The Seminar on “Femininity / Masculinity and the Transformation of the Structure of Knowledge and Culture “ was held in two panels on Sunday, May 6, 2018 with the aim of examining the femininity or masculinity of knowledge and technology, its consequences and its impact on the culture and knowledge of the Iranian mind. Dr. Fahimeh Nazari, sociologist and the Seminar Secretary; Dr. Zahra Mohagheghiyan, Assistant Professor of Quranic Studies Department of Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies; Ismael Khalili, researcher and Secretary of the Department of Sociology of Science and Knowledge; Dr. Ameneh Mirkhoshkhoo, Ph.D. in political science from Tehran University; Dr. Nematollah Fazel, anthropologist and Associate Professor of the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies; Dr. Yaghoub Mousavi, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Sociology, Alzahra University and Samaneh Moazzam, researcher on women's knowledge in Iran attended the Seminar to present their articles.
The two-panel Seminar which was organized by the NRISP Desk of Social Studies of Science, University, Technology and Innovation stemmed from the results of a one-year-long research efforts of two groups; Science and Technology Group of the Iranian Sociological Association and NRISP Science and Sociology Department.
At the beginning, Dr. Fahimeh Nazari, the Seminar Secretary, pointed to how the idea of holding the Seminar was formed and said; according to the researchers of social and cultural issues, it is thought that the present age is a feminine age, and the present century is referred to as the feminine century. This issue has even been raised in Iran and has advocators for the reasons and indicators expressed.
She added; given the different approaches to this issue, calls for the submission of papers were given last year and finally, six items that cover different aspects of this approach were selected for presenting at this seminar by the Scientific Committee.
The first speaker of this seminar, Ismail Khalili, presented his article on the transformation of Iran's cultural nature and the identity crisis (summary of the research on “the Relationship between Knowledge, Identity and Sexual identity in Contemporary Iran). As the designer of the Seminar, he referred to the necessity and importance of holding it and said: given the fact that around the world there is a debate about the femininity of the third millennium, we need to determine which events have shaped this type of thinking.
He mentioned the most important reasons for the identity crisis in Iran: we faced this situation in a confrontation with the modern West. A situation in which we are not able to scientifically establish foundations for the establishment of state and identity.
Dr. Mohagheghian as the next speaker referred to the subject of her article "The diversity of cultural structures of the Qur'an in the field of femininity”, and examined the topics of femininity and masculinity from the Quranic angles. In the introduction, she said: "The evidence and findings found by the two centuries of science such as anthropology, mythology, archeology, and such sciences suggest the transformation of the structures of societies from matriarchy to patriarchy. Analytical psychologists believe that the reason for the existence of war, corruption, and killing in today's world is to depart from the indices of the matriarchy age. They believe that the way of reforming today's society is to return to these indices and to pay attention to the subconscious mind and the female part of being.
In the following, Dr. Mohagheghian said about the importance of understanding the language of the Quran: given the fact that we live in a religious community and our foundation of existence is based on religion and religious factors, how to understand this book is important. I believe that we should recite the Qur'an and refine our understanding based on the findings of today's science.
She added that although the Qur'an is formed and interpreted on a seemingly patriarchal system and thinking, but according to the findings of the new sciences, we can track the indices of the maternal age in the Quran.
“The Possibility of Methodology of Femininity in the Humanities and Social Sciences” was the third article presented by Dr. Mirkhoshkho. She stated; in speaking about the knowledge which is based on femininity and masculinity, gender differences affect that knowledge. In this regard, the question arises as to whether these gender differences are essential or biological, or are affected by social relationships between women and men?
In the answer to the questions raised and the effect of two concepts of femininity on the process of knowledge production and methodological issues, Dr. Mirshakhshoo stated: if knowledge is a non-sexual issue and does not relate to be a male or female, then we must show that current knowledge, especially social knowledge, regardless of the social context of both sexes which is man and woman has addressed the decrees, laws, analyses and practices that do not relate to that community as an isolate and conjugate phenomenon.
By explaining that social knowledge is not a product of the ideas, values and experiences of the members of society, she stated; decades have passed by since the social science and even the natural science claim that they are neutral or pure science, and nobody accepts that science is without the values of the members of the research community. The relationship between knowledge and value in the process of knowledge production was an issue that positivist emphasized on it as a component, and this relationship was considered directly by women in the methodological discussions.
At the end of her speech, she said: the fundamental issue in methodology and femininity is not how and when the manhood of knowledge was realized. Knowledge is not equal to morality to have female or male characteristics. Knowledge is generally a social issue and is based on sharing ideas, experiences, mental preferences, issues, and criteria that scientists and researchers use of every kind of race, gender, religion, and folk to fully understand phenomena.
In the second panel of the Seminar on Femininity / Masculinity and the Transformation of the Knowledge and Culture Structure, Dr Nematollah Fazeli, anthropologist and Associate Professor at the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Dr. Ya'qub Mousavi, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Sociology, Al-Zahra University, and Samaneh Moazam, a researcher on women's knowledge in Iran, gave their lectures and articles.
In his speech entitled, "Feminization of Knowledge in the Contemporary Iran," Dr. Fazeli explained that his aim is defamiliarization of one of the general processes of transformation in the contemporary Iran, and said: "the approach of this discussion stems from the perspective of Peter Berger and Thomas Lackman in the book "Social Construction of Reality". In this book, knowledge is the set of knowledge that humans shape in the process of everyday life. According to Berger's view, culture, worlds of life, or everyday life can be understood as different meanings of knowledge.
Dr. Fazeli further described the issue of femininity as a process, not an incident, and explained: "I believe in the contemporary Iran, femininity is a kind of" subprocess", that is, it creates other small processes. On the other hand, I believe that the main discourse that constitutes the contemporary world of Iran and all of our issues should be defined around it is the discourse of change; then, in order to understand contemporary society and culture, we need to talk about how the discourse of change occurs, its components, and the relations of these components. In this regard, in the discourse on contemporary Iranian cultural change, the women's subprocess dialogue has radically transformed all the pillars of social life and the lives of contemporary Iranian people.
At the end of his speech, he said: womanhood of awareness in the contemporary Iran has changed the quality of life and we have been living this process for the last one hundred and a half years. By creating a capillary and subconscious change in the quality of life, women create and develop feelings, consciences, states and spirits in the society. In this space, I speak of the womanhood of culture and knowledge.
In the following, Dr. Mousavi referred to the topic of the Seminar, which, in his words, examines the role and share of women in the production of science and knowledge and said: this dichotomy of femininity/masculinity is not intrinsic but is a transversal and subjective dichotomy, this issue is not accepted in the social sciences to consider inherently feminine or masculine. He added: According to Shariati, this is a false divisibility.
Dr. Mousavi stated that the controversial question is; where the place of women in knowledge is? She said; in sociological studies of various social groups, women's problems and issues are a social issue and subject of research.
He explained about the accepted dichotomy: having women's perspective on issues with the concept of examining problems, with the role of subjectivity of women and epistemology based on the subjectivity of women, this dichotomy can be accepted.
The final speaker of this seminar was Samaneh Moazzam, who explored the myth and status of Iranian women on the verge of entering modernity.
It is worth noting that at the end of both panels, Q & A sessions were held.