Telling tales of gendered bodies: public lecture at the University of Auckland

14 June 2017
Head and shoulders portrait against a shrub. Virginia is casually dressed, has no fringe, with hair to just below her ears.
Professor Virginia Braun

What place do the humanities still have in a world where governments and universities are increasingly focused on job skills? What does it mean to be a critical scholar in the age of Trump? In a world where the pressure on women to look a certain way has never been greater?

These are some of the topics that will be addressed in an inaugural lecture tomorrow by Professor Virginia Braun of the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Professor Braun’s work involves examining the nature of gendered bodies and gendered body practices – from body hair to genital cosmetic surgery – and issues related to sex, sexuality and health.

“My role as a critical scholar is to question accepted norms and how many of those stories involve a constant message to women that they must act and look a certain way,” she says.

“I see one of my roles as disrupting those stories, either through media or through academic work and collaboration with colleagues, so that we raise questions about what people understand is normal and what is not.”

Professor Braun says that the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency has impacted on her work in a more direct way than she would have imagined.

“Trump’s callous disregard for truth, the whole idea of post-truth and fake news, is having a profound effect on many aspects of daily life but it’s not just media where this effect is being felt.

“For me as a critical scholar, Trump has fundamentally changed the game.”

Professor Braun studied for her BSc and MA (Hons) at the University of Auckland before winning a Commonwealth Scholarship which allowed her to study at Loughborough University in the UK where she completed her PhD.

She has written a number of textbooks on research. The latest, a practical guide to collecting qualitative data, will be published this year.


Further details about the lecture are available on the event listing, Telling tales of gendered bodies: A personal and political reflection on critical scholarship inTrumped-up times.

For more information contact:

Anne Beston
Media Adviser, Faculty of Engineering

: Tel: 09 923 3258 Mob: 0221 970 089