Thinking About Gender/Thinking About Sexual Difference(s)

 

Thursday, September 25, 2003
"A Reprise in Women's Culture?"
Suzanne Lebsock
, Professor of History, Rutgers University

Public Talk 4:30 p.m., Reception 6:00-7:00 p.m. (Reception co-hosted by the Institute for Women's Leadership), Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building - 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus

In the early 1980's the concept of women's culture flared briefly, only to die a sudden death. Suzanne Lebsock takes a retrospective look at women's culture and considers what is at stake when we embrace--or--abandon gender analysis in its simplest forms.

Suzanne Lebsock is author of A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial (Norton, 2003); The Free Women of Petersburg: Status and Culture in a Southern Town, 1784-1860 (1984); "A Share of Honour": Virginia Women, 1600-1945 (1984), and Visible Women: New Essays on American Activism (co-edited with Nancy A. Hewitt, 1993).

 

Thursday, October 16, 2003
"Other Differences: Feminism Meets Culture and Class in the Middle East"
Lila Abu-Lughod
, Professor of Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies, Columbia University
Reception 4:00, Public Talk 4:30 , Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus

Reflecting on the "Afghan woman question," on one hand, and some television dramas produced by feminists in Egypt, Lila Abu-Lughod asks: What challenges confront Western feminists when they must respond to Muslim women? What are the limits of the developmentalist feminism prevalent in the "Third World" when it deals with rural and poor women?

Lila Abu-Lughod has worked on women's issues in the Middle East for over twenty years.  She has authored and edited several books on the topic, including Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories (University of California Press, 1993), Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East (Princeton University Press, 1998), and Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (University of California Press, 1986). Professor Abu-Lughod met with members of the IRW/IWL seminar from 10:30 to noon on Thursday, October 16.

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
"Masculinity Politics and World Society"
R.W. Connell
, Professor of Education, University of Sydney
Reception 4:00, Public Talk 4:30 , Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus

"Globalization" is re-shaping our conceptions of the social, including our understanding of gender politics. How are local masculinities changing under the pressures of new international capitalism? What forms of masculinity are emerging in transnational arenas? How are men's interests articulated, and how is masculinity deployed, in world politics? This lecture will bring together international research in this field and propose a way to understand masculinity politics in global society.

R.W. Connell is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, recipient of the American Sociological Association award for distinguished contribution to the study of sex and gender. His research interests have centered on social structure and the dynamics of change, the way personal lives are shaped within social contexts, and the interplay between education and social forces. Recent books include Gender (Blackwell 2002); The Men and the Boys (UC Press 2000); Male Roles, Masculinities, and Violence: A Culture of Peace Perspective (UNESCO 2000; co-edited with Ingeborg Breines and Ingrid Eide); Masculinities (UC Press 1995). His current projects include a study of intellectuals in relation to globalization, a study of gender equity in public institutions, and a study of vocational education and senior secondary school reform. Professor Connell met with members of the IRW/IWL seminar from 10:30 to noon on Tuesday, Novemeber 25.

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2004
"Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Social Construction"
Joanne Meyerowitz
, Professor of History, Indiana University
Reception 4:00, Public Talk 4:30 , Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus
Get the flyer.

Joanne Meyerowitz will use her recent book, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (2002), to enter into a broader discussion of nature, nurture, and social constructionist theories of the mid-twentieth century.

In How Sex Changed, Joanne Meyerowitz uses the social, cultural, and medical history of transsexuality as a window into changing definitions of biological sex, gender, and sexuality in the twentieth century. Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 (1988), considers how a seemingly marginal group of women and workers challenged and reshaped mainstream conceptions of womanhood. Her edited volume, Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America 1945-1960 (1994), presents a revisionist view that challenged the stereotype of domestic, complacent women in the post-war era. Professor Meyerowitz will also meet with members of the IRW/IWL seminar from 10:30 to noon on Thursday, February 5.

 

Thursday, February 26, 2004
"The Black Female Body: A Photographic History"
Deborah Willis
, Professor of Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Reception 4:00, Public Talk 4:30 , Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus

The interplay between the historical and the contemporary, between self-presentation and representation, is fundamental to this discussion, which brings together photographs and illustrations ranging from the earliest known drawings and photographic portraits made in Africa of Sarah Baartman in the early 1800s, to the little-know 1930's studies by Edward Weston, to work by contemporary artists including Lorna Simpson and Carrie Mae Weems.

A 2000 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award winner, Deborah Willis is Professor of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She is an exhibiting photographer; in addition, her investigation and recovery of the rich legacy of African American photography provides and invaluable and irreplaceable resource. Among her most notable book projects are Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, W.W. Norton, New York (2000) and The Black Female Body: A Photographic History with Carla Williams (2002). Professor Willis will participate in a dinner discussion with IRW/IWL seminar participants and friends immediately following her lecture.

 

Thursday, April 1, 2004
"The Future of Female Sexuality: The Becoming of Sexual Difference"
Elizabeth Grosz, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Reception 4:00, Public Talk 4:30 , Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus

This paper will speculate on how female sexuality and desire challenges and problematizes scientific explanations presented of it, and how it may be necessary to transform how we understand science in order to understand female sexuality more accurately.

Elizabeth Grosz's books include Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Read Space (MIT 2001); Space, Time and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies (Routledge 1995); Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Indiana UP 1994); Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction  (Routledge 1990); Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists (Unwin and Hyman 1989). Her areas of research are contemporary French philosophy, feminist theory, and theories of space and time. Professor Grosz will participate in a dinner discussion with IRW/IWL seminar participants and friends immediately following her lecture.

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