incels: Con(fidence) Games, Networked Misogyny and the Failure of Neoliberalism’ with Jack Bratich

Jack Bratich is Associate Professor of Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers. His work on social media and social theory includes the book Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture (SUNY).

22 November, 2pm-6.30pm, AG09,  New Research in Gender and Music

A joint symposium presented by the Centre for Gender and Sexualities Research and the Music Department at City

Session 1: 2.15pm-3.40pm. Gender and music research at City. Chair: Professor Laudan Nooshin

  • Gabrielle Messeder, Performing samba in Beirut: citizenship, precarity and the Lebanese state
  • Kathryn Levell, The Serious Need for All-Female Bands: A Comparative Study of Female Musicians' Experiences in London Jazz venues and Corporate Settings
  • Tanja Goldberg, Pioneer Violin Virtuose: Transcending Limitations

Session 2: 4-5.30pm. Book launch: ‘Class, control, and classical music’ – Anna Bull (Oxford University Press, 2019) Followed by wine reception

This book draws on an ethnographic study of young people playing in classical music ensembles in the south of England to explore class and gender identities and inequalities.


  • Dr Anna Bull (University of Portsmouth),
  • Professor Geoff Baker (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Dr Christina Scharff (King’s College London)
  • Francesca Christmas (Trinity College London)
  • Dr Anamik Saha (Goldsmiths, University of London),

Chair: Professor Anahid Kassabian

5 December, 6-8pm, C309 Book launch: Work that Body: Male Bodies in Digital Culture, Jamie Hakim (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019)

A joint event with UEA School of Art, Media and American Studies.

Work That Body explores how the male body has been represented by, constructed in, and experienced through digital media during the age of austerity. Analysing examples including muscular bodies on social media, the mediation of chemsex and celebrity nudity, it finds that on the one hand digital media has enabled men to transform their bodies into tools of value-creation in an economic context when their traditional breadwinning capacities have been diminished. On the other, it has allowed them to use their bodies to form intimate collective bonds during a moment when competitive individualism continues to be insisted on as the privileged mode of being in the world.

Join the author Jamie Hakim and respondents Helen Wood (Lancaster), Stephen Maddison (Brighton) and Catherine Rottenberg (Nottingham) as they discuss masculinity and digital media in the age of austerity.

  • Dr Jamie Hakim worked at Attitude magazine from 2003 before becoming an academic, and is now Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is Principal Investigator of the ESRC-funded project 'Digital Intimacies: how gay and bisexual men use their smartphones to negotiate their cultures of intimacy' which is partnered with the Terrance Higgins Trust.
  • Stephen Maddison is Professor and Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton and the author of Fags, Hags and Queer Sisters: Gender Dissent and Heterosocial Bonds in Gay Culture (Macmillan).
  • Catherine Rottenberg is Associate Professor in American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her book The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism was published by Oxford University Press in 2018.
  • Helen Wood is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Lancaster University. Her work on gender, class and inequality includes the book Talking with Television (Illinois) and the recent article ‘The Malaguf Girl: a public sex scandal and the digital class relations of social contagion’.

News, events and recent research