Masculinities Research Project
This working group will set the groundwork for a major exhibition of contemporary art in 2015. The research theme is sparked by the broadly perceived “crisis of masculinity” in contemporary culture. Recent arguments claim that the integration of feminist theory in the academy and the erosion of traditional gender roles in the work place and family unit have left men at a disadvantage. As these ideas have gained credence in mainstream media and pop culture, many questions about the nature of masculinity are newly relevant in critical gender studies: what is the relationship between masculinity and power? Is there space for masculinity studies within feminist theory and activism? What are the consequences of normative performance of masculinity on the bodies and psyches of male-identified subjects?
The working group will meet monthly (2014-15) to produce a special program (of lectures, panels, performances, screenings, a symposium, and potentially a publication) that integrates the exhibition theme with research endeavours and student life issues within the UofT and broader community. Ultimately, the goal is to transform the exhibition into a hub for a newly conceived, ‘alternative’ and hybrid co-curricular, extra-curricular and academic semester. Such a ‘semester’ will bring diverse disciplines together to effectively carve out a new interdisciplinary space within which to examine the social, economic, and cultural terrain of ‘masculinity’ to offer (from semiotics to psychology, science to anthropology, and gender/sexual diversity studies to philosophy), as well as reach into the broader public sphere.
Ultimately, the Masculinities Research Project will function on three complementary levels: (1) on the level of research content, it will engage with a controversial issue of widespread public concern, allowing an interdisciplinary group of academics to collaborate and build new strategies for engaging with masculine identity expression; (2) on the level of programming, the project would offer students—at a critical juncture of development and experimentations with identity, sociality, sexuality and modes of intimacy—alternatives to gender normativity; and 3) to capitalize on the role of the university art gallery as a site of interconnecting the university and the wider artistic and public communities of Toronto.
Barbara Fischer, Art; Curator, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and University of Toronto Art Centre
Lance McCready, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Dian Georgis, Women & Gender Studies
Marcel Danesi, Anthropology
Maggie Cummings, UTSC Anthropology
David Townsend, Medieval Studies and English
Elizabeth Legge, Art
John Ricco, UTM Visual Studies
Mariana Bockarova, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Stacy Costa, Anthropology
John Hampton, Curator-in-Residence, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery