Report on workshop “Critical Views on Stereotypes: An Interdisciplinary Conversation”


On Wednesday February 24, 2021, the workshop “Critical Views on Stereotypes: An Interdisciplinary Conversation” took place. The workshop, organized by Gender and Diversity Hub members Dr. Kathrin Thiele, Dr. Lorena Sosa and Dr. Alexandra Timmer, derived from the idea that in order to make progress in thinking about stereotyping, interdisciplinary conversation and exchange is needed.

Discussions on stereotyping

The workshop engaged in queer, anti-racist, decolonial and anti-hegemonic discussions on (gender) stereotypes and stereotyping and existed out of three panels in which academics and non-academics presented their work on stereotyping from different perspectives. Together, the workshop engaged with interdisciplinary and intersectional views to problematize the current and predominant approaches to the issue of stereotyping.

Understanding stereotypes across disciplines

The first session, “Understanding stereotypes across disciplines”, brought a multi-perspectival and cross-disciplinary discussion and interventions that critically addressed stereotypes and stereotyping. The first speaker of the panel, Ochy Curiel (Gender Studies, Universidad Nacional de Colombia), engaged with the disruption and the quest for decolonizing gender and diversity issues. Following, Sophie Withaeckx (Philosophy, Maastricht University) spoke of Homi Bhabha’s definition of “stereotyping as colonial discourse” and how this theory can help us to critically reflect on discourses of diversity in higher education. Finally, Lourdes Peroni (Human Rights, Sheffield Hallam University), engaged with the issue of how gender stereotypes affect women’s political rights in the context of the Paraguayan parliament. You can replay the session above. Please note that the presentation by Ochy Curiel is in Spanish.

Stereotyping of bodies

The second session explored the representations and stereotyping of bodies in relation to aspects such as sexualities, race, abilities and aesthetics, and inquired collectively into their socio-political consequences. Yofi Tirosh (Law, Tel Aviv University/Sapir Academic School of Law) shared some insights that emerged when juxtaposing two of her research areas: first, the issue of bodily weight as the subject of bias, objection and moral panic. Second, the rapidly expanding phenomena of women’s exclusion in Israel in which women are either not allowed to participate or are segregated from men in public spaces and activities. The second speaker of the session, Yousra Benfquih (Hannah Arendt Institute), spoke about the stubborn stereotypes of the Islamic headscarf from a postcolonial perspective. You can replay the session above.