(dis-)Belonging bodies: negotiating outsider-ness at academic conferences

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Historically, universities have centred around white-ness and masculinity, meaning that people who do not belong to these groups navigate academic spaces as ‘outsiders’. We position the conference as an important site for understanding the implications of outsider-ness, and the impact of this on early career academics and on the reproduction of exclusionary practices. The conference demands different performances and disciplining of bodies to adhere to academic norms. Conducting interviews with academics within the disciplines of Geography and Politics, this article explores how bodies of white-ness and masculinity are both expected and accepted within an academic setting, whilst for people who are ‘outsiders’, particular along lines of race, gender, and for ECAs, conferences are more difficult to navigate, across ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ spaces. This article concludes by thinking about how conferences can reaffirm or resist the exlcusionary, precarious and uncertain future of the university.




Oliver, C., & Morris, A. (2020). (dis-)Belonging bodies: negotiating outsider-ness at academic conferences. Gender, Place and Culture, 27(6), 765–787. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1609913

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