Communities: Research and Action

September 27, 2007
The Million Mom March: The Perils of Colorblind Maternalism
Deborah Gray White
, Board of Governors Professor of History, Rutgers

November 8, 2007
Not the United States of Gender: Framing Transgender Activism in Societies of Control
Paisley Currah
, Associate Professor, Political Science, Brooklyn College, CUNY and Executive Director, CLAGS-Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies

 In his talk, Professor Currah will analyze how transgender rights advocates find themselves negotiating between the normative human rights framework undergirding their advocacy and the natural and social science paradigms they must often use in order to document and legitimate gender non-conforming identities and practices. The goals of the two practices are radically different; while transgender rights advocates work to "dis-establish" gender from the state, many natural and social scientists hope to discover a unified system of mechanisms which fit all the pieces together to solve the riddle of gender. How do researchers, advocates, and researcher/advocates mediate this conflict between expert discourses and transgender human rights claims? This talk explores this conflict in three case studies: sex designation on birth certificates, the regulation of gender norms in schools, and sex discrimination claims in the workplace.

January 24, 2008
Crossing Borders: Linking Local Struggles with Transnational Politics
Nancy Naples
, Professor of Sociology, Univeristy of Connecticut

This talk considers how borders shape our vision of social justice in an increasingly global context. How have activists and activist scholars challenged the borders that are maintained to create divisions among us? How have boundary-maintaining strategies limited our world view and our ability to develop creative approaches to addressing inequality, oppression, and violence? How do activist scholars participate in as well as challenge the boundary-maintaining practices of government institutions, policy arenas, and nation states? How can activist scholars help decenter boundaries, including those drawn between academic feminism and feminist activism and between local and transnational politics to generate more inclusive theoretical perspectives, coalition building, and social justice movements?

February 14, 2008
Women's Social Movements and the Public Good
Temma Kaplan
, Professor of History, Rutgers

Movements for the “public good” have united working-class and poorer women all over the world in collective struggles to improve their community’s quality of life. In their efforts to gain sufficient food, proper clothing, adequate shelter, healthy living conditions, environmental stability, and peace, such women have marched, petitioned, and carried out acts of civil disobedience, demanding a state of political well-being in which the public good—by which they generally mean better distribution of social, economic, and political, and cultural resources—might prevail. Focusing on how these movements came about and what they signify, Temma Kaplan, Professor of History at Rutgers, will discuss how these seemingly “spontaneous” women’s campaigns, combining “reasoned public debate” with direct action, became ever more visible over the final three decades of the twenti­eth century and the beginning of the twenty-first.

April 3, 2008
Breathing Life into Ourselves: Personal Stories as Research
Byllye Y. Avery
, Founder, The Avery Institute for Social Change and the National Black Women's Health Imperative (formerly the National Black Women's Health Project)

For the past 25 years Black women have been engaged in telling the stories of their lives, their struggles and triumphs as part of the Black women's health movement. These stories are liberating for the women who tell them as well as the women who listen.  The process of sharing personal stories, some obviously related to women's health, some less so, allows women to become active proponents of their own health.  Active listening to such stories develops awareness of shared experiences and helps to suggest answers for addressing health and social issues. It also provides information for conducting research and understanding the power of acceptance and self esteem in self care and self healing.



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