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Arts & Culture

Visiting Fellows' Research Project: 'Female Bodies and Patriarchal Inscriptions across Cultural Contexts'

AHRI Visiting Research Project - Tobe and Maria


The Arts & Humanities Research Institute is hosting and supporting visiting fellows Dr Maria Jaschok and Dr Tobe Levin von Gleichen, on a major research project: ‘Female Bodies and Patriarchal Inscriptions across Cultural Contexts: cross-cultural research on human rights violations, specifically female genital mutilation (FGM), early and child marriage, and other gendered abuses under patriarchy.'  The project explores female-gendered bodies and patriarchal inscriptions / carvings, and has a broad interdisciplinary focus on intersectionality and the political economy of FGM cross-culturally.



The project reflects the intensification of debates around linkages of power, inequities, gender and embodied legacies and the urgency of conducting short and long-term critical research as a means of facilitating change, served by innovative feminist methodologies and multi-media technologies. Framed by a holistic approach to transformative research, the project will bring into close relationship three interactive and mutually beneficial core streams of essential work: research, theory, and application (education and outreach). In their connectedness, each stream of work is “considered to influence and nourish each other.”

Cross-cultural work on Female Bodies and Patriarchal Inscriptions is significant because related forms of gendered abuse are seldom considered together as objects of study. Such an approach entails comparative perspectives, interdisciplinarity, and intersectionality. Feminist methodology and employment of mixed methods, with ethnography of central importance, create the basis for holistic, grounded theorizing within a feminist framework of transformative research that will highlight, among other related practices, FGM. Whilst there is no doubt about the importance of sparing girls from the pain, trauma, and disabilities that follow amputation of female genitalia, in order to end the ritual practice, expertise in the subject is essential. British Government itself – Parliament, the NHS, Department for International Development and other respected bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal Academy of Midwives, as well as, most recently, 10 Downing Street -- is calling for increased action on the issue.



Across October, November & December 2020 the project is ran a series of free webinars exploring a broad spectrum of issues related to historical and cross-cultural violence against women, the ways in which the female body has been subjected to patriarchal inscriptions ranging from fashion-driven body modifications to brutal mutilation.

You can find out more about the webinars that ran here, and you can download the full programme. In addition, you can view recordings of the webinars

Over 600 people engaged in the webinars either directly or indirectly, through viewing recordings of them. And an astonishing 65 speakers contributed.

In terms of next steps, an interactive online meeting will be held to:

  • Identify core issues which arose from webinars and to facilitate further in-depth discussion
  • Bring together the best presentations in an edited volume or special issue of an academic journal
  • Explore ramifications of the webinar series for planning of future more community-based activities (e.g., research projects / community-based educational activities / production of multi-media to serve communication and dissemination of new knowledge)

You can access a brief report about the project in the 'Outputs' tab below. 

Project status: Ongoing

Principal investigators


Tobe Levin Von Gleichen

Visiting Professor


Maria Jaschok

Visiting Professor


  • Funding body: King's College London and Affiliates
  • Amount: £1,500
  • Period: May 2020 - January 2021