(dis-)Belonging bodies: negotiating outsider-ness at academic conferences publication in Gender, Place and Culture Journal

The first publication from the ‘dis-belonging’ bodies project (with Amelia Morris) has recently come out in Gender, Place and Culture journal. It is available to read here. We are very pleased that this work has been published in this journal, whose aims align closely with our own academic research ethics and passions.

The idea from this paper came from ongoing conversations about our experiences at large academic conferences: our anxieties, stresses, and precarity in these spaces and the outsider-ness felt along gender, race, and ‘status’ lines. We hope to continue pursuing this work and consider how large academic conferences may learn from smaller, more radical and dynamic conference spaces.

There are 50 free downloads of the paper available to download.


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.

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