Dean's Masterclass: feminism in research

Date: Monday 17 May 14.00 - 17.00 hrs*

The Dean’s Masterclass has been a regular event in the Graduate School and is meant to pay attention to the wider academic development of PhD candidates.

In the yearly survey of the PhD council of the graduate school there was an interesting request to pay more attention to feminist research methodologies. A first question, of course, is what we consider as feminist methodology? The approach came up in the late 1970ies of the last century, in concert with the women’s movement, to indicate that standard scientific methodologies overlooked questions relevant to women, and their particular types of knowledge and experience.  A well-known example is the way in which basic medical knowledge about heart attacks is based on men, and – as a result – overlooks the different symptoms that women display. In the social sciences and humanities feminist methodology is closely connected to the desire to realise positive social impact for women through research.

Liesbet van Zoonen, the dean of the school, witnessed the emergence of feminist methodologies as a young scholar, and she has written extensively about it. She will organise the masterclass in a participatory form, making it possible for all participants to collaborate and exchange their understandings and views.

The masterclass covers two areas:

First, we will cover the intellectual trajectory of feminist methodology from the seminal paper by Maria Mies in 1977 about methods in women’s studies to standpoint theory, to the current understanding of intersectionality as (also) an empirical question and to the diversification of feminist methodologies to specific disciplines.

Mies, M. (1979/1993). Towards a methodology for feminist research. Social research: Philosophy, politics and practice, 64-82.

Second, using the Socratic Method of conversation, we will together build a critical understanding of a recent article that uses the metaphor of ‘braiding’ to design an analytic method for dealing with a large and unruly body of texts.

Ward, A. (2021). Braiding as a Feminist Methodology: Tensions and Possibilities of Weaving Together. Cultural Studies↔ Critical Methodologies, 1532708620953200.

As this is a participatory masterclass, there will be ample opportunity for other forms, dilemmas or readings.


*This masterclass is fully booked. Are you interested in doing this masterclass? Let us know by sending an email to
In case of sufficient interest we will organise a second masterclass on feminism in research.