Jan. 16, 2018

Masculinity speaker series delves into gender, equity and education

First in four-part series Rethinking What it Means to be a Boy, a Man set for Jan. 22

Ask anyone in Canada or the United States what the most galvanizing issue has been over the past year and they may tell you it is the movement to confront the certainly inappropriate and often unlawful behaviour of men who have been called out on their behaviour toward women.

#MeToo and #TimesUp have become catch phrases used in social media, mainstream media and face-to-face conversations from Hollywood to Washington and Ottawa — and on the University of Calgary campus.

“We are currently experiencing what is arguably a shift, a significant tide change in current gender relations,” explains the Werklund School of Education’s Michael Kehler. “The power dynamic that has held strong over women, over marginalized 'others,' over any and all who are not white, middle class men is experiencing perhaps one of the greatest movements among women since the right to vote.”

Kehler, research professor in masculinities studies, refers to these new movements as a call to action, a call to unite against discrimination, sexual harassment and patriarchal domination. “The movement that started and gained life through social media has become a force that is surely to unsettle traditional power relations and moreover, redefine power dynamics as we know them in the future.”

In the first-of-its-kind professorship at a North American university, Kehler’s research work will focus on injustices and inequities, with an emphasis on questioning issues of power as they emerge from how masculinities are navigated on a day-to-day basis. Kehler is beginning his tenure by hosting a four-part speaker series called Rethinking What it Means to be a Boy, a Man. 


Michael Kehler, research professor in masculinities studies at the University of Calgary's Werklund School of Education, is hosting a four-part speaker series called Rethinking What it Means to be a Boy, a Man. University of Calgary photo

Michael Kehler, research professor in masculinities studies is hosting a four-part speaker series.

University of Calgary photo

“Our intention is to raise more questions than answers, and in doing so we hope this speaker series will be a catalyst for conversation,” says Kehler.

The series is intended for anyone interested in gender, equity, and education. Kehler says the presentations will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, educators, community agencies, academics, researchers and the general public more broadly who have an interest in thinking about masculinity.

The first presentation, on Jan. 22, will be given by Chris Haywood of the U.K.’s Newcastle University, an internationally recognized expert in the area of masculinity studies. Haywood will provide an overview into a wide range of areas including schooling, the workplace, family, sport and romance.

Anyone interested in attending the first presentation is welcome to attend; registration is required to ensure adequate seating.

Michael Kehler’s work is supported by the Calgary Silver Gummy Foundation, which strives to use education as a means of reducing male-perpetrated sexual and domestic violence. The foundation made a gift of $250,000 to UCalgary’s Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High to support the new Professorship in Masculinities Studies at the Werklund School of Education.