Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS) faculty, staff, and student present at the annual National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference


This year six GWSS faculty, one undergraduate major, and the GWSS librarian all attended the 40th annual National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) conference. Professor Julie Shayne organized a session titled “Using Feminist Pedagogy to Mobilize Knowledge: Zines, Museums, Peer Education, & Pop Feminism.” The panel showcased the work of UWB faculty, staff, and students. Prof Shayne, GWSS librarian Penelope Wood, and GWSS major Nicole Carter co-presented a paper titled “‘Rad Womxn and Femmes in the Pacific Northwest:’ A Zine by Rad Undergrads in a Lower Division GWSS Course,” about their assignment in Prof Shayne’s “Rad Womxn in the Global South” (BIS227) class. Professor Raissa DeSmet presented “Decolonizing Collections: Students in Partnership with The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.” Professor Karen Rosenberg, drawing on her decade-plus expertise as director of UWB’s Writing and Communication Center, presented a paper titled “Power in Peer Education: Integrating Consent Education into Peer Tutor Training.” Finally, Professor Kari Lerum presented a paper titled “‘Who Run the World?’ Mapping global feminisms through popular music,” based on an assignment she does in her version of “Approaches to Feminist Inquiry” (BISGWS 303).

In addition to participating on this panel, Prof Lerum organized a session titled “From hyper-surveillance to abandonment: Sex/uality outlaws respond.” On that panel Prof Lerum presented a paper titled “How sex worker coalitions are responding to FOSTA/SESTA.” Professor Alice Pedersen was also at the NWSA and she presented a paper titled “Buried Histories, Excavated Stories: sexual violence as global violence in Teju Cole’s Open City.” Additionally, Professor Alka Kurian attended and while there she moderated a workshop called “Migratory Discourses: a Transnational Feminist Examination” and presented a paper titled “‘Someone Has … Turned me Into A Strange Beast’ (Perumal Murugam): Protest Writing in India.”

Formal scholarship and pedagogical exchanges however weren’t the only things on these attendees’ agendas. Prof Kurian interviewed renowned Indian feminist author Arundhati Roy for an upcoming episode on her new podcast. Additionally, Prof Shayne attended an all-day workshop hosted by Ms. Magazine about how to write for the popular press. Prof Shayne worked on a piece about the importance of GWSS, especially in the current political era. Both Kurian and Shayne are excited to share their scholarship with the public outside of the university community.

And perhaps most exciting, GWSS had our first student attendee this year! Nicole Carter won an Undergraduate Research Conference Travel Award to attend the conference and called the event “life changing.” In addition to co-presenting with Prof Shayne and Penelope Wood, while there she was interviewed by folks creating the “Most Dangerous Women: The Movie,” met with graduate GWSS programs in hopes of continuing her GWSS education, and helped Prof Shayne manage GWSS’s Instagram account. In short, NWSA hooked her to GWSS and Prof Shayne hopes to bring more undergrads to future conferences. Of the NWSA, Nicole said “Having the opportunity to listen, engage, and contribute to conversations surrounding transformational resistance was motivating, healing, and empowering. I met peers from many different spaces and disciplines and learned so much. The work educators, students, and the like are producing is a direct challenge to the patriarchal power structures many of us have to push back on in order to thrive. I have read Cherríe Moraga‘s words on paper but seeing her SPEAK them- I couldn’t stop crying. The collective power in those rooms, panels, round tables, and plenaries is essential in continuing this work. I have an even deeper appreciation for the sacrifices so many womxn have made to help me be here and I will honor their legacies by continuing the fight.”

You can find a few pictures of GWSSers at the #NWSA2019 and past conferences on GWSS’s facebook page here.

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