8-10 may 2014, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
In 2010, the conference NeuroGenderings: Critical Studies of the Sexed Brain was held in Uppsala (Sweden). It brought together experts from different disciplines to identify theoretical and methodological strategies for social scientists, cultural scientists and neuroscientists to engage with radical, intersectional feminist and queer studies of the brain. Two years later, NeuroCultures — NeuroGenderings II was organized in 2012 in Vienna in order to continue the critical engagement with neuroscience and particularly to address processes of gendering in today’s rapidly emerging “neurocultures.”
Behind these international and transdisciplinary meetings lies NeuroGenderings (NG), a network which aims to elaborate innovative theoretical and empirical approaches for questions of sex/gender and sexuality for neuroscientists; to analyze the social and political underpinnings of the ongoing “cerebralization” of human life and especially of sex/gender, and to discuss the impacts of neuroscientific sex/gender research in sociopolitical and cultural fields. Some of these approaches can already be found in  and .
In cooperation with the network NeuroGenderings, the Laboratory of Sociology (LabSo) and the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lausanne will host a three-day conference entitled “NeuroGenderings III – The 1st international Dissensus Conference on brain and gender,” 8-10 May 2014. We encourage submissions from scholars and students from all domains in the humanities, in the social, biological and medical sciences, including clinical practice, to discuss current developments — and alternatives to the existing research trends, models and practices— in the areas of brain, sex/gender and sexuality.
Concept: Cynthia Kraus (University of Lausanne) and Anelis Kaiser (University of Bern)
Organization: Cynthia Kraus (UNIL), Anelis Kaiser (UNIBE), Christel Gumy (UNIL), Alba Brizzi (UNIL)
Scientific Committee: Isabelle Dussauge (University of Uppsala, Sweden), Cordelia Fine (University of Melbourne, Australia), Hannah Fitsch (TU Berlin, Germany), Rebecca Jordan-Young (Barnard College, U.S.A.), Anelis Kaiser (UNIBE), Cynthia Kraus (UNIL), Emily Ngubia Kuria (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany), Katrin Nikoleyczik (Bonn, Germany), Deboleena Roy (Emory University, U.S.A.), Raffaella Rumiati (SISSA Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, Italy), Sigrid Schmitz (University of Vienna, Austria), Catherine Vidal (Pasteur Institute Paris, France)
Our special thanks go to the following collaborators at the University of Lausanne:
Christel Gumy for all her excellent work for many important aspects of the conference organization, from suggestions for the program to webmastering the event, and much more; Alba Brizzi for accommodation, travel, food and beverage arrangements, and other logistics advice; Fiona Friedli for her much appreciated logistics help from October to December 2013; Michael Posse for the wonderful conference poster; and Sarah Schlatter who helped us launch the conference website in August 2013, when most people were on holidays.
We extend our special thanks to Prof. Franciska Krings, Vice-Rector of the University of Lausanne, who kindly accepted to join us and open the conference.
We would also like to thank the NeuroGenderings core group who acted as members of the scientific committee for the conference program and the papers selection; our four distinguished keynote speakers; the conference chairs; and, of course, the participants to the sessions and roundtables.
Finally, we thank our academic partners and sponsors for their generous support: the Sociology Laboratory (LabSo), the Institute of Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lausanne; the Interface Science-Societé of the University of Lausanne; the University Institute of the History of Medicine and Public Health of the University of Lausanne and University Hospitals CHUV; the Department of Psychology of the University of Bern; and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Program PDF (213 Ko)
Book of Abstracts PDF (382 Ko)
Bionotes PDF (531 Ko)
The idea and interest of organizing dissensus (rather than consensus) conferences were initially suggested  with two main objectives in mind. The first was to advance “dissensus studies” exacerbating through critical analysis the conflicting dimensions of social life, especially in relation to (neuro-)science, medicine, gender and society, thereby extending the STS tradition of controversy studies [e.g., 9]. From a dissensus perspective, controversies and conflicts are considered not as obstacles to be overcome before we can have a “proper conversation,” and build collaborations or bridges between science, medicine and society. Rather, they are conceived of as ordinary, even desirable, phenomena in the practices of “good science,” of alliance formation, and of democracy. The second objective was then to explore how a dissensus framework could be operationalized to do more robust empirical research, improve healthcare practices, and “bring the sciences into democracy” [see 19].
The third edition of the NeuroGenderings conference series inaugurates the first international “Dissensus Conference.” Like earlier NG meetings, this three-day event will focus on the dynamic and multidimensional relations between brain, sex/gender, sexuality, and society. It aims to foster productive exchanges by inviting all participants to make explicit the different, and sometimes diverging, perspectives from which we problematize and study these relations, their implications for the concerned persons, and the broader sociopolitical stakes involved in our respective studies. We would like to bring the participants to reflect critically on the ways in which we do, or should do, brain research, feminist and queer theory, as well as brain sciences studies to make them relevant for political minorities and society at large.
We are particularly interested in concrete discussions that clarify how we produce knowledge, blind spots and ignorance; the potentials and limits of our own inquiries compared to other concerns, perspectives and research areas; articulate alternative models for research on a multimorphic rather than a dimorphic male or female brain; make explicit the kind of (im-)proper objects, subjects, agency, (im-)possibilities for (self-)transformation, and social order that we presume and produce through our knowledge practices; contextualize these practices in light of broader sociopolitical stakes, controversies, conflicts, social movements, health and public policies to name just a few. Such a collective endeavor is meant to open up the possibility of formulating constructive critiques of the often problematic “neurosexist” assumptions  that underwrite brain science and politics, while at the same time inspiring new ways of collaborating and of doing empirical neuroscience — towards a feminist/queer neuroscience .
Contributions to these discussions are welcome in the following THEMATIC STRANDS:
Contributions to this conference can be submitted for oral presentation (20 min. paper) or for a poster presentation. Abstracts for papers/posters should not exceed 3000 characters (including spaces).
 Bluhm, R., A. Jacobsen & H. Maibom, Eds. 2012. Neurofeminism: Issues at the Intersection of Feminist Theory and Cognitive Science
(New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
 Dussauge, I. & A. Kaiser, Guest Eds, 2012a. Special issue entitled “Neuroscience and Sex/Gender.” Neuroethics 5(3).
 Dussauge, I. & A. Kaiser. 2012b. Re-Queering the Brain. In : 121-144.
 Einstein, G. 2012. Situated Neuroscience: Exploring Biologies of Diversity. In : 145-174.
 Fausto-Sterling, A. 2012. Sex/gender. Biology in a social world. NY & London: Routledge.
 Fine, C. 2008 . A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives. New York: W. W. Norton.
 Fine, C. 2010. Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. New York: W. W. Norton.
 Fitsch, H. 2012. (A)e(s)th(et)ics of Brain Imaging. Visibilities and Sayabilities in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Neuroethics 5(3): 275-283.
 Jasanoff, S., G. E. Markle, J. C. Peterson & T. Pinch, Eds. 2008. Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
 Joel, D. 2011. Male or female? Brains are intersex. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 5 (article 57).
 Joel, D. 2012. Genetic-gonadal-genitals sex (3G-sex) and the misconception of brain and gender, or, why 3G-males and 3G-females have intersex brain and intersex gender. Biology of Sex Differences 3(27) : 6 pages.
 Jordan-Young, R. 2010. Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
 Jordan-Young, R., & R. Rumiati. 2012. Hardwired for Sexism? Approaches to Sex/Gender in Neuroscience. Neuroethics 5(3): 305-315.
 Kaiser, A. 2012. Re-conceptualizing Sex and Gender in the Human Brain. Journal of Psychology 220(2): 130-136.
 Kaiser, A., Haller, S., Schmitz, S. & Nitsch, C. 2009. On Sex/Gender Related Similarities and Differences in fMRI Language Research. Brain Research Reviews 61: 49-59.
 Kraus, C. 2012a. Critical studies of the sexed brain: a critique of what and for whom? Neuroethics 5(3): 247-259.
 Kraus, C. 2012b. Linking Neuroscience, Medicine, Gender and Society through Controversy and Conflict Analysis: A “Dissensus Framework” for Feminist/Queer Brain Science Studies. In : 193-215.
 Kuria, E. N., & V. Hess. 2011. Rethinking gender politics in laboratories and neuroscience research : the case of spatial abilities in math performance. Medicine studies 3(2) : 117-123.
 Latour, B. 2004. Politics of nature. How to bring the sciences into democracy. English transl. C. Porter. Harvard: Harvard Univ. Press.
 Nikoleyczik, K. 2012. Towards Diffractive Transdisciplinarity: Integrating Gender Knowledge into the Practice of Neuroscientific Research. Neuroethics, 5(3): 231-245
 Rippon, G. 2010. Sexing the brain: How Neurononsense joined Psychobabble to ‘Keep Women in Their Place’. Lecture presented at British Science Festival, Sept. 2010. Press release (pdf attached). Accessed 29 July 2013.
 Roy, D. 2012a. Neuroethics, Gender and the Response to Difference. Neuroethics, 5(3): 217-230.
 Roy, D. 2012b. Cosmopolitics and the Brain: The Co-Becoming of Practices in Feminism and Neuroscience. In : 175-192.
 Schmitz, S. 2010. Sex, Gender, and the Brain: Biological Determinism Versus Socio-Cultural Constructivism. In I. Klinge & C. Wiesmann (eds.), Sex and Gender in Biomedicine. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, pp. 57–76.
 Schmitz, S. & G. Höppner. Forthcoming 2014. NeuroCultures – NeuroGenderings. Vienna: Zaglossus e. U. /Coll. Challenge GENDER – Contemporary challenges of within Gender Theory (ed. Referat Genderforschung, University of Vienna).
 Doing Neuroscience, Doing Feminism: Interview with Dr. Sari van Anders, http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2012/11/doingneuroscience-doing-feminism.html. Accessed 29 July 2013.
 Vidal, C. 2012. The sexed brain: between science and ideology. Neuroethics 5(3):295-303.
Call for papers (167 Ko)
Dr Cynthia Kraus, Senior lecturer at the Institute of social sciences of the University of Lausanne. Opening words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.
Prof. Franciska Krings, Vice-Rector of the University of Lausanne. Welcome words to NeuroGenderings III: the first international Dissensus Conference, 8 May 2014, University of Lausanne.
When Does a Difference Make a Difference? Examples from Situated Neuroscience
Thursday 8 May 2014, 15h30-16h30, Aula – IDEHAP
Gillian Einstein, PhD, received her AB in Art History from Harvard University and her PhD in Neuroanatomy from the University of Pennsylvania. After doing research in vision as well as Alzheimer disease at Duke University, and science administration at the National Institutes of Health, she immigrated to Canada where she is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto. She heads the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Women’s Health where she researches the effects of estrogens and culture on women’s biologies. She has edited and annotated a book for MIT Press on foundational papers in Hormones and Behaviour, “Sex and the Brain.” She is also the founder and current director of the University of Toronto’s Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health, founding member and 2014 Program Chair of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Gender and Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Until July 1, 2013 she is Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Gender Medicine at Linköping University, Sweden.
How Your Generic Baby Acquires Gender
Thursday 8 May 2014, 18h00-19h00, Aula – IDEHAP
Anne Fausto-Sterling is the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University. She has achieved recognition for works that challenge entrenched scientific beliefs while engaging with the general public. She is the author of three acclaimed books that are referenced widely in feminist and scientific inquiry, as well as scientific publications in developmental genetics and developmental biology: Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men (Basic Books, 1985, 1992), Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (Basic Books, 2000), Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World (Routledge, 2012). Dr. Fausto-Sterling is currently focused on applying dynamic systems theory to the study of human development. Her ambition is to restructure dichotomous conversations — inside the academy, in public discourse, and ultimately in the framing of social policy — in order to enable an understanding of the inseparability of nature/nurture. She asserts that Dynamic Systems Theory permits us to understand how cultural difference becomes bodily difference. Fausto-Sterling’s current case studies in this area examines the emergence of gender differences in behavior in early childhood.
Sex as Chimera: Tools for (Un)Thinking Difference
Thursday 8 May 2014, 14h30-15h30, Aula – IDEHAP
Rebecca Jordan-Young is the Tow Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College and Director of the Science and Social Difference Working Group at Columbia University. She is the author of Brain Storm: The flaws in the science of sex differences (Harvard, 2010), and many articles and book chapters at the intersection of science and social differences, especially gender, sexuality, and race. She is currently a KNAW Visiting Professor at Radboud University, The Netherlands and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Cognitive Neurosciences Division of the School for International Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy (2008).
Functional Neuroimaging (FNI) and Sex/Gender Research : of Differences, Dichotomies and Entanglement
Thursday 8 May 2014, 17h00-18h00, Aula – IDEHAP
Gina Rippon is Professor of Cognitive NeuroImaging in the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University. Birmingham UK. She graduated from Bedford College (University of London) with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology, London, and subsequently gained a PhD in Psychophysiology from Birkbeck College (University of London). She has a background in psychology and neurophysiology and uses brain imaging techniques such as Magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the relationship between patterns of brain activation and human sensory, cognitive and affective processes. Her work has also focussed on ways of generating neurocognitive profiles, investigating the relationship between cortical activity patterns and cognitive and behavioural abilities (or disabilities) of individuals. Most recently her work has been in the field of developmental disorders such as dyslexia and autism. She is also involved in activities around the public communication of science, particularly in challenging the misuse of neuroscience to support gender stereotypes, and in work to correct the under-representation of women in STEM subjects, for example as a member of Speakers for Schools and WISE.
“Le sexe des sciences”, Actualités de l’Université de Lausanne, 29 April 2014.
“Le sexe du cerveau ne fait pas consensus“, Le Temps, 6 May 2014.
“Sait-on seulement étudier les différences ?”, Le Courrier, 8 May 2014.
“NeuroGenderings III: So Many Women Saying Smart Things in a Conference Room”, The Semipermeable Membrane, 24 June 2014.