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Within a broad spectrum of historical and cross-cultural violence against women, the female body is subjected to patriarchal inscriptions which range from fashion-driven body modifications to brutal mutilation – related practices on a continuum of acceptance and repulsion which obscures commonalities and erases distinctions.

A proposal emerging at the Arts & Humanities Research Institute, King’s College London, aims to establish a tripartite programme scrutinising patriarchal inscriptions on female bodies combining study, grounded theorising and application (for uses in education and outreach). Building on extensive scholarship and advocacy in the field of epistemic injustice and embodied gender performances, we will add new areas of interpretation and activism. This, the first in what we hope will be many symposia, links up with our on-going preparations for such a major research programme.

By inviting the wider community of scholars and professionals into the debate surrounding issues over female-bodied texts and socio-political contexts, we pursue a two-fold aim: mapping the body singular and female, and mapping body politics as global and gendered. Only such cartography can facilitate in-depth intersectional and cross-cultural analyses of what we hold to be related interventions which encompass, moreover, highly contested FGM practices. We summon debates that address the urgency created by human rights abuses specifically, but not exclusively, related to FGM, an exigency linked to the broader systemic and normative unravelling of democratic governance at home and elsewhere, affecting all spheres of life.

When, as some intellectuals hold, the era of democracy and democratic accountability may be waning, what are the implications for associated regimes that shape identities? Will entitlements to rights and resources alter? How will an anticipated challenge to democratic body politics weaken the protocols, legislation, and policies serving to protect ever-intensifying gender-based precarities?

Faced with a coronavirus pandemic, volatile global political environment and intensifying migration crises that exacerbate abuses of human and children’s rights, we summon critical questions and insights from diverse disciplines and methodologies to enlighten complex linkages among emergence of newly masculinised ideologies, populist politics and prospects for creating and protecting context-sensitive human/women’s rights-based cultures of bodily integrity.

All upcoming events part of 'Patriarchal Inscription' are displayed below, please download the full programme to learn more. Each webinar has been recorded, and the complete playlist can be accessed online.

For more information about the project, please visit the project website