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Bergen Summer Research School

KEYNOTE | BSRS 2019

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?

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

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 human–animal relationships, political ecology, science and technology in policy formation, and environmental diplomacy.

Her forthcoming book Marine Conservation in Times of Extinction: The Life and Death of Giant Tuna (University of Minnesota Press) exposes how supranational institutions mandated by treaty to conserve creatures on the high seas have become central to their extermination.

This keynote addess is free and open to the public.