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Performative activism and activist performance: Young South African women engaging in change for new imaginaries of everyday equalities and belongings

The CEU Campus
Friday, September 21, 2018, 5:30 pm

The Department of Gender Studies

    Public Lecture Series 2018-2019


This lecture explores young people’s agentic engagement in activism, performance, and art towards gender and sexual justice in contemporary contexts of decolonial, feminist and queer activism in South Africa. Located in a critical review of the current context of gender equality efforts, both research and practice, which has reproduced a problematic disciplinary lens on young people, Shefer argues the importance of current activist and artistic engagements that disrupt intersectional gender and sexual normativities, inequalities and violences. The lecture draws on a number of recent examples of gender and justice activism among young people in current South Africa which speak to a nuanced and intersectional understanding of the challenges facing contemporary South Africa that is cognizant of both past and present injustice. In particular, she explores the value of such activist, artistic and pedagogical interventions that disrupt normative gendered, sexual, raced and other social identities and inequalities, and reflects on the generative impact of such mobilisation within the larger project of sexual and gender justice in South African and in global contexts.


Tamara Shefer is professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of the Western Cape. She has researched and published in the areas intersectional gender and sexual justice, including, young parenting, sexuality education, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, masculinities, memory and post-apartheid subjectivities, gender and care, gender and disability, and the politics of higher education and social justice pedagogies.