Bergen Summer Research School


Does Diplomacy Have a Gender?

Might there be alternative modes of diplomatic engagement beyond the masculinist, techno-scientific “solutions” to the planetary crisis currently on offer?

Ilyass SEDDOUG on Unsplash

In this #MeToo moment, when the world has woken up to and acknowledged the magnitude and scale of sexual violence across industries and geographies, from entertainment to finance, from Chile to China, gendered inequities in the fields of politics and government surely deserve another look.

No longer can discrimination fly below the radar and remain an open secret. What might attention to gender teach us about the way diplomacy operates today?

This keynote considers gender as a category of understanding not to narrowly illuminate individual predicaments but to bring to the fore and trouble the more systemic nature of crises—including those environmental—rooted in unequal power dynamics. It is based on the speaker’s ethnographic research conducted at the United Nations and in treaty bodies, diplomatic missions and other sites scaled supranationally.   

Jennifer E. Telesca is Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. Her research takes a critical approach to ocean studies, spanning the interests of the human–animal relationship, political ecology, science and technology in policy formation, and environmental diplomacy.

Her current book-in-progress exposes how supranational institutions mandated, by treaty, to conserve creatures on the high seas have become central to their extermination. The book’s working title is Marine Conservation in Times of Extinction: The Life and Death of Giant Tuna (Forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press).

This keynote addess is free and open to the public.