Gendered histories, gendered fields

A seminar on knowledge production in hypermasculine memory cultures

Siri Driessen, Jasmin Seijbel, Lise Zurné (Associate members)

24 May 15.00h – G4, City Campus / online (hybrid event)


Re-enactors performing the Indonesian National Armed Forces. Image by Lise Zurné.


Doing empirical research in the field of memory studies asks researchers to engage with communities other than their own, sometimes in unfamiliar areas. Such engagements might be welcome and inspiring, but can also be notably challenging. In particular, memory cultures of traditionally ‘masculine’ realms such as war and sports may (re)produce exclusionary discourses in which (gendered/racial/ethnic, etc). ‘Other’ voices, whether those of (critical) members or researchers, may then be ignored or silenced.

This seminar will explore the interplay between gender, memory cultures, and the process of knowledge production within hypermasculine research contexts, drawing upon our own research in historical re-enactment, veteran or football communities. We hereby aim to reflect upon the ways in which our identities and positionality may impact the communities we  research, the questions we may (or may not ask), and the methodologies we employ. As such, we aim to analyse how researchers navigate and negotiate their roles in these environments, ultimately shaping the knowledge they produce. We invite those attending to share their own insights and experiences in relation to the gendered challenges and opportunities they encounter within their research.


Please book via Ticketsource:

In-person book here.

Online Zoom book here.


Speaker bios:

Siri Driessen’s (Erasmus University Rotterdam/ University for Humanistic Studies Utrecht) research focuses on the afterlives and memory discourses of war and conflict, with a specific interest in experiences of place, travel and tourism.

Jasmin Seijbel (Erasmus University Rotterdam) explores football-related antisemitic discourse(s) in on- and offline spaces as well as educational projects that try to combat antisemitism in football. She works at the intersection of media, memory, and sport studies.Lise Zurné (Erasmus University Rotterdam) analyzes how re-enactors in Europe and Indonesia represent and negotiate contested pasts, including (re)colonization, gender in war and the representation of suffering.


Follow-up blog, written by Ilenia Atzori (PGR member, CMNH):

It was a delight to have our associate members Siri Driessen, Jasmin Seijbel and Lise Zurné running our hybrid seminar “Gendered histories, gendered fields” on May 24, 2023.

Summarising their fieldwork experiences, the three researchers addressed topics such as ‘Power and Access in Military Contexts’, ‘Sexism and Sexualisation in Football Fandom’ and ‘Sexualised Harassment and Intimidation in Historical Re-enactment’.

It was hardly surprising to find out that among the different issues experienced by female researchers in hyper-masculinised contexts were the perception as outsiders, and the need to find a balance between the researcher’s position and the context-specific conventions in order to maintain access to relevant information. A 2014 survey reported that approximately 70% of women scientists experienced sexual harassment and/or assault during fieldwork; this can translate into multiple issues for the development of their research, which may include pressure to perform and the need to ignore ‘red flags’, information withholding, loss of relationships as a result of avoiding participants’ observation, and sometimes a change of research topic.

The interesting and participated discussion following the presentation included reflections on practices and methods used in fieldwork and the potential associated risks. Ideas on how and ‘where’ to further share this research were also discussed, as it is our hope that talking more and more openly about this issue can contribute to a change.

We look forward to hearing more about the work when it goes to publication.