Genders as Genres

PhD Dissertation

My dissertation, Genders as Genres, develops a dynamic and pluralist account of genders. I wanted to know in what way ‘genders as groups’ exist and what it means for people to belong to such a gender, given several complexities: individual uniqueness, ambivalence, context-dependence, perspective-dependence, and changeability qua gender, as well as historical change of what gender is about. This has existential relevance for many people. It is also crucial for emancipatory social change. Taken seriously, genders are an oddball for many current approaches in metaphysics.

From the point of view of Critical Theory and Metaphysics, the project asked ‘What does it mean to be of a particular gender?’, looking at anti-/essentialisms in philosophy of gender. My core research results are published in my dissertation, in which I show that genders are similar to (aesthetic) genres in important ways: both are (what I call) Dynamic Categories, i.e., they are categories that emerge and transform in virtue of being realized differently and responsively by us embodied people.

A further book, The Genre Approach to Genders, is in progress with De Gruyter, making the results more widely accessible and further developing the concept. There, I say more about the details and potentials of realizing the similarities between genders and genres: e.g., for theorizing gender as analytically distinguishable yet enmeshed with other dynamic categories (such as race), for describing and explaining concrete gendered and non-gendered phenomena and contexts, or for approaching emancipatory change of gendering norms.

University
Universiteit van Amsterdam

ASCA / Philosophy

Supervisor

Prof. dr. Beate Rössler

Timeline
4,5 Years

Funding
NICA / AIHR

PhD Fellowship

Co-Supervisor

Prof. dr. Robin Celikates

Date Completed
July 2021

Publication:

Thinius, Alex. 2021. “Genders as Genres: Understanding Dynamic Categories.” Universiteit van Amsterdam. https://hdl.handle.net/11245.1/3423aaa4-b224-4d51-bfe1-20f66fb049ca.