WAGNET GRADUATE WORKSHOP 2009, BRISTOL, UK  (Jan  21st - 23rd)   

The 2009 WAGNet graduate workshop was held at the University of Bristol, UK, hosted by the School for Policy Studies, and generously supported by a grant from the British Inter-University China Centre (BICC). The workshop brought together students from 5 different countries to discuss their work with leading senior scholars in the fields of gender and East Asian studies. Each of the 11 students had more than an hour to present a paper based on their PhD thesis and receive feedback from at least one of the 7 senior scholar discussants as well as the other participants. Both the generous time allocation and informality of the discussions helped to create a unique environment where students and experts alike shared and developed ideas and reflected not only on the research topics but also on the ‘bigger’ picture of gender studies and women issues in China. Papers came from a variety of disciplines including history, literature, sociology and social policy, all with a gender theme. They included micro-studies of particular phenomena in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (see Workshop Programme for a full list of papers) as well as more general studies. This event was the third graduate workshop WAGNET has held since its formation in 2001 (and fourth in the series). The next one for students in an advanced stage of their PhD research is being planned for two year’s time.

Participants at the Bristol workshop, 2009

Below are some reactions from participants:

Sumei Yi (University of Washington, US)

“This warm and friendly workshop was very inspiring and helpful. I am now revising my dissertation based upon the feedback that I gained. I have also now registered with WAGNet, which I find an open and warm community, and have already begun exchanging emails with other members.”

Mario Liong (Chinese University, Hong Kong)

 "Everyone's enthusiasm was very refreshing. I have few chances to discuss gender with other scholars and the comments and ideas I received from different disciplines have offered me diverse perspectives which can really enrich my research project."

Mary Mazzilli (SOAS, UK)

“ Every piece of feedback and suggestion was not only constructive but respectful of each student’s ability and limitations. There was no competitiveness among the students or between the students and the panelists, who were passionate about their field and seemed to be refreshed by the ‘intense’ debates, away from the day-to-day burden of academic life”

Julia Stone (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany & Academia Sinica)

"This workshop gives an incredibly rare opportunity to receive very detailed and considered input from a wide range of scholars from different disciplines.  Not only were the comments that I received a great help, but the support and encouragement from both the discussants and other participants has been invaluable."

Terri He (University of York, UK)

“This workshop is an absolute rarity, as it enables us to feel our 'specialised' research topic is in the right place. It creates a space where people interested in the intersection of women's/gender studies and Chinese studies can meet and discuss. (We, the participants, know we are not boring others by referring to a faraway place and do not have to generalize as they know the region we are describing). I strongly hope that many more such workshops will be held.”