Gender and Otherness in the Humanities (GOTH) is a research centre based in the School of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University. Our interests are broad-ranging across research areas: our affiliated academics work in a variety of fields within the Humanities including English Literature, Creative Writing, Music, History, Theatre Studies, Art History, Classical Studies and more, exploring topics related to the themes of gender and otherness.
GOTH was relaunched in 2019 from its previous incarnation, GiTH (Gender in the Humanities). Its new name underlines gender’s often complex intersections with different types of ‘otherness’. Gender is a particular aspect of the broader characterisation of ‘otherness’ as a deviation from ‘the norm’. The relationship between gender and otherness throughout time and across the Arts and Humanities forms the focal point of our investigations. This relationship is multifarious: people are othered due to their gender, or their expression of their gender; gender plays a role within intersectional identities, leading to more complex forms of otherness; gender politics can itself be intersected by various kinds of othering; and there are those who feel othered by the very concept of gender. The diverse facets of the relationship between gender and otherness form a rich array of material for academic study, and are of great significance in modern scholarship. Apart from this central focus, we also encourage and support research in otherness more broadly: an awareness of the centrality of human diversity to an understanding of the Humanities is crucial to The Open University, to our exceptionally large and diverse student body, our research and teaching goals, and our impact on society.
GOTH pulls together the valuable OU research being carried out in these areas, finding points of connection and contrast and providing a space for fruitful discussion and collaboration between academics across the Humanities. We hold regular critical reading sessions hosted by GOTH members to prompt dialogue around particular texts. We also organise annual research away days to relevant exhibitions, historical sites, theatrical performances, and other accessible locations, where we learn from each other’s research interests on site. We run a major annual interdisciplinary research symposium bringing together speakers from across the world, and regular NetWorkshops with colleagues in other research areas to share research findings and best practice. Every month we host the GOTH Postgraduate Student Forum, a casual, welcoming session for PG students across the Arts and Humanities to get together and discuss their interests. Additional activities include the hosting of visiting scholars, supporting and initiating bidding for research funding, and working on doctoral and other research projects, both within the group and in collaboration with external scholars.
Banner image: Portrait of Barbara van Beck, Wellcome Collection, London.