Conference Telling Lives in Science: Reflections on Scholarly (auto)Biography

15 do
15 september 2022

Telling Lives in Science: Reflections on Scholarly (auto)Biography
Conference in celebration of the PhD ceremony of Rozemarijn van de Wal and the Farewell lecture of Mineke Bosch
Groningen, 15 and 16 September

Location: van Swinderenhuys – Oude boteringestraat 19 Groningen
Thursday 15 September: intersectional scholarly biography
Please note: all indicated times are including room for questions/discussion
Chair: Leonieke Vermeer
09.30: Welcome with coffee & tea
10.00-10.45: Thomas Etzemuller keynote I
10.45-11.15: Kaat Wils
11.15-11.30: Break
11.30-12.00: Kirsti Niskanen
12.00-12.45: Meritxell Simon-Martin Keynote II
12.45-13.45: Lunch break (included)
13.45-14.15: Laura Carter
14.15-14.45: Layman’s talk Rozemarijn (Dutch)
14.45-16.00: Break
16.15: defence ceremony Rozemarijn (English)

Friday 16 September: intersectional feminist/scholarly autobiography
Please note: all indicated times are including room for questions/discussion
Chair morning session: Catrien Santing
09.15-09.30: Coffee & tea
09.30-09.45: Welcome
09.45-10.00: Short talk Thony Visser
10.00-11.15: Francisca de Haan & Rosemarie Buikema (English)
11.15-11.30: Break
11.30-12.45: two public interviews by Marijke Huisman, with resp. Roline Redmond and Maaike Meijer
12.45-13.30: Lunch (included) and poster fair
13.30-14.45: Poster fair soapbox pitches (Dutch) by (among others): Dineke Stam, Mineke van Essen, Geertje Mak, Marian Mourits and Catrien Santing
14.45-16.00: Break
16.00-17.00: Farewell lecture Mineke at Doopsgezinde kerk
17.00-18.00: Reception

Registration and practical information
The conference will take place at the Van Swinderen Huys, Oude Boteringestraat 19 in Groningen on
Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September.
For registration, please fill out this form:

Further details including the programme will be made available in due time. For now, if you have any
other questions, please feel free to send us an e-mail. We look forward to welcoming you in September!

Conference description
What does it mean to be a scholar? And how can we tell our own or other lives in science? There exists a rich tradition of (auto)biographical narratives written by and about scholars, but these narratives have often disregarded or barely mentioned the role of gender or any other category of in- and exclusion. Biographers did that, stressing their conviction that science is beyond the social, or that ‘the mind has no sex’, no colour, no class. For a long time, when writing their autobiographies, scholars and scientists reproduced these convictions. Indeed, one of the most common autobiographical ‘acts’ or ‘performances’ by women scholars, was to fashion themselves as ‘scientists’ as opposed to ‘women’, thereby giving off the impression that gender does not play a role in the male dominated world of academia.

Academic feminism of the 1960s and 1970s radically changed people’s perceptions. Following Alice Rossi’s question ‘Why so few?’ women’s and gender studies began to research the role of women and gender in science and academia. In the 1980s, Kimberlée Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality expanded our intellectual toolkit and brought awareness to the many categories of difference that play a role in the white, masculine, elitist domain of science and academia, including class, ethnicity and
sexuality. Since then, scholars have explored the ‘struggles and strategies’ (to cite Margaret Rossiter’s seminal study of American women scientists), that non-standard scholars faced, as well as the
repertoires that they utilized in order to lay claim to authority and credibility. In the modern history chair at the University Groningen, research into the question of how and why scientists and scholars did succeed in academia and science (or not) was inspired by the concept of scientific or scholarly persona, or the performance of a convincing and trustworthy scholarly or scientific identity at the intersection of personal and professional lives. In this research, biography and autobiography play pivotal roles.

Thursday 15 September Telling Lives in Science: intersectional scholarly biography
On 15 September, we address the question of how to write the biography of a scholar or a scientist. Focussing specifically on the concept of scholarly or scientific persona, biographers examine the complex interplay between academics, their scholarship and the ways in which they lay claim to authority and credibility through the fashioning of a trustworthy self. How do scholars negotiate their multifaceted identities as racialized, classed and gendered people? How can we research and write their lives? What sources are available to study their scholarly identities? And how did their performances contribute to (or perhaps hindered) their academic success?
Keynote speakers are: Laura Carter (Fr), Thomas Etzemüller (De), Kirsti Niskanen (SE), Kaat Wils (BE) and
Meritxell Simon-Martin (SP)

This day ends with the defence ceremony of Rozemarijn van de Wal’s dissertation Dancing in the Kitchens of History. Eileen Power (1889-1940).

Friday 16 September – Telling Lives in Science: intersectional feminist/scholarly autobiography
Op vrijdag 16 september richten wij ons vooral op feministische wetenschapsbeoefening in universitaire afdelingen geschiedenis en vrouwen – en genderstudies, en daarbuiten. Hoe zijn feministen wetenschappers geworden, of omgekeerd, en dat vooral met de nadruk op hoe? Wat zijn hun/onze strijdpunten geweest en wat de strategieën om daarmee om te gaan? Welke repertoires van ‘wetenschappelijk zijn’ hebben wij ingezet om te worden h/erkend als geloofwaardige, betrouwbare en overtuigende makelaars in kennis of ‘waar’ zeggers? Hebben we wel altijd onze ‘authentieke feministische identiteit’ kunnen vertolken en tegelijkertijd ons professionele werk kunnen doen? Of hebben we onze politieke feministische overtuigingen al te vaak verpakt of verborgen gehouden achter het masker van de onpartijdige professionele wetenschapper, cq historicus? Wij nodigen een breed scala van feministische wetenschappers (incluis diegenen die zich niet (altijd) expliciet als feminist identificeren cq afficheren) uit tot autobiografische reflectie op het eigen wetenschappelijk zijn of beter het eigen wetenschappelijke doen. Hoe hebben zij/wij vorm gegeven aan hun/onze levens als zwarte, witte en/of hetero- en homoseksuele, mannen en vrouwen, trans- en non-binaire personen, feministen in alle betekenissen van dit woord, in de wereld van de universiteit (of juist niet!) om te overleven, en te streven, en misschien ten slotte de wereld iets te veranderen?
Sprekers: Rosemarie Buikema (UU), Francisca de Haan (CEU), Gloria Wekker (em. UU)

Op deze uitnodiging tot autobiografische reflectie kun je reageren door een poster te maken en te presenteren op de ‘poster fair’. Onderzoek naar de performance van feministische wetenschap van andere (historische) personen mag ook. Enkelen van u zullen worden uitgenodigd om de spreekwoordelijke zeepkist te beklimmen om een autobiografisch verhaal, een doorleefd dilemma, een herinnering, observatie of anekdote te delen over wat het betekent om een intersectionele feministische wetenschapper te zijn. In het aanmeldformulier voor het congres (zie onderaan) kunt u aangeven of u een poster wil presenteren. U ontvangt dan een handleiding voor het maken van een poster. De posters worden door de organisatie afgedrukt in Groningen. Deadline voor het aanleveren van de poster is maandag 5 september. Voor vragen hierover kunt u contact opnemen met Marieke Dwarswaard via
On Friday 16 September we turn the lens to feminist scholarship in historical and women’s and gender studies departments and beyond. How did feminists become scholars, or the other way around? What have been our struggles and strategies, or the repertoires of identity that we used? Did or do we perform our ‘authentic feminist selves’ at the same time as doing our professional jobs? Did or do we hide our (political) feminist convictions behind the mask of the impartial professional historian? We invite all feminist scholars (including those who do not necessarily identify as feminist) to engage in autobiographical reflection and tell how they have shaped their lives as black, white, gay, feminist, women and men in (or perhaps outside) the world of academia, to survive and thrive and perhaps in the end, to change the world. The morning part of the programme on Friday will be in English. After lunch, we switch to Dutch.

Call for Posters
In the afternoon of day two of the conference, we will organise a poster fair where scholars can present their autobiographical reflections or research through an academic poster. (Some) poster presenters will also be invited to climb on the proverbial soapbox to pitch their research or to share a story/memory/anecdote or even to discuss an object about what it means to be an intersectional feminist scholar. We invite everyone who is interested in making a poster to fill this out in the registration form (see below). You will then receive a very easy to follow manual for making a digital poster. Deadline for submitting your poster is Monday September 5, The posters will be printed in Groningen and displayed at the poster fair. For further questions, you can contact

Afscheidsrede/Farewell lecture
Mineke Bosch zal om 16.00 haar openbare afscheidsrede houden in de Doopsgezinde kerk in de Oude Boteringestraat, praktisch naast het van Swinderen Huys. Deze zal worden gevolgd door een receptie in de kerk!

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