Methodological approaches to gender and heteronormativity in sources

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Adrien Bresson/Noémie Cadeau/Blandine Demotz/Jonathan Raffin

The conference will take place between April 15th  and April 19th 2024 (precise date to be announced) at Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne (France)


In the wake of the first two conferences aimed at young scholars that took place in 2022 on “Sources and gender: readings, re-readings and misreadings” and in 2023 on “Gender and heteronormativity in sources: embodying and transgressing the heterosexual injunctions”, this third conference will focus on the methodological approaches to gender studies through the lens of the concept of heteronormativity. Such a concept appears to be an indispensable tool to the analysis of the foundations of the existing binarity between the masculine and the feminine and, in that regard, it contributes to the development of a critical framework that creates the possibility for researchers to study human connections in relation to gender and sexuality in their sources. The concept of heteronormativity, understood as a critical tool coming from gender studies, thus proves to be useful in the re-evaluation of a vision of gender identities and sexualities that is both dualist and determinist. Such a re-evaluation, in turn, questions an essentialist understanding of the sexual division. This conference therefore aims at questioning how the concept of heteronormativity impacts the sources that the researchers work on, whether they be written sources (manuscripts, literary or legal texts…), iconographic sources (photos, statues, paintings…) or immaterial sources (ethnographic data). The aim of such a conference is to welcome analyses based on the study of as many different sources as possible, which will enable researchers to construct an interdisciplinary overview of these sources that aims at being diverse rather than exhaustive and that would bring to light the intersectional dynamics that determine the encounters between sexual and gender minorities

This conference will focus on two main aspects:

  1. A state of play of the current research on heteronormativity as a methodological tool: since gender studies were institutionalized by French academics in the 2000s, how have gender and heteronormativity as critical tools influenced research objects? What new objects have emerged or re-emerged?
  2. An analysis of the methods that have made this emergence possible: where – geographically and disciplinarily speaking – do the methods that take heteronormativity into account come from? How do transdisciplinary approaches (especially those coming from social sciences) fit into gender studies? Do methodological considerations vary depending on the sources at stake? How do these methodological differences come to light?

Propositions can include (but are not limited to):

  • A theoretical reflection on the epistemological stakes of studying the concept of heteronormativity in social sciences, on its pros and cons in the analysis of sources, on how convergent or divergent it can be with other areas of gender studies.
  • A questioning of the methodological toolsneeded to comprehend heteronormativity in sources, depending on the nature of the sources and on the field of research they belong to, in an interdisciplinary approach.
  • A comparison between the different critical approaches to heteronormativity, in order to account for the diversity, the discrepancies or the differences between methods and methodologies in various geographical areas.
  • A reevaluation of the concept of heteronormativity according to its political and theoretical frameworks, in order to avoid any anachronistic analysis as well as to question the epistemological integration of such a concept.
  • A recension on a recent scientific publication renewing the methodological approach to heteronormativity. Such a proposal should be part of a general bibliographic reflection, putting forth how the concept has evolved in the different scientific fields.

Candidates should :

  • Hold a master’s degree (M2 equivalent) or be in the process of earning it, or be a PhD candidate: this conference aims at creating a space for young scholars to discuss their research.
  • Send a short abstract (300-400 words), focusing either on the aspects aforementioned or on a recently published scientific work dealing with the same aspects.
  • Send a short biography mentioning the name of their university and their research unit, their level of study, their research object as well as anything they would have published.
  • Write their proposition in English or in French.

Participants wishing to apply to communicate in pairs are welcome, especially if their communication includes an interdisciplinary or international perspective.

Propositions should be sent no later than December 1st 2023 to

All propositions will be answered by December 15th, 2023.

Papers from the conference will be considered for publication before the end of 2025.