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Research on Gender & Diversity

METIS Lecture 2022: Recording

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All fields that work with data and human subjects research

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The annual METIS Lecture showcases research and researchers relevant to the topic of equal opportunities in academia. The 2022 lecture “Data is Not Neutral: Gender and Generalizability in Research Methodology” was given by Kathryn Clancy and Jenny L. Davis. 

The lecture

For a long time, most human subjects research was performed primarily on white men. This was especially the case for research intended to be generalizable towards everyone. To address this bias, many funding agencies now have policies that require gender equality, by which they mean that women and men should be included in all generalizable research (e.g., drug treatment trials, brain imaging, exercise physiology). However, this bias correction reinforces two problematic ideas: that sex is binary and that sex difference is attributable to biological difference. Policy change that doesn’t address the history and context that led to biased sample populations only exposes bias and doesn’t fix it. So how do we include the variables of sex and gender in a way that allows us to uncover the many ways it can complicate, enhance, and broaden our understanding? And how can we show that there are times when research on women and gender diverse people actually produces the most generalizable findings?

In this year’s METIS Lecture, Professor Kate Clancy and Professor Jenny Davis offer case studies across several disciplines to show how gender and sex are entangled, and enrich scholarly study. They then suggest several queer feminist interventions into problem definition, data collection, and data interpretation towards a broader recognition of how all data are relevant — not only those that fall within a “normal range” but outliers and even those from excluded categories.

The speakers

Kathryn Clancy is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she and her laboratory investigate the effects of environmental stressors on women and gender minorities. She was named to the Nature 10 in 2013 and has won several awards for her publicly engaged research on gender and harassment. Her book Period: The Real Story of Menstruation will be released on April 18, 2023 in the US from Princeton University Press.

Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is the director of the American Indian Studies Program. She is the recipient of two book prizes for her books Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance and Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality. Her 2022 poetry manuscript, Trickster Academy, was published in the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks Series, and her creative work has been published widely.

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