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November 28th, 2013 at 8pm


Nora Ruck


The psychology of gender in society


I have chosen a very broad title for my talk because I am slowly making my way into a new research project that will probably examine the relations between feminist psychologists and the public and the ways in which feminists navigate the tightrope between the neoliberal demands of accounting to various social actors within and outside of the academia and the feminist commitment to the voices of the marginalized and/or oppressed. In my presentation I will make my way into the questions that keep me busy at the moment by first talking about where I come from. I will summarize my PhD thesis, a feminist critique of evolutionary theories of sex differences, and elaborate on the bigger themes and questions that have stayed with me since then. For example, in my dissertation I was careful to contextualize evolutionary psychology within its social conditions and to explicate the relation between psychology and the social. In this particular case I needed a notion of ideology in order to understand how science may legitimate and stabilize social inequalities. In exploring feminist psychologies rather than theories of biological sex differences I now want to direct my attention rather to the ways in which psychology can or tries to be disruptive of social inequalities and I want to explore the many and often ambivalent ties between feminist psychology and current social relations.


Nora Ruck is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Psychology at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna and at the History and Theory of Psychology Program at York University and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Feminist Research and the Institute for Science and Technology Studies at York University. As a psychologist (PhD from the University of Vienna in 2012) with additional training in cultural studies and feminist science studies, her research focuses on the relations between psychology and society. She is especially interested in the ways in which psychology can serve to either reproduce or disrupt existing social inequalities. In addition to her academic interests she is training to be a psychotherapist and volunteering at “Hemayat – Support Center for Survivors of Torture and War” in Vienna.


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