Barbara Duden | De-Gendering ways of knowing: Contemporary paradoxes from a historian's perspective

“Gender” (Geschlecht, il sesso, le genre) is a term with an astounding career. In the 1960s it was current in academe only as a category of grammar and as a variable in statistical classification. Today “google” in 0,06 seconds pops up 204 million references to “gender” as a construction in all the sciences and in popular usage. The term has made its way into political programs worldwide, orients social analysis and influences personal ways of knowing thyself. “Gender” 
simultaneously operates as a value, a resource in the neoliberal project and as a liberating term, while bridging the gap between the “identity” of each one of us and statistical populations. As a key term of postmodernity it implies the promise of a future de-gendered world in which equality will reign.

 From a historical point of view I will investigate the paradoxical consequences of this key word which is re-forming contemporary ways of “knowing” while promising the erosion of “gender”.