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Programme  Titles  Presenters  Topics 
12. Physics education and gender: Identity as an analytic lens for research
Tuesday 22nd August Symposia Session I, 09:00 - 11:00
In this symposium, physics education scholars will engage with concepts of gender and identity as they are mobilized in research to understand the experiences of learners, teachers and practitioners of physics. Traditional research on gender in physics education has focussed on how to attract more females into science, documenting differences between men and women in achievement or participation, or seeking social or psychological explanations for differences in physics engagement. An epistemological shift in research on gender and physics education is turning our gaze away from documenting differences and rather moving towards understanding how gendered identities are constructed in physics learning and practice. The focus of this symposium will be on extending our theoretical understandings of identity to explore the construction of gender in physics education research (PER). Papers included in this symposium bring perspectives from four countries, and present frameworks that highlight various forms identity work in physics. The first paper will present examples from Canada and Sweden of the construction of physics as masculine and the material consequences this bears for both male and female bodies in experimental physics work. Paper two will explore the usefulness of identity and performativity as lenses for understanding how girls in the UK ‘possibilise’ physics identities for themselves in ways that are compatible with their preferred performances of femininity. Paper three presents the implications that an identity framework in PER can have for critical disability studies in physics education in the US, and the lessons we can draw from non-binary approaches to gender research. The final paper uses examples from a study in Sweden to demonstrate how discourse analysis as an approach that foregrounds identity can permit the study of both individual negotiations of identity and the dominant gendered discourses structuring individuals’ negotiations. 

Chairperson: Allison Gonsalves McGill University, Canada & Anna Danielsson, King's College London, UK
Discussant: Ellen Henriksen, University of Oslo, Norway

S12.1.2.1 Im/possibilising physics identity: UK secondary school girls’ negotiations of femininity and physics
Jennifer DeWitt*, Louise Archer
University College London, Institute of Education, UK
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S12.1.2.2 Identity, masculinity and materiality:  Mapping out new terrain in physics education research
Allison Gonsalves*1, Anna Danielsson2
1McGill University, Canada, 2King's College London, UK
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S12.1.2.3 Studying identity in discourse: From individuals to structure in physics education
Anders Johansson
Uppsala University, Sweden
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S12.1.2.4 Disability in physics: Lessons from the binary view of gender
Adrienne Traxler*1, Jennifer Blue1
1Department of Physics, Wright State University, USA, 2Department of Physics, Miami University, USA
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