PREVIEW: 16th Annual Women’s History Conference

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Hello ReVisionist Readers and fellow Women’s Historians,

As spring approaches and Women’s History month right around the corner, we wanted to invite you the annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College on Saturday, March 1st.

The 16th Annual Women’s History Conference, The Newer Normal: Global Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender, seeks to bring together scholars and activists to address historical representations and contemporary issues in order to move the discussion and knowledge of global gender issues forward. The conference comes at a critical time when even though progress has been made, discrimination, oppression, and violence persist and erupts anew.

This issue includes the papers and panels that will be featured at the conference! The conference is open to the public. You can register online at http://www.slc.edu/WHconference2014/register. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, March 1st.

Cheers and Feminism!

The ReVisionist Team

Conference Schedule

The Newer Normal:
Global Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender
Saturday March 1, 2014

Featuring Scott Turner Schofield, award-winning performer and transgender activist

The LGBT movement has claimed advances in the struggle for civil rights, but discrimination against gender non-conformists have been slower to be realized. The 16th Annual Sarah Lawrence College Women’s History Conference seeks to promote an understanding of all aspects of gender identity and expression.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY MARCH 1, 2014

(All panels are in the Heimbold Building unless otherwise stated)

8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Registration
Heimbold Lobby

8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Free Breakfast Reception
Heimbold Lower Lobby

PLENARY SESSION: 10:00 a.m: 

Welcome:

Rona Holub, Director, Women’s History Graduate Program at Sarah Lawrence College

Keynote Speaker:

Scott Turner Schofield, Award-winning performer and transgender activist

LUNCH: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

BREAKOUT SESSION 1: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Round Table Discussion:

Discussion with Non-Binary Transmasculine Undergraduate Students, presented by Trans*Action

Dynamic Consciousness: Shifting Perceptions of Gender and Sexuality Over Time

Moderator: Marion Sader, Sarah Lawrence College

Emilie Egger, Sarah Lawrence College

Beyond the Myths: Gender and Sexuality and the Peruvian Family-Limitation Campaigns of the 1990s

Maureen S. Thompson, Independent Scholar, Lansdale, PA

Celebrating Eros

Nicole Sybesma, Rutgers, Newark

Normative and Non-Normative Queerness in the Middle Ages: What the Roman de la Rose Can Teach Us About the Failure of Binaries

Toni Anne Stewart, Sarah Lawrence College

Reclamation of the Higgler: History of Women in Jamaica’s Informal Economy, Their Embodiment of Labor, Struggle against Public Policy and for Ownership of Space

Gender Identity and the State

Moderator: Erin Hagen, Sarah Lawrence College

Praise J. Mkandawire, Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute

A Prisoner in Our Own Bodies: Anti-Gay Laws

Alexandra Novtiskaya, Independent Scholar

Fear and Loathing in Russia: Building a Nation on Heteronormative Hate

Habiba Boumlik, LaGuardia Community College

Same Sex Marriage and Adoption in France: Contours of a Controversial Law

BREAKOUT SESSION 2: 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Navigating Anti-Trans Prejudice

Darryl B. Hill, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Anti-Trans Prejudice: Some Theory and Experimental Evidence

Robert Carney, Rutgers University

Transgendering Research Methodology and the Health Needs of the Fa’afafine in American Samoa

Bekkah Olson, Sarah Lawrence College

Peeing While Trans*: The Politics of Androgynous and Transmasculine Bodies In and Around Gendered Bathrooms

Performing Gender

Moderator: Kathryn Hearst, Sarah Lawrence College

Sam Schmitt, Texas Women’s University

My Big Fat Transition: Chaz Bono, The Politics of Transmasculine Visibility and Positing the Sizest Undercurrents of Transnormativity.

Emily Rogers, Sarah Lawrence College

“Mom, I’m Like Kurt”: GLAAD, Glee and Representing “The Real” on Television

James William Trich, Sarah Lawrence College
From the Mouths of Drag Queens: Gender Performance and Paris is Burning

Workshop:

Gender 101: Dismantling the Gender Hegemony, presented byHarry Barrick and Deane Silsby, Sarah Lawrence College

Performing Gender and Sexuality from Shakespeare to Henry James

Moderator James Horowitz

Rachel Molland, Sarah Lawrence College

Triangles are Sexy: Understanding Triangular Narratives of Male

Sexuality in Marlowe and Shakespeare

Teresa Jeanne Campbell, Sarah Lawrence College

To Feel or Not to Feel?: Theories of Female Performance in the Early

English Novel

Mary Baker,

Sarah Lawrence College

Henry James and the Supernatural Closet

Plenary Session 2: 4:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Workshop:

Be/Coming: Gender, Sexuality in Feminist Experience Presented by Scott Turner Schofield and Jessica Lynn Johnson

A secular transman who came of age (and came a lot) in a feminist and gay liberation context meets a traditional, conservative Christian heterosexual woman saving it for Jesus – and the two fell madly in love. Join these two performers for some critically-acclaimed storytelling about one very queer journey through arguably the most difficult closet to come out of in a feminist, academic, activist context. Bring your own experience to the table as the presenters take aim at dismantling prejudice to make space to talk about gender, interfaith paths to sexual agency, and the role of spirit in the fight for our lives, our bodies, and the justice we all claim to seek.

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PANEL: Performing Gender and Sexuality from Shakespeare to Henry James

Saturday, March 1, 2014 2:45PM

Triangles are Sexy: Understanding Triangular Narratives of Male Sexuality in Marlowe and Shakespeare

Rachel Molland, Sarah Lawrence College

To Feel or Not to Feel?: Theories of Female Performance in the Early English Novel

Teresa Jeanne Campbell, Sarah Lawrence College

Henry James and the Supernatural Closet

Mary Baker,Sarah Lawrence College

PANEL: Navigating Anti-Trans Prejudice

Saturday, March 1, 2014 2:45PM

Anti-Trans Prejudice: Some Theory and Experimental Evidence

Darryl B. Hill, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Anti-trans prejudice is a negative judgment based on an assessment of a person as trans. Anti-trans prejudice is thought to be an individual expression of the cultural belief of genderism, the idea that there are only two natural genders and that they are very different. It is crucial to understand genderism in order to undermine its negative effects. Several theories give insight into how genderism is created, pointing to threatened beliefs about the nature of the family, religion, and values. This usually occurs in very specific realms. I discuss two major studies regarding perceptions and treatment of trans people, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and what insight they give into preventing mistreatment of trans people.

Transgendering Research Methodology and the Health Needs of the Fa’afafine in American Samoa

Robert Carney, Rutgers University

Since the early years of anthropological ethnography, the Samoan third gender community, fa’afafine, has been the subject of much  research. Complex gender theories and etiologies have been developed at their expense, and little to no studies exist assessing their health status and health needs. This paper seeks to discuss this disparity in how research is applied or not applied to help the communities whose experiences generated the data. First we will review the research that has been done on fa’afafine and illuminate how the methodology has created a paradigm of etiology-centric research, which obscures health data needed to create interventions for the community. We will then discuss possible needs that arise from the cultural contexts of fa’afafines regarding many health and social issues. Finally, we will provide suggestions for a gender variant affirmative methodology that can be used to conduct research for public health initiatives with gender variant communities globally, whether fa’afafine in Samoa or transgender peoples in the U.S.

Peeing While Trans*: The Politics of Androgynous and Transmasculine Bodies In and Around Gendered Bathrooms

Bekkah Olson, Sarah Lawrence College

Gendered public bathrooms are an everyday problem for many gender transgressive individuals. This paper explores individual and legislative issues of public bathrooms as gender-segregated spaces as they relate to trans bodies, specifically the bodies of FAAB (female-assigned at birth) transmasculine individual. Information is drawn from newspaper articles and editorials, government records, documentary film, critical essays, and personal interviews. Many factors determine not only which bathroom a trans individual may chose to enter and how being in that space causes one to behave. Ultimately, I argue that current gay movements serve gay, cisgender people only and that queer movements are more inclusive, assert trans people as their leaders, and address intersections of multiple oppressions.

Workshop: Gender 101 and Be/Coming: Gender

Saturday, March 1, 2014 2:45PM

Gender 101: Dismantling the Gender Hegemony, presented by Harry Barrick and Deane Silsby, Sarah Lawrence College

The goal is this workshop is to give participants a basic understanding of gender and gender-related terms so that they can talk about gender identities in an informed way. The workshop is intended to define basic terms such as Trans*gender, cisgender, gender identity, gender expression, agender, genderqueer, transition, and their importance to the facilitation of dialogue about gender. It seeks to instill knowledge about the nuances between sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality and how all of those things interact. The workshop hopes to foster an understanding not only of gender as a gender concept but of gender as it relates to the participants in the workshop. It seeks to foster a conversation about the perceived notions of gender and gender constructs.

Saturday, March 1, 2014 4:45PM

Be/Coming: Gender, Sexuality in Feminist Experience Presented by Scott Turner Schofield and Jessica Lynn Johnson

A secular transman who came of age (and came a lot) in a feminist and gay liberation context meets a traditional, conservative Christian heterosexual woman saving it for Jesus – and the two fell madly in love. Join these two performers for some critically-acclaimed storytelling about one very queer journey through arguably the most difficult closet to come out of in a feminist, academic, activist context. Bring your own experience to the table as the presenters take aim at dismantling prejudice to make space to talk about gender, interfaith paths to sexual agency, and the role of spirit in the fight for our lives, our bodies, and the justice we all claim to seek.

PANEL: Gender Identity and the State

Saturday, March 1, 2014 1:00PM

A Prisoner in Our Own Bodies: Anti-Gay Laws

Praise J. Mkandawire, Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute

Praise Mkandawire is a representative of the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute (EFLI) which is an initiative that works to promote leadership in young women through self-empowerment, connection with others and activism within their communities. Praise’s presentation is an account of her personal and professional experiences with law and gender identity within the context of her Malawian culture and with African Services Committee.  In New York City, she works with African immigrants and helps them with legal services, housing assistance, case management, STD testing and many other important resources. She also works with UN AIDS which works to serve the LGBTQ individuals who have sought asylum in America and introduces them to resources that are available to them.

Fear and Loathing in Russia: Building a Nation on Heteronormative Hate

Alexandra Novtiskaya, Independent Scholar

This presentation covers the current issues of the homophobic campaign carried by the state of Russia and the LGBT community’s resistance to it. It analyzes how the state attempts to form an identity, drawing on irrational and emotional fear and hatred towards the Others, mostly LGBT community and the reasons behind such politics. The most common explanation for Russia’s reactionary politics against its own LGBT citizen is that are an “easy picking”. The presentation explores how the old concept of Russian difference from the West is combined with the fear of the Other in relation to the LGBT community. She examines the public discourse around anti-gay legislation in Russia, with special attention to the role of official religion in facilitating the hateful ideology. The situation in Russia presents a unique opportunity to assess in real time how oppressive mechanisms of the authoritarian state create a national identity around the hatred towards the LGBT community.

Same Sex Marriage and Adoption in France: Contours of a Controversial Law

Habiba Boumlik, LaGuardia Community College

One may think that France, of all European countries, would be the first one to allow same-sex marriage. Wouldn’t its revolutionary heritage constitute the exemplary foundation for game and lesbian equal rights? It is surprising that France, not only authorized gay marriage just recently in May 2013, becoming the 14th country to legitimatize it, but also faced a long and hostile opposition to it.  In fact, many attempts to legalize same-sex marriage have failed in the past. For example, the first same-sex marriage was celebrated in 2004, but the mayor who celebrated it was suspended for a month. More attempts were made in 2006 and 2011.

In understanding the French hostility toward the same-sex marriage, this presentation focuses on the initial law tying same-sex marriage to adoption, and on its outcomes. The paper argues that same-sex marriage is yet another contentious issue that polarized the French people for ideological reasons that involve the people’s own perception of identity.

PANEL: Dynamic Consciousness: Shifting Perceptions of Gender and Sexuality Over Time

Saturday, March 1, 2014 1:00 PM

Beyond the Myths: Gender and Sexuality and the Peruvian Family-Limitation Campaigns of the 1990s

Emilie Egger, Sarah Lawrence College

This presentation explores perceptions of female sexuality in Cusco, Peru between 1996- 1999. The research is based on the conversation surrounding coerced sterilization and other reproductive measures directed at Cusquena women during the time period and analyzed through the lenses of race, gender and class. It engages questions proposed by other historians of family limitation and reproductive abuse, the Fujimori administration in Peru in the final years of the 20th century, and texts regarding historical perceptions of motherhood and female sexuality in Cusco. The core question of this research project is to explore what the many discussions around family-limitation practices tell observers about perceptions of sexuality and gender of women in Cusco, Peru in the last decade of the 20th century. The discussion includes the women on whom these measures were enacted, the government officials who designed them, the practitioners who enacted them, the whistleblowers who were outraged over these practices, and the international entities observing from afar. She argues that the layered perceptions of motherhood and gender across economic and social class played a role in how these practices were perceived and enacted in Cusco.

Celebrating Eros

Maureen S. Thompson, Independent Scholar, Lansdale, PA

Although Eros is considered the Greek god of love, Eros is also equated with physical or sexual love. Many ancient civilizations celebrated sexual love and its manifestations. Eros represented desire, physical intimacy, creativity, and life instinct. In many ancient civilizations homosexual relationships were considered acceptable, if not desirable. In general, polytheistic societies were more accepting of sexuality, including homosexuality, than monotheistic societies. This presentation will compare and contrast the attitudes towards sexuality in both ancient and modern societies, within the context of polytheistic and monotheistic traditions. It will explore Eros through art and literature, and attempt to explain how dualities development. Once celebrated and depicted openly in artwork, sexuality was driven underground by a variety of factors, mostly religious in nature. Our modern society is reexamining sexuality and redefining sexual mores in an attempt to make the word an equitable place for all of its citizens.

Normative and Non-Normative Queerness in the Middle Ages: What the Roman de la Rose Can Teach Us About the Failure of Binaries

Nicole Sybesma, Rutgers, Newark

The Roman de la Rose, a medieval French poem, has attracted critical attention for over 700 years, often for its purported misogynist sentiments. However, the text’s gender relations prove far more complex than a simple prescription of misogyny can uncover. As one of the most lasting works in literature, the ambiguity of the modern gender norms demands further scrutiny. By examining the medieval chivalric code of conduct among men and between genders, particularly in the romantic tradition, we are able to understand that the queer relationship between Jealousy (represented as female) and the Welcome (male) and Fair Welcome and the Narrative (male) are considered normative in many respects. By establishing non-normative an normative forms of the queer in the middle ages and by exploring their interaction with one another, we come to a better understanding of the failure of the gender binary throughout time in a period we often considered peculiarly “straight.”

Reclamation of the Higgler: History of Women in Jamaica’s Informal Economy, Their Embodiment of Labor, Struggle against Public Policy and for Ownership of Space

Toni Anne Stewart, Sarah Lawrence College

This presentation explores the history of black Jamaican higglers (ICIs1) and their identity formation connected to the places women in their profession have worked for decades, Downtown Kingston. These women’s historical and cultural roots, as a well as place attachment, to the streets and markets of Downtown Kingston have helped define and redefine their identity and life of work. Black Jamaican higglers’ (ICIs) identity and place attachment to these areas are historically illuminated by their ongoing tension with the local government’s efforts to displace the higgler women from these areas. The paper explores the ongoing negotiation between the higgler women and the Jamaican state in the fight to define and “own” the spaces of Downtown Kingston. The tension extends in the media as both sides of the conflict become boisterous in expressing who has the “right” to define the spaces of Downtown Kingston. The identity and body of higgler (ICIs) women have not only become a part of the discourse about the space, but they have taken on the space they inhabit and all its character and “pollutants” as a part of their body. The existence and persistence of the higgler women pose a strong and historical challenge to this continuing slave narrative of black women labor in the neocolonial state of Jamaica. They engaged this public fight with the local St Andrew and Kingston government as marginalized women who refuse to stay in the margins, “disposable Third World” women who refused to stay disposed.

Keynte speaker: Scott Turner Schofield

Scott Turner Schofield is a man who was a woman, a lesbian turned (mostly) straight guy who people often think is a gay teenager. In addition to conducting popular effective workshops

 

SScott photo

on gender issues through a Trans* lens, Schofield has toured his original, critically-acclaimed solo performances “Underground Transit, “Debutante Balls,” and “Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps” internationally since 2002. His book Two Truths and a Lie is taught in dozens of universities as a classic-but-different transgender narrative and was a Lambda Literary Award finalists in the Drama and Transgender categories. He has made several television appearances, served as host in many venues, and conducted various acting training workshops.

Two Truths