The ‘Disciplinarity and Gender and Sexuality Studies’ Deakin GSS HDR Masterclass was held on 7 December 2018.

A masterclass by Daniel Marshall

On 2 March we launched the ‘First Fridays’ Deakin GSS HDR Masterclass series with a critical reflection on questions of ‘mastery’ and ‘discipline’:

  1. What is a masterclass?
  2. What do histories of Gender and Sexuality Studies teach us about efforts to ‘master’ knowledge about sex, gender and sexuality?
  3. Universities have historically organised efforts at knowledge mastery into a range of different discipline areas. What implications does this have for HDR work in GSS?

In that workshop we recalled Halberstam’s reflections on queer studies and disciplinarity, which are suggestive of some relevant issues for gender and sexuality studies understood broadly:

Queer studies, because it is without a disciplinary home, offers a potent critique of disciplinarity itself. In a chapter in Discipline & Punish(1979) titled “The Means of Correct Training,” Foucault tells us that “discipline ‘makes’ individuals” and he goes on to describe the institutional structures which train “moving, confused, useless multitudes of bodies and forces into a multiplicity of individual elements” (p. 170). The disciplines themselves obviously emerge out of the reorganization of power and knowledge that molded the modern university in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Given what we know about disciplinary power and the way it works on behalf of liberal regimes and given the enormous shifts in both knowledge base and cultural forms in the last one hundred years, I think we are justified in asking today: why hold on to the disciplines in the forms that they now exist? (Halberstam 2003).

This month, in the final Masterclass for the year, we return to these questions. This workshop will be an excellent opportunity for Deakin HDR students to reflect on the role of disciplinarity in their work while also discussing future plans for the masterclass series. It will also be an invaluable opportunity for students to get together to discuss their work in a collegial and friendly environment and to meet other students and staff working in related areas.


Halberstam, J (2003). Reflections on Queer Studies and Queer Pedagogy, Journal of Homosexuality, 45:2-4, 361-364, DOI: 10.1300/J082v45n02_22

For more information about the ‘First Fridays’ Deakin Gender and Sexuality Studies HDR Masterclass and Seminar series




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