13 August 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Charl Devenish
Biennial lecture
Front, from the left; Prof Heidi Hudson, Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities, and Prof Jack Halberstam. Back, from the left; Dr Stephanie Cawood, Director of CGAS; Prof Puleng LenkaBula and Dr Nadine Lake; Gender Studies Programme Director.

It was an unconventional gender studies lecture where we had to imagine a changed world in which “we should rethink gender, sexuality and the body and how we must get rid of the world in which gendered and sexual embodiment operates in the way it does”. This is how Prof Jack Halberstam introduced his lecture with the topic Exit Routes: After Gender, After Feminism.

“Contrary to a whole tradition in queer studies of world-making, my project is about world unmaking, un-building and undoing.” Prof Halberstam said at the Biennial Humanities and Gendered Worlds lecture which was hosted by the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) on 7 August 2019. 

 “The title of the talk, exits routes, is a reference to the fact that I am going to argue that we literally have to imagine the end of the world we currently live in,” he said. One could engage in the speculation of a utopian world. We are far beyond this point of capitalism and right-wing populism, environmental decline. We cannot talk about utopianism until we get rid of this world.” 

Prof Halberstam is a leading scholar in gender studies 

Prof Halberstam is a professor of Gender and English at Columbia University in the US. “Prof Halberstam is known on the questions of gender and queer theory but also what it means to pursue the dignity in the diversity of humanity,” said Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change. Student Affairs and Community Engagement. 
“We must understand the role of the Humanities in understanding, analysing and bringing about theories that enable the interrelationship with the cosmos, other humanity, and the idea that we must always be at the centre in the defining the systems.” 

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