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NWSAction National Women’s Studies Association • Vol. 18 No.

1 • Fall 2006 •

doll revolt nwsa girls and their allies

multi-media project





The National Women’s Studies Association

invites applicants for the Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP).

The WoCLP is designed to increase the number of women of color

students and faculty within the field of women’s studies and to have
an impact on the levels of participation and power by women of color
in program administration and development, NWSA, and in the field
of women’s studies as a whole.

Program benefits include:

• Valuable networking and professional development opportunities within
the Women of Color Caucus (WoCC), the Program Administration and
Development (PAD) Committee, and other NWSA groups
• The support, companionship, and advocacy of the NWSA WoCC
• Opportunities to engage with established and aspiring women of color
committed to leadership in women’s studies and NWSA
• Opportunities to serve as a conduit for other women of color, particularly
young women, and promote their involvement in women’s studies
• One-year complimentary membership in NWSA for first-time WoCLP participants
• Complimentary registration for the NWSA general conference and the
PAD pre-conference for first-time WoCLP participants

Women of color in women’s studies, ethnic studies, or related fields may apply
if they aspire to leadership within women’s studies or NWSA.
Applicants may include graduate students, faculty, and current program administrators
who wish to be more involved in program or Association leadership.

The NWSA 28th annual conference will be held in

St. Charles, Illinois from June 28-July 1, 2007.

For additional details contact Nana Osei-Kofi,

WoCLP Coordinator, at

Apply online at

Applications are due April 1, 2007
NWSAction National Women’s Studies Association
Vol. 18 No. 1 • Fall 2006

National Women’s
Studies Association
7100 Baltimore Ave, Suite 502
College Park MD 20740

Executive Director NWSA 30th Anniversary...............................................................................4

Allison Kimmich From The NWSA President............................................................................5
Tel: (301) 403-0525 Fax: (301) 403 4137 NWSA Director Of Meetings Position Search.................................................6
From The NWSA Executive Director............................................................7
Executive Administrator
Loretta Younger Chick Lit 101.................................................................................................12
Tel: (301) 403-0525 Fax: (301) 403 4137
A Brief Account Of Gender And Women’s Status In Bangladesh................13
Homing At NWSA: Women Of Color Leadership Project...........................18
Barb Howe Girl-Centered Artworks Inaugurate The Doll Revolt Virtual Gallery.................20 Denice Denton : A Memorial Tribute.............................................................22 "Overwhelmed"
Director, Center for Women’s Studies
A Feminist Perspective On Body Worlds.........................................................24 by Mary Nangah (pg 20)
West Virginia University
PO Box 6201 Representations Of Feminism..............................................................26
Morgantown, WV 26506
Tel:304-293-2339 This Is What A Feminist (Internship) Looks Like............................................27
Vice President Sticks And Stones Name Calling, Gender, and Leadership...................28
Yi-Chun Tricia Lin NWSA Joins Ms. Academic Project And Committee Of Scholars................29
Director, Women’s Studies Program NWSA joins the Informed Meetings Exchange (inmex).............................29
Southern Connecticut State University Membership forms for 2007..........................................................................31
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT, 06515 Conference Reviews:
Tel: 203-392-6133 Fat Studies: New Field Gets Intro At NWSA Critical Issues Session.................34
Secretary Living Feminism At The NWSA Conference.....................................................35
Pat Washington
Reflections On Rebecca: ‘Openness’ And NWSA.........................................37 Kneeling Lady (front)
4537 Alamo Drive Building An Anti-imperialist Feminist Democracy...........................................39 Body Worlds (pg 25)
San Diego, CA 92115
Tel: 619 -582-5383 Mothering As Resistance/Activism/Social Change.....................................41
Feminist Science Studies...............................................................................43
Treasurer and
Finance Committee Chair New Books..............................................................................................46 -57
Jo Trigilo New Video..............................................................................................58-59
Simmons College, Philosophy Dept,
Stop Dreaming — Keep Working V...........................................................60
C-310B, 300 The Fenway, Positions Open..................................................................................61
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-521-2247 Call For Papers/Conferences.....................................................................62

NWSAction Editor
Who's What! Accolades For NWSA Members...........................................63-65 WoCLP success in
Valda Lewis On The 'Net.............................................................................................66 Oakland (pg18)
3240 Rumson Rd
Cleveland Heights OH 44118
Tel: (216) 932 4304
NWSAction is an international newsmagazine provided free to NWSA members.
NWSAction invites contributions from individual and institutional members in the following areas: papers/workshops
you present rewritten as articles of interest to the general membership; op-ed articles; effective speakers/performance
Advertising information:
artists articles; calls for conference papers and announcements; position openings related to women’s/gender studies
Visit: and Centers; new book or media announcements for NWSA members; articles from members outside the U.S. about their experiences; articles of interest to women’s studies practitioners, librarians and activists.
for guidelines and rate sheet The opinions expressed here are those of the authors only.
They do not necessarily represent the views of the National Women’s Studies Association.
Submission Guidelines Send via email to 500 words or less. Please include YOUR NAME, return
address and phone number(s) on the article itself. Longer articles accepted but may be subject to editing. NWSAction is produced twice a year. Deadlines: February 15th, and September 15th. Send submissions to:

By Judith Roy, Immediate Past President

Century College
NWSA turns 30 in 2007! The organization was born in the constituencies. Members of the committee are: Brenda Bethman,
heady days of 1977, arguably a historical high point of optimism Women’s Centers Chair; Nupur Chaudhuri, Education Outreach
about achieving greater gender equality. Creating a National Chair; Maurice Hamington, Fundraising Chair; Melissa Knight,
Women’s Studies Association at that point reflected this optimism. Lesbian Caucus; Rachel Murphy, Graduate Student Caucus Co-Chair;
Relatively few Women’s Studies programs or departments existed Judith Roy, Past President 2005-2006; and Pat Washington, Women
then, but NWSA supported the growth of Women’s Studies and of Color Caucus Co-Chair. We expect to have a representative from
new forms of knowledge production in the academy. the Undergraduate Student Caucus soon.
Now, thirty years later, NWSA looks back but also looks From founding members to new student members, we want to
forward. The theme for the 2007 conference, “Past Debates, hear from you! We want to be multigenerational and international in
Present Possibilities, Future Feminisms”, illustrates that goal and the scope, keeping in mind necessary budget and staff time constraints,
conference will be a major venue for celebrating the anniversary. of course. Brainstorm with your colleagues and with us. Do you
However, we want to mark this milestone throughout the entire have memorabilia or pictures? Do you have a vision for the next
year and in as many ways as possible. 30 years of NWSA? Please send your ideas and information to me
To that end, I’ve agreed to chair a small 30th Anniversary at With your help, we’ll make this a fabulous
Committee which will seek out ideas and input from all of NWSA’s and important anniversary year for NWSA.

NWSA Offers Estate Planning Options

Gifts through your estate provide important benefits to you and the National Women’s Studies Association.
Gifts may be made by will or trust, through which you may direct a specific dollar amount or a percentage
of your estate. In addition, you may direct your gift to support a particular program of interest to you.

Through your gift you can:

• Provide enduring critical support for the leading national organization dedicated to advancing feminist
education, scholarship, service, and community activism
• Make a gift without depleting current income
• Honor or memorialize a loved one through a bequest
• Support NWSA programs or projects of your choice
• Reduce or eliminate estate taxes

If you have included NWSA in your will or trust, you are eligible for membership in the National Women’s Studies
Association Planned Giving Circle. The Planned Giving Circle recognizes the valuable contributions of friends who
include the National Women’s Studies Association in their estate plans. Most important, you will become a member
of a dedicated group that is committed to furthering the goals of the National Women’s Studies Association.

To learn more about planned giving, please visit or call the National Women’s
Studies Association at (301) 403-0524 and speak to Executive Director Allison Kimmich.

4 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Barb Howe, President, NWSA

West Virginia University

It is a great pleasure to write my first column as the new • NWSA must be an organization that welcomes everyone
president of NWSA, as we get ready to celebrate our 30th anniversary doing women’s studies in the academy and community. There was
at the 2007 conference. As a historian, I know memory affects our a good meeting of the Ph.D. program directors in Oakland, and
understanding of the past. There are many, many perspectives on the Program Administration and Development Advisory Council
NWSA’s history, and this is a time to hear from those who helped continues to grow and expand its list of activities. Check out
make NWSA the premiere organization for women’s studies. I do the web site at for all the
hope many of you who have been part of that history will come to committee opportunities. We will have a student pre-conference
this special meeting so we may learn from you, and, if you have not in 2007, thanks to the initiative of Moya Bailey, Takkara Brunson,
attended a conference recently, so you can see how we have grown. Leana Cabral, Alison Guillory, Anita Russell, Joy Sapinoso, and
Let’s also use this conference as a time to think about our future Fallon Wilson. Thanks to Jo Trigilio, the Governing Council will be
NWSA stands poised for significant growth, thanks to funding discussing ways to better include students in NWSA and better meet
from the Ford Foundation. students’ needs as a key item on the January 2007 GC meeting. I
Allison Kimmich, our executive director, has played the key encourage you to discuss this with your constituency groups and
role in working with the Ford Foundation on the successful grant, to share ideas with the GC in advance of that meeting.
which she discusses elsewhere in this issue. I also want to thank • We must continue to strengthen the Women of Color
the members of last year’s executive committee – Judith Roy, Liza Leadership Project (WoCLP). I would like to thank the leadership
Fiol-Matta, Jo Trigilio, Pat Washington, and Catherine Orr – for their team of Tricia Lin, Bridget Harris-Tsemo, and Mel Lewis for offering
work on that proposal. the vision, ideas, and energy that made the 2006 WoCLP a dynamic
Last spring, I set out several goals for NWSA. Since assessment event, and to thank Brenda Bethman for beginning discussions to
is a critical mandate in higher education, I’d like to assess where we include the Women’s Centers Standing Committee in the WoCLP
stand with what I would like to accomplish during this two-year for next year.
term, with a clear recognition that this is a team effort. These goals • We must provide a secure and permanent financial base for
are not mine alone, and they cannot be accomplished alone. NWSA through private fundraising and external grants. Our dues
payments and conference registrations, alone, are not enough to
• We must promote more diversity in NWSA by working with support the services that the organization could otherwise provide,
the constituent groups that represent all the communities in NWSA and external grants, no matter how generous, do not pay the basic
to identify potential future leaders for the organization. This is operating costs. I want to thank Maurice Hamington for the energy
largely the responsibility of Tricia Lin as vice-president. She has he is bringing to the fund-raising committee.
done a phenomenal job helping the groups understand our new
constitutional structure, identifying leaders for each group, and I want to close with heartfelt thanks to the members of the
helping groups write the operational papers we need by the end Governing Council for their assistance, ideas, and energy; to the
of the 2007 conference. national office staff for all their hard work; and to all of you, the
Please see the constituent groups web site at http://www.nwsa. NWSA membership, for we are only as strong as your commitment
org/communities.php, and, when you renew your membership, to NWSA. Finally, I must thank Dr. Judith Gold Stitzel, the founding
sign up for groups that interest you. Then, get involved in the e-mail director of women’s studies at West Virginia University and in West
discussions, organize conference panels, and use these groups as Virginia. Judith welcomed me to WVU when I joined the faculty in
an avenue to greater involvement in NWSA. The graduate student 1980, the year the Women’s Studies Program began, and I would
caucus has asked Helen Klebesadel to mentor that group, and I am not be writing this today if she had not encouraged and supported
pleased that she has agreed to do so. When the undergraduate me ever since. My hope for NWSA is that all members will find the
caucus chooses its new leadership, we will work with them to encouragement and support for their work through NWSA that she
identify potential mentors. continues to give to so many.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 5

About NWSA
With nearly 2,000 individual and institutional members Qualifications:
worldwide, NWSA has been the leading organization dedicated to
advancing feminist scholarship, education, service, and community • At least 2 years of meeting planning experience.
activism for nearly 30 years. NWSA conducts and disseminates • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise in Exhibit Hall
research on graduate programs and trends in women’s and gender development and management.
studies in addition to hosting an annual conference to highlight the • Proficiency with MS Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and
latest issues in feminist scholarship, teaching, and activism. To learn internet applications required.
more about the organization, visit • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and ability to work
with diverse groups.
Director of Meetings Position Description • Exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to influence
The National Women’s Studies Association Director of Meetings and negotiate contracts and vendor relationships.
is responsible for planning, executing, and oversight of the • Demonstrated expertise in budgeting, strategic and tactical
Association’s existing annual conference, which draws more than
1,000 registrants, and would be expected to develop, plan, execute,
• Demonstrated experience working individually and as part
and oversee at least one other national gathering annually in
of a team under tight deadlines.
accordance with the NWSA strategic plan. The Director of Meetings
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively in complex shifting
will also help to develop, plan, execute, and oversee a series of
smaller events, including bi-annual Board meetings, the Women environments.
of Color Leadership Project, and the Stop Dreaming, Keep Working • Excellent verbal and communication skills.
workshop. The Director of Meetings reports directly to the Executive • Proven ability to multi-task.
Director and will work in the College Park, MD office. • Bachelor’s degree required.
• Experience with feminist organizations and/or women’s
She/He will work closely with the Executive Director and the studies a plus.
National Conference Chair (a Board position) to: • Professional C.M.P. designation a plus.
• Develop the overall direction of national meetings
• Work collaboratively to manage and provide staff support Salary and Benefits
to the appropriate volunteers/members as needed to
Salary will be commensurate with experience. This is a one-
improve service delivered and ensure a smooth-running
year grant funded position with the possibility of renewal. NWSA
offers an employer-matched retirement plan, generous vacation
• Coordinate communications with invited speakers and benefits, and the possibility of health insurance.
manage conference scheduling;
• Evaluate and analyze meeting functions to ensure effective How to Apply
work processes and meeting operations.
Submit a resume, a list of three references, and letter of
While the exact requirements for each meeting may vary, the application in which you detail your qualifications for the position.
Director of Meetings is responsible for recommending site locations, No telephone inquiries, please. All applications and questions
coordinating all meeting details i.e. budget, contract negotiations, should be addressed to with the subject line
service negotiations, and physical arrangements, etc. to ensure “Director of Meetings.”
memorable, flawlessly executed events.
Application Deadline: October 31, 2006.
She/He oversees the development and implementation of an
The National Women’s Studies Association is committed
Exhibit Hall, which generates revenue for the National Women’s
to ending racism and all forms of oppression. NWSA does not
Studies Association. The Director of meetings coordinates the
discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity, age, gender,
activities related to conference publications, such as the Conference
gender expression or identity, class, sexual identity, national origin,
Program Book and in coordination with other national staff
disability, or religion, and especially welcomes applications from
members, as needed. She/He ensures the technical and professional
people of color.
direction and assistance is provided to staff and volunteers/members
responsible for specific events during national meetings. She/He
provides direction for the production of audio-visual and other
material needed.

Dear Colleagues,

We have much to celebrate as we look forward to 2007 year: we will inaugurate Engaging Scholarship, four simultaneous
and marking the National Women’s Studies Association’s 30th sessions on Friday intended to address the conference theme and
anniversary. sub-themes and provide opportunities for networking. Invited
I am especially pleased to announce that the National Women’s scholars will explain how their work articulates, engages with,
Studies Association has received a one-year $275,000 grant from and theorizes key issues in the field of women’s and gender studies
The Ford Foundation to build organizational capacity. NWSA will and in today’s world. Session participants will then break out in
initiate a strategic planning process intended to promote its long- discussion sections to explore the various themes and issues in
term sustainability and examine the role of women of color within more detail.
NWSA, expand staffing in the national office to enhance member NWSA is also delighted to introduce the Tribute Panel, a
services, and launch a data collection project dedicated to mapping session format intended to honor past scholarship that has set new
the field of women’s studies in the United States. directions for the field. 2007 will feature a tribute to This Bridge
Called My Back titled Bridge Inscriptions: "Radical Women of Color
The grant will help to create a stronger, Envision—Pasts, Presents, Futures."
intellectually vibrant, increasingly diverse, While the conference promises to be intellectually engaging
and more visible Association and expansive in its scope, you will find that same depth and range
included in these pages. This issue of NWSAction demonstrates the
The grant will help to create a stronger, intellectually vibrant,
interdisciplinary reach of women’s and gender studies scholarship
increasingly diverse, and more visible Association better positioned
and activism; it takes you from the controversial Body Worlds Exhibit
to meet the demands of a field that is flourishing, with strong
at the Science Museum of Minnesota to universities in Dhaka,
growth at the doctoral level, but also facing significant threats in
Bangladesh and inside the virtual exhibition of girl-centered art
the current political climate.
works, the Doll Revolt. This issue also highlights our members’
I hope you will join me in celebrating this generous support
professional accomplishments, with a new feature, “Who’s What?”
from The Ford Foundation, while also acknowledging that the
The column recognizes appointments, promotions, awards and
funding will challenge NWSA to grow strategically, rapidly, and
achievements, and other landmark events.
in pursuit of our mission. Such growth will be possible only with
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the work
strong member support and involvement as NWSA plans for its
of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of
future and keeps pace with changes in the field.
Higher Education. The commission report calls for reforms with
Indeed, we will mark NWSA’s anniversary with a clear vision
important implications for the work of women’s and gender
toward planning for the Association’s next 30 years (and beyond).
studies practitioners, including restructuring the student financial
We anticipate an individual gift campaign, special web tools and
aid system and measuring and reporting meaningful student
resources, and have dedicated our conference theme to honoring
learning outcomes. Implementing the commission report will fall
our anniversary.
to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who is expected to
“Past Debates, Present Possibilities, Future Feminisms: A
lay out a plan this fall.
Women’s and Gender Studies Conference Celebrating 30 Years of
To learn more about the Commission on the Future of Higher
NWSA” will provide opportunities both to revisit past debates in
Education, please visit
light of today’s priorities and to chart possible futures for feminisms
in the academy and beyond. Feminist inquiry within women’s and
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about future directions
gender studies has broken new ground in the past three decades,
for NWSA’s next 30 years.
while facing key social, political, and scholarly challenges. NWSA’s
conference will take place from June 28-July 1, 2007 in St. Charles,
Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
NWSA is pleased to announce two new session formats this
Allison B. Kimmich, Executive Director

NWSAction/Fall 2006 7
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Brenda Bethman
Texas A&M University

Ten years ago, Helen Fielding’s at the Southwest/Texas Popular &

novel Bridget Jones’s Diary took the American Culture Associations 2007
publishing world by storm and a conference.
genre was born. Based on columns In my view, the growing body of
Fielding wrote for The Independent courses and scholarship will prove to
(and later The Daily Telegraph), the be very useful for women’s studies.
novel was a worldwide bestseller, Despite its limitations, I have found
and was followed by a sequel, Bridget teaching chick lit to be a fruitful way to
Jones: The Edge of Reason and film engage my students in, as Ferris and
adaptations of both novels. Along Young put it, an “intergenerational
with texts such as Candace Bushnell’s discussion of feminism.” While we
Sex and the City and Melissa Bank’s may not agree on what Bridget Jones
The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Fielding’s novel is considered means for contemporary womanhood, she has proven to be an
a founding text of the “singleton” novel or chick lit genre. While excellent place to start talking about that meaning.
literary critics and publishing industry observers periodically predict
the death of chick lit, the genre is as popular as ever, with high sales, Courses / Research
new sub-genres (mommy lit, young adult chick lit, mystery chick Below is a partial list of answers to an inquiry sent to WMST-L,
lit, etc.), and the recent publication of two handbooks on how to asking how women’s studies faculty and students are incorporating
write chick lit. chick lit into their courses and/or scholarship:
Nonetheless, chick lit has had a difficult time finding respect in • Jo-Ann Pilardi, Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at
the academy. As Suzanne Ferris and Mallory Young have pointed Towson University incorporates material on chick lit into her course
out, one reason for feminists’ reluctance to engage with chick “American Women and Popular Culture.”
lit could be precisely its “tremendous popularity. The obvious • Andrea Braithwaite, a Ph.D. candidate at McGill University,
commercial success of chick lit and its inescapable marketing teaches a section on chick lit in her “Media and Culture” course
ploys—covers in pink or fluorescent green, highlighted with flirty, and is writing her dissertation on the “chick dick” (female detectives
fashionable accessories like purses or high heels— surely cause some with chick lit characteristics).
critics to dismiss it as frivolous or formulaic.” Ferris and Young also • Caroline Smith, Assistant Professor of Writing, The George
discovered a “generational gap” when working on their edited book Washington University, is teaching a course titled: “Chick Lit: Writing
of essays on chick lit, with younger scholars much more likely to About Women’s ‘Literature.’ ”
be interested in working on or teaching chick lit, sometimes to the • Brenda Bethman, Texas A&M University, is offering a junior-
dismay of their professors and mentors. They see this as part of the level honors seminar on “Flirting with the ‘F-Word’: Chick Lit,
generational conflict of feminism versus postfeminism (or second Feminism, and Postfeminism.”
versus third wave).
Slowly, however, the study of chick lit is gaining popularity Further Reading
among women’s studies scholars. When researching the teaching Ferris, Suzanne, and Mallory Young, eds. Chick Lit: The New
of and writing on chick lit for this article, I discovered that both Woman’s Fiction. New York; London: Routledge, 2006.
Harvard and Tania Modleski (at the University of Southern California) Freitas, Donna. Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality
are offering courses that at least partially engage with chick lit, for the Bridget Jones in All of Us. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005
indicating that study of the genre is gaining respectability. On Whelehan, Imelda. The Feminist Bestseller: From Sex and the
the scholarly front, there is Ferris and Young’s volume of essays, Single Girl to Sex and the City. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan,
a growing number of articles and panels, and even its own area 2005.

12 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Colette Morrow, Past President, NWSA

International Task Force Co-Chair

The monsoon season and I arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh about One will be in feminist theories and literature with an emphasis
the same time in early July. After a week I wondered if I would ever on postcolonialism. The department is eager to develop faculty
see the sun again but it soon returned (albeit off and on between exchanges that will support this initiative.
torrential downpours) and I was immersed in my work at North
South University (NSU), BRAC University, and Dhaka University (DU). 3. EL-Pro English Language Program, BRAC University
Altogether I made more than 10 presentations—teaching sessions or BRAC University’s El-Pro English Language Program, founded
more formal talks—on American literature, Women’s/Gender Studies last year, provides students intensive English language instruction
and Feminism in the U.S., and gender and communication (U.S. that integrates skill building in speaking, listening, reading and
English). I also met numerous women active in Non-Governmental writing. Students who attended Bangla-medium high schools,
Organizations (NGOs) or independently undertaken grassroots usually low-income students whose families could not afford
work as well as representatives of the media, private, English-medium high schools, are the
human rights organizations, and other areas of principle beneficiaries of this program because
the private and public sectors in Bangladesh. BRAC courses are delivered in English, as is the
I included information about the practice at most Bangladeshi universities.
National Women’s Studies Association and El-Pro is refining its composition program
the NWSA Journal in all of my presentations and is seeking interns who are specialists in
and, when appropriate, in conversations composition for English language learners.
with Bangladeshi faculty, administrators, El-Pro also would like to develop faculty and
students, activists, members of the media, advanced graduate student exchanges for the
and others. purpose of enriching its overall curriculum and
especially composition
Opportunities for U.S.-Bangladesh
Individual and Institutional Partnerships 4. Books for Bangladesh
The following projects were identified as high priority, and Dhaka University’s faculty in English and Women’s and Gender
anyone wishing to contribute to them is invited to contact me, Studies would appreciate donations of books in Chicano/a literature
Colette Morrow, at and Women’s and Gender Studies.

1.Dhaka University Women’s and Gender Studies Department 5. Fulbright Scholar Opportunities: Long- and Short-Term
Members of DU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department Short- as well as long-term Fulbright Scholarships are available
are eager to network with other practitioners to develop new in Bangladesh. General information is available at http://www.
courses and enhance existing courses at DU. The department I am happy to share more details and provide direct
was founded in 2002 and is the only one in the country (as well contacts to institutions that would like to host a Fulbright Scholar
as the only university to offer a degree in Women’s and Gender (an institutional letter of invitation is required to apply). Specialists
Studies). Faculty expertise lies primarily in sociology and history, in all fields are encouraged to apply and Dhaka University includes
and they are especially interested in global/transnational feminist a wide array of academic programs.
theories and post-colonial perspectives.
A Brief Account of Gender and Women’s Status in Bangladesh
2. Feminist Theories/Literature M.A, Department of English, BRAC I do not wish to suggest that I have any particular expertise in
University Bangladesh Studies. Indeed, NWSA member Fauzia Ahmed, the new
BRAC University’s Department of English is developing a Director of Women’s Studies at Indiana University in Pennsylvania,
master’s degree in English that will have three streams/tracks. Continued on pg. 14

NWSAction/Fall 2006 13

Continued from pg. 13

has written extensively on Bangladesh and the impact of the and most victims (women and female and male children) are
garment industry, which relies on sweatshop labor, on women. trafficked to Calcutta. NGOs have an impressive record in this area,
Other scholars have examined NGOs in Bangladesh from gendered but some leaders noted that they are at risk for retribution from
perspectives. highly organized sex trafficking syndicates. Overall they report
Nonetheless, I would like to relay some of the things that that the government is fairly responsive to this problem but that
Bangladeshi women told me about gender and Bangladeshi pervasive corruption blunts its effectiveness.
society. Of greatest concern is the fact that 95% of Bangladeshis Of course, it was noted that Bangladeshi women experience
are poor. There is widespread agreement that reducing poverty gender and other oppressions differently depending on their class
rates in Bangladesh is the most important strategy for reducing status and religious affiliation in particular.
oppression. One oft-invoked strategy for reducing poverty was
holistic education capable of developing the “whole person” rather Practices for NWSA to Consider
than basic literacy programs. The level of organization that characterized Bangladeshi NGOs
Another challenge that Bangladeshi women identified is that, as was impressive. I was struck by the high level of resources that
in Iraq, family law is governed by a citizen’s religious affiliation. For national NGOs dedicated to regional and local organizing. This
example, Catholics are prohibited from re-marrying after divorce. dual national-local focus, I was advised, has been key to successful
Additionally, women do not have the right of inheritance. There is legislative advocacy and other forms of social change action.
widespread concern that conservative social structures, especially Coordinated, responsible media coverage of women’s NGOs
women’s role in the family and the stratified class system, oppress was conspicuous in Bangladesh during my visit. Also notable
Bangladeshi women. was the visibility of feminist journalists as members of women’s
Some women advocated working within religious organizations groups/NGOs. I concluded that cultivating media contacts and
to educate their leaders about faith-based mandates to respect training Women’s Studies practitioners how to interact with the
women, which then can be taught to male followers. Many women press effectively should be a high priority in NWSA.
agreed that Bangladeshi women need to be educated about their Concerns about the growing influence (on culture and
rights in secular and religious laws so that women can utilize them government) of extremist religions worldwide suggest that U.S.
more effectively. Other women advocated for secular governance feminists would do well to become a stronger presence in the
and expressed grave concern about growing religious extremism global feminist debate about how to respond to this challenge.
in Bangladesh and worldwide. These proponents suggested that The two models that I observed in Bangladesh were working
secularism is crucial for the protection of religious minorities’ rights, inside organized religions—reforming them through education—
especially indigenous populations. and opposing the theocratization of government. Deliberately
Like women in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches
Bangladeshi women have a double burden in that they continue and envisioning others would be beneficial to U.S. feminists.
to have most of the responsibility for maintaining the household Finally, I was shocked how widespread was the belief that U.S.
and rearing children. Bangladeshi women noted that their neo-imperialism is supported by U.S. feminists. Of course, this is
double burden is made more difficult by cultural conventions largely due to George W. Bush’s exploitative linking of women’s
that unreasonably and unfairly blame mothers for a wide variety rights and democracy to justify the invasion of Iraq. That his
of problems and failures, even when the mother has little or no message rather than feminists’ nearly universal opposition to neo-
connection to the issue. However, opting out of marriage is not imperialism and the Iraq war is what the world hears indicates how
an option for many women because it’s a stigma to be divorced critical it is to become more savvy in our dealings with the press.
or never married. It also suggests that U.S. feminists should redouble our efforts to
Sex trafficking is a significant problem in Bangladesh and is dialogue with feminists around the world as we undertake our
linked to the high poverty rate. Bangladesh is a “sending” country anti-oppression work.

14 NWSAction/Fall 2006
Selling Women Short
Gender and Money on Wall Street
Rocked by a flurry of high-profile sex discrimination lawsuits in the
1990s, Wall Street was supposed to have cleaned up its act. It hasn’t.
Selling Women Short is a powerful new indictment of how America’s
financial capital has swept enduring discriminatory practices under the
rug. Comparing the experiences of men and women who began their
careers on Wall Street in the late 1990s, Louise Roth finds not only that
women earn an average of 29% less—but that they are shunted into less
lucrative career paths, are not promoted, and are denied the best clients.
Selling Women Short closes with Roth’s frank advice on how to tackle
the problem.
“This first-rate work is poised to join a small circle of influential books
tackling the question of how gender inequality persists amid the
avowedly merit-based segments of the American economy. Clearly
presented and written in an engaging style, Selling Women Short is
the only book I have seen that compares ‘successful’ and ‘derailed’
women and men, thus making it possible to disentangle the influence of
gender from other, more ‘gender neutral’ factors that shape the career
trajectories of workers in high-powered jobs.”
“Louise Marie Roth provides a thorough
—Kathleen Gerson, coauthor of The Time Divide: Work, Family, and
analysis of sex discrimination on Gender Inequality
Wall Street, with implications far
Cloth $27.95 0-691-12643-7 Due November
beyond the financial sector.”
—Martha Burk,
National Council of Women’s Organizations

Women in the Middle East

Past and Present
Written by a pioneer in the field of Middle Eastern women’s history,
Women in the Middle East is a concise, comprehensive, and authoritative
history of the lives of the region’s women since the rise of Islam.
Positioning women within their individual economic situations, identities,
families, and geographies, Nikki R. Keddie examines the experiences of
women in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, in Iran, and in all the Arab
countries. Keddie discusses the interaction of a changing Islam with
political, cultural, and socioeconomic developments. In doing so, she
shows that, like other major religions, Islam incorporated ideas and
practices of male superiority but also provoked challenges to them.
“Women in the Middle East is a broad, accessible book that deals superbly
well with the existing historical literature. It is also an intriguing experiment
in combining genres from a pioneer of Middle Eastern women’s history.”
—Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University
Paper $24.95 0-691-12863-4
Cloth $60.00 0-691-11610-5 Due December

“This intriguing book brings together the scholarship of one of the great
pioneers and advocates of Middle Eastern women’s history and offers
a fresh synthesis that integrates the literature of the past three decades
into a single narrative. As such, it has no competitors.”
—Beth Baron, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Princeton University Press 800-777-4726 • Read excerpts at

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The University of North Carolina at Greensboro launches

Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies program

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is home

to the new, and only, Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies
program available between Baltimore and Atlanta. Launched
with 10 students, the first generation of the program consists
of a diverse student body with undergraduate degrees from the
University of Nigeria to SUNY-Brockport. The Women’s and Gender
Studies Master’s program is interdisciplinary in design, allowing a
personalized course of study and building upon UNCG’s historical
mission as the Woman’s College of North Carolina. The new MA
program is unique in offering three concentrations to prepare
graduates for professional employment or for further study: a
Some of the 10 Students from the first MA program
concentration in Gender and Health, a concentration in Gender and in Women and Gender Studies at UNCG.
Community Leadership, and an individually designed concentration
developed in close consultation with a faculty advisor. A series of to address these and similar problems, particularly as they are
professional development courses prepares graduate students for impacted by and even created by gender and ethnic differences. The
careers outside the academy. new Master’s Program is unique in offering students preparation
The master’s program seeks to respond to social needs on a for careers outside the academy. Program development has
global scale. Globalization and migration have dramatically changed been founded by the council of Graduate Schools and the Ford
communities and families in the United States and abroad. These Foundation.
changes have significant effects on gender roles and have created More than 40 WGS faculty have contributed to the program
many new challenges for governments, for the health-care delivery development with over 30 currently teaching core and cross-
system and for families. The master’s degree proposes to train listed course. For more information about the program
graduates to develop, assess, and implement programs designed visit

16 NWSAction/Fall 2006
C Spark classroom
Introducing Ms. in your classroom helps keep students up-to-date with the
current women’s movement and its issues, and sparks continuing interest.

Ms. magazine is unique and it has a

unique place in your classroom. Ms.
uses a race, class and gender lens in
its coverage of a variety of arenas, both
globally and nationally, including public
policy, environment, arts and culture,
law, health, money and economics, as
well as in special investigative reports.

Ms. promotes the work of feminist

scholars in several ways. Ms. publishes
articles that present feminist research
in a format that is readily accessible
to feminist activists, policy makers,
campuses, and the general public.
The Ms. calendar of events includes
women's studies conferences and
meetings in the United States and
around the world. Plus Ms. reviews
many women's studies scholarly books.

As you prepare your curriculum, we’ve created new ways to use Ms.

The new Intro to Ms. Program can be used as a contemporary reader for classroom discussions, assignments,
and extra credit just as the Wall Str
Wall eet Jour
Street nal is used in many business courses. Each semester we will package
together the 3 most recent Ms. issues. W We’ll include a coupon for your students to receive a complimentary copy
of the Ms. issue that is published during the semester—so your students will receive 4 current issues of Ms.
for the student discounted rate of just $18 (regular fee is $25). With the fee, students will also receive emails
on breaking issues and calendar events. Participating in the Intro to Ms. Program will expose your students
to a feminist news source on a local, national, and international level.

The Ms. Classic Pak includes two commemorative 30th Anniversary issues of Ms.—Reporting, Rebelling &
Truthtelling features timeless, non-fiction articles on breakthrough topics from the first thirty years with updates,
as well as the Best of 30 Y oduce your W
Years: Fiction & Poetry. Just $15, this is a great way to introduce Women's Studies
students to feminist actions of the 70s, 80s and 90s. This ofoffer also enables students to join Ms. at a special rate.

If you have any questions call the Ms. team at 866.444.3652

or email

By Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, NWSA Vice President

Southern Connecticut State University

“The dream is the truth. lives—and as if we had gone to

Then [women] act and do NWSA always already together.
things accordingly.” This is how we solidif ied
— Zora Neale Hurston, sisterhood and how we found
Their Eyes Were Watching home in NWSA away from our
God (New York: Harper & home and home institutions.
Row, 1990) My personal tale of WoCLP
It was the dream of a journeying in NWSA is not
better NWSA, the dream exactly the beginning of WoCLP.
of woman’s studies for all, In 1999, PAD Committee and
the dream of a better world the Women of Color Caucus
with sisters of all colors and (WoCC) formed this joint
persuasions that turned my initiative, inviting applicants
attendance—and others’—at for the WoCLP. It is designed to
the 2005 NWSA conference increase the number of women
into a pivotal moment in of color students and faculty
my participation in NWSA. (L -R) WoCLP Chairs Nana Osei-Kofi, Mel Michelle Lewis, Bridget Harris-Tsemo within the field of women’s
It all began with the Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP) studies and, consequently, to have an impact on the levels of
luncheon discussion on June 15, 2005, at the Program Administration participation and power by women of color in the PAD, NWSA,
and Development (PAD) Pre-conference. I would learn later that the and in the field of women’s studies as a whole. Applicants, over
luncheon with my WoCLP cohort would send me into a journey of the years, have included graduate students, faculty, and current
great promise—the horizon of which seems infinite. program administrators who wish to be more involved in program
After that WoCLP luncheon in the 2005 pre-conference, we or Association leadership.
would follow each other into conference sessions and panels, For the first five years (2000-2005), Layli Phillips, now at Georgia
listening to each other and exchanging ideas. Then those ideas State University, single-handedly laid the ground and oversaw
followed us into late night discussions. By the end of the 2005 the development of WoCLP. Layli was one of the first faces that
conference, we felt as if we had known each other for half of our welcomed many like me to the 2005 pre-conference—and NWSA.
She had much to do with women like myself who have stayed
firm for women of color leadership issues at NWSA and beyond.
Although she stepped down as the WoCLP Coordinator at the
close of the 2005 NWSA pre-conference, an electrifying bonding
of a group of 15 women or so was about to take place. Bridget
Harris-Tsemo, at University of Iowa, Mel Lewis, at University of
Maryland, and I found each other on a few WoCLP occasions, but
we definitely re-encountered again at the PAD meeting. With Layli’s
departure, Bridget, Mel, and I thus began our coordinating team
of three for the following year, planning for the 2006 NWSA PAD
What a great, productive and fun time Bridget, Mel, and I
had co-coordinating WoCLP for the Oakland conference! Our
Members at a reception for the 2006 WoCLP
partnership was a precious sisterhood in reality. With the help of
with NWSA Vice-President Tricia Lin (center)

18 NWSAction/Fall 2006

the national office and colleagues and plan a WoCLP endowment.

from both PAD Committee and For us, t his enumeration is
Women of Color Caucus, we had a significant, as these various leaderships
full WoCLP plan for NWSA 2006 in and projects point to the future of
Oakland, guided by our vision for WoCLP, a project whose well-being
a better NWSA. All of the WoCLP is intricately interconnected with the
events were well attended and overall well-being of NWSA. Probably
received: from the pre-conference most significant is the emergence of
session, “Women of Color Leading: another coordinating team of three.
A Vision for NWSA” (where Karen With my stepping aside for other
Cardozo shared her thoughts on Andrea Smith addresses a packed house at the responsibilities at the Association, Nana
mentoring women of color) to "Critical Race Theories" session Osei-Kofi (Iowa State University) has
the WoCLP presidential session, joined Bridget and Mel for the planning
“Critical Race Theory” (with M. Jacqui Alexander and Andrea Smith). of the 2007 WoCLP program, in St. Charles, IL.
According to National Conference Chair Catherine Orr, the WoCLP After the conference in Oakland, the great WoCLP energy
presidential session received overwhelmingly positive feedback. In has continued. Lots of coordinating and planning has already
her July 12 memo to the National Conference Committee, she stated, taken place. With such energy, strength, talents, and wisdom,
‘For each Presidential Session, more than 80% of respondents it does seem that the horizon of the WoCLP future is infinite, and
rated the session as “Good,” “Very Good,” or “Excellent”; 94% of I must underscore that the WoCLP future is, without a doubt,
those attending the Critical Race Theories session rated the session the Association’s. Indeed, I am reminded of the following post-
“Good,” “Very Good,” or “Excellent”.’ conference comment from Kim Berry, who directs Women’s Studies
What was most exhilarating to us is witnessing emerging at Humboldt State University:
leaderships and projects out of the 2006 cohort: [M]y time with the WOCLP was the highlight of my time at
1. Jennifer Mata and Nana Osei-Kofi are working on a cluster the conference. As a white woman who is committed to
issue on women of color for NWSA Journal; decolonizing Women’s Studies I felt honored to participate in
2. Bridget Harris-Tsemo, Mel Lewis, and Jennifer Mata the PAD and NWSA sessions that the WOCLP put on. I felt the
are planning a WoCLP pre-conference session for 2007, spirit of a new consciousness in those events—a consciousness
tentatively entitled “Women of Color Leading: Visionaries that Anzaldúa and many other wise women of color have called
Speak to the Past, Present, and Future of NWSA”; for. The combination of powerful critique, transformative
3. Moya Bailey, Joy Sapinoso, Anita Russell, and Fallon Wilson vision, and compassionate support all in one space gave me
have formed a committee including more student members, the hope that we can make change (to paraphrase Audre
planning a pre-conference for all students in NWSA 2007; Lorde) that breaks away from the old models that have not
4. Rachel Murphy has assumed leadership as new co-chair of served us.
the Graduate Student Caucus of NWSA; Comments like Kim’s and many other sisters’ in WoCLP
5. Brenda Bethman, Chair of Women’s Center Committee, and profoundly humble me. I feel deeply fortunate to have these
the WoCLP team have started a discussion on having a joint incredible women accompany and dream with me in this journey
WoCLP session in the pre-conference; of WoCLP, my homing at NWSA. On behalf of all of us, I thank
6. Melissa Knight has joined the NWSA Fundraising you all whose passion, commitment, and presence have shaped
Committee; and become Women of Color Leadership Project in NWSA. With
7. An impromptu fundraising at the 2006 pre-conference, which this note, I, too, invite you, sisters of all colors, to dream with us
brought in over $800 for WoCLP, has prompted us to dream in WoCLP.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 19

By Leisha Jones, Co-Chair, Girls and Their Allies Caucus,

Pennsylvania State University

Girls occupy a much-contested space within the American to chronology, genitals, or

culture machine. It chews them up into tempting bite-sized morsels marketing demographics.
designed to endow all kinds of products with the sexy yet pristine Girl for us is a verb, the
vitality of youth and femininity. However, much like Gretel in the “feminine” in its most
woods shedding a trail with the only thing left to sustain her, girls active form. She acts
mark ways out, through, and around visual landscapes littered with through embodiments
the debris of doll parts and hearts shorn from bodies too often and interpellations of
in flux. They leave trails for each other to follow, sometimes with race, class, age, physical
intention and verve, sometimes as unintentional effect of crime and cerebral capacities,
scene outline. The crumbs response is to disperse and proliferate. genitals, and sex. The
In order to facilitate and showcase the mark making of girls who r e s p o n s e to o u r c a l l
cut their own paths through our visual culture forest, Bonnie for submissions came
MacDonald and I created a virtual gallery sponsored by the Girls over whelmingly from
and Their Allies Caucus another under-represented
of the National Women’s g ro u p — t h e e m e rg i n g
Studies Association called ar tist. Our ar tists are
Doll Revolt. definitely on their way
The Doll Revolt is a somewhere, mirroring the "Overwhelmed" by Mary Nangah
juried virtual gallery where in-betweeness of the girl.
girls can exhibit their works, Most of the artists in our gallery do not have representation yet, so
including a community this venue is potentially an important one for them.
space wiki where girls, In addition to supporting girl artists and girl-centered artworks,
G i r l s St u d i e s s c h o l a r s the Doll Revolt offers a curatorial experiment of form. After debating
and activists, and people numerous ways to design, build, and showcase the art, we turned
interested in new exciting to the works themselves for inspiration. Categories of action
artworks, can congregate. asserted by the works emerged. We decided to organize a tour of
Our call for submissions the site based upon the performative gestures of the girlworks, and
brought a few surprises. settled on nine representative categories: shedding, cathection,
Despite contacting interruption, contiguity, colony, prosthetic, hybrid, multiplicity,
numerous secondary and mimesis, metonymy, and fluid. The category specifics are informed
high schools and girl web by my research on girls and visual culture, including particular
zines, we received very works by Luce Irigaray, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The
little response from the structure through which the categories are generated comes from
presumed demographic Judith Butler’s notion of performativity. Butler offers us a way to
of the girl. Our call for reconfigure constructions of gender and identity in her oft cited
works of art “by and about Gender Trouble and the perfomativity re-dux Bodies That Matter.
girls” did not specify an “Woman” for Butler is not a unified aggregate, but an identity
age because the gallery produced from and constituted by performances of gender.
is founded on the notion Gender is a congealing of repeated acts and stylish machinations
that girl as a theoretical that produce over time the appearance of a cohesive recognizable
"Paper Doll" by Jamie Wallcase
category does not adhere subject. In terms of gender and the “girl,” one is or is not

20 NWSAction/Fall 2006

recognizable as a girl by an other’s Overwhelmed by Mary Nangah comes from

reading of projected codes, much the Colony Tour. The painting reveals the exacting
like the surface of a mirror reflects toll racist standards of beauty have on of girls of
what and how we see into it. The color, as long blonde hairs bind and suffocate a
shape of something like girl is brown girl body in its natural state.
managed from the outside through The final two selections are both from the
the participation and interaction of Hybrid Tour. One of the most disputed terms in
cultural forces on her margins. As postcolonial studies, “hybridity” commonly refers
the notion of performativity can to “the creation of new transcultural forms within
be a powerful tool for configuring the contact zone produced by colonization.”
the unexamined yet ubiquitous Girl as hybrid crossbreeds herself. She takes
surface of gender, we think it is disparate elements from her encounters with and
a great vehicle through which to subjections to the regime of the feminine in order
experience works that interrogate to order her capacities of becoming.
the gendered practices of girls. Natalie Doonan’s Los Mexicanos project
interrogates and reinvents eighteenth-century
The five artworks featured “Casta
here are compelling examples Painting.”
"Prosthesis" by Nikki Moore
from our curatorial experiment. Instead
Jamie Wallace’s Paper Doll, located in the Multiplicity Tour, is of identifying and naming
an excellent example of gender performativity and the girl. With the people according to their
exception of her face, this girl castes, Doonan allows these
is actually comprised entirely Mexcian girls to self-identify,
of paper dolls. She reveals to mark their descendencies,
that girl is indeed comprised to claim the nation state as
of a series of gestures bound marker of personal identity,
and connected by tabs to b ot h o r n e i t h e r. I n t h i s
form a mutable whole. example, the girl names
P r o s t h e s i s by N i k k i herself “Mexicana.”
Moore elucidates the use- Girl is most often identified
value relation between a with the softer side of the
white girl and the Man. Her feminine. Jean Rim’s plush
long shapely legs made sculpture Tied Up highlights
of numerous gesturing the consequences of this
hands, tiled or paned parts association. Jean Rim’s "Tied Up"
separated and disabled from The Doll Revolt will open
their wholes, are things she another round of submissions in the near future. We also hope to
learns to view as tradable take our beta version of the website to a whole new girly level in
commodities. next year’s update. Please stop by and leave us some feedback.
Natalie Doonan’s "Mexicana" Visit:

NWSAction/Fall 2006 21

By Sue V. Rosser, Dean

Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech

On Sunday morning, June 25, the pain from the foot surgery present next, we couldn’t talk further, and she indicated she had to
I had undergone earlier in the week caused me to wake up early, leave to catch her plane. Although we agreed to talk soon, I never
so I got up and read my email. The subject line, “Terrible News” picked up the phone to make that call.
caught my attention immediately. A feminist colleague in computer Denice Denton was known not only for her outstanding
science had sent me the e-mail about Denice Denton’s death the accomplishments as an engineer, but equally for her commitment
day before when she had jumped from the roof of a tall building to diversity, especially for helping women and minorities advance
in San Francisco where she had shared an apartment with her in the field of science. Having experienced gender bias in her own
partner. My colleague’s e-mail simply said, “This is awful. You career, she spoke out continually against bias and discrimination.
knew her, didn’t you?” She was among the first to speak out against Larry Summers when
I read the beginning of the article, “U.C. Santa Cruz Chancellor he questioned women’s scientific abilities.
Jumps to her Death in S.F.” in the San Francisco Chronicle: The author of nearly 100 scholarly journal articles, book
“UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, apparently chapters, and conference papers, Denice earned her B.S., M.S., and
despondent over work and personal issues, died Saturday after Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute
she jumped from the roof of a 42-story San Francisco apartment of Technology. Her research was in microelectromechanical systems
building, police said. Denton’s partner, Gretchen Kalonji, has an (MEMS) as an enabling technology, particularly in life sciences
apartment in the building, property records show. applications. She also worked in the arena of transformational
Denton, a well-regarded engineer, had been named this spring change in higher education.
in a series of articles examining UC management compensation. She She began her career at the University of Wisconsin– Madison
had been criticized for an expensive university-funded renovation in 1987, leaving as professor in the Departments of Electrical &
on her campus home, and for obtaining a UC administrative job Computer Engineering and Chemistry to become Dean of the
for Kalonji.” ( College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering at
Suddenly, a flood of memories interrupted. Conferences, the University of Washington (UW), the first woman to hold such
grants, and publications about women, science, and engineering a position at an NRC-designated Research One university. Denice
had brought Denice and me together many times over the became the ninth chancellor of the University of California, Santa
last decade: The meeting in Montreal on retaining women in Cruz on February 14, 2005.
engineering where we had first met, the WEPAN workshop in At her death, Dr. Denton was a current member of the President’s
D.C., the numerous ADVANCE PI meetings, the January 14, 2005 Committee to select recipients of the National Medal of Science,
Conference at Harvard where Larry Summers delivered his now and the committee to select recipients of the A. T. Waterman Award
infamous remarks, and the meeting at the National Academies in sponsored by the National Science Foundation. She was a fellow
December, 2005. of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the
I thought especially about the last time I had seen her, in Association for Women in Science, and the Institute of Electrical and
February, 2006 in St. Louis at the AAAS Meeting. She had walked Electronics Engineers. She was a member of the National Science
into the session where several of us, including her former colleagues Foundation Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee and a
from the University of Washington where she had served as PI on member of the Visiting Committee for the California Institute of
the grant, were presenting the results of our multi-million dollar Technology Division of Engineering and Applied Science. Formerly,
NSF ADVANCE grants to further the careers of women in science she served as chair of the National Academy of Sciences/National
and engineering. She put her hands on my shoulders, and when Research Council (NAS/NRC) Board on Engineering Education.
I turned, I was surprised to see her and a bit worried about how Among many other prestigious appointments, she was a member
she looked. When I asked how she was, she indicated not so great, of the NRC Committee on Advanced Materials and Fabrication
that she had just had an ovarian cyst removed and that the situation Methods for Microelectromechanical Systems and of MIT’s Advisory
she faced at UC Santa Cruz continued to be rocky. Since I had to Board for Initiatives to Diversify the Professoriate.

22 NWSAction/Fall 2006

In addition to numerous engineering " I ’m g o i n g t o o f fe r yo u a s et o f

and science awards, she earned an recommendations that will cost you nothing
international reputation for effective but courage. They can also be used more
advocacy supporting access to science, broadly well beyond the hallowed halls, and
math, and engineering opportunities thus impact the ‘cross-institutional interlock,’
for women and minorities. In May or as I would say as an electrical engineer,
2004, Denton was among nine scholars ‘the system.’ First of all, we should have zero
honored by the White House with a tolerance for bullying behavior. It should not
Presidential Award for Excellence in be acceptable in the workplace or anywhere
Science, Mathematics, and Engineering else. If you are an academic leader, you should
Mentoring, recognizing her role as a major confront faculty and others who are abusive to
leader in enhancing diversity in science students, staff and other faculty, particularly
and engineering. She had been selected senior faculty. Tenure is not a license to kill.
to receive the Maria Mitchell Women in There are limits to acceptable behavior in the
Science Award for 2006, a prestigious academy. How many of you have seen on an
national recognition of exceptional academic campus, senior people with tenure
work that advances opportunities in the over and over abuse people who are lower than
sciences for women and girls. them in the power structure, and nobody ever
Denise Denton
We are all grappling to understand does anything? Why does that happen? Why
how such a wonderful engineer, leader, and feminist who had do we let that happen? It’s unacceptable.
contributed so much during the 46 short years she lived and who If you have issues with dealing with conflict and you are an
had tremendous potential, could have died in this way. Fellow academic leader, take a class. Get help. Seek support. People don’t
chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey at the University of California, want to confront each other. But we have to. It’s our job. It’s in the
position description. We can learn from conflict. We do learn from
In addition to numerous prestigious conflict. Confront people’s biases. When biases come out if you’re an
engineering and science awards, she earned academic leader or anything else, confront people’s bias. And here
an international reputation for is another one, and this is not a popular one, but I’m just throwing
effective advocacy supporting access to it in there. Support your local senior feminist colleagues, male and
science, math, and engineering female. It’s lonely at the top.” (
opportunities for women and minorities.
Merced had this view of the challenges Denton faced: “She was a Last December, Denice had inspired me when I heard those
gay woman who was a chancellor and an engineer,” she said in an words. I had focused on colleagues and situations at my own
interview. “You know that she came through some pretty difficult institution. In retrospect, I wished very much that I had understood
times, as many people who are breaking down barriers did.” that Denice was also articulating her own needs and feelings. We
As I read the letter sent by President Donna Shalala to be read have lost a wonderful friend, colleague, and advocate for women
by Alice Agogino at the memorial service held at UC-Santa Cruz, the in science and engineering. We must remember to support each
quotation President Shalala included from the closing address that other as feminists, scientists, and academic leaders so that we are
Denice had delivered at the Convocation at the National Academies less lonely.
last December really hit home:

NWSAction/Fall 2006 23

By Cynthia G. Norton, Endowed Professor in the Sciences

Professor of Biology and Women’s Studies, College of St. Catherine

I recently attended Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds have traditionally defined her – uterus, ovaries,
Exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota with several and fallopian tubes, and only these – in the pelvic
colleagues. As a scientist, I expected to be awed by the beauty cavity. And behind her on the wall a banner
and complexity of the human body. And I was awed – the showing much the same image from perhaps
unusual dissections, the portraits of organs in health and disease, 3-400 years ago: a woman in a demure pose,
the sheer number and variety of specimens. These bodies, devoid pony tail lilting, with only her abdominal cavity
of their skin, for the most part, afforded us the opportunity to dissected, as if this was the only internal area
explore the orientation and relative size of organs, the articulation of significance.
of muscles, bones and connective tissue, the intricacies of the At the entrance to the Embryonic and
neural pathways that allow us to move, react, and think, and to Fetal Development room was another
learn how disease may alter form and function. As a biologist, I banner; this one was particularly familiar as
have viewed a few cadavers, but had never seen such detail, nor it is an image I’ve shown to my students for
had the opportunity to look so closely at the individual variation many years to illustrate how female bodies
evident in the many different bodies. The exhibit was enhanced were historically portrayed to indicate the
by inspirational quotes about life, death, and bodies, and banners essential and often exclusively valued
with historical anatomical drawings and artwork. role of women as mothers, bearers of
What I didn’t expect was that my feminist sensibilities would children.
kick in and propel me to address the sexual stereotypes about A woman in a modest pose, one hand
women’s bodies that, even if not intended, are perpetuated by covering her breast, and one her genitalia,
this exhibit. There we were, already in the second main area of surrounded by placentas and embryos. A
the exhibit, and I found myself asking “Where are the women?” classic representation of the idea that a woman
Most of the bodies we had seen were clearly male (even the is defined by her reproductive organs; an
Teacher) – but even those without the prominent display of image linked to the pervasive theory
genitalia were all male as confirmed by the less than 90° angle of that women were incapable of using
the pubic bone. Twelve out of twelve so far. Well, maybe most their brains without harm done
of the bodies donated were male...that could explain it. But even to the uterus. Is this a fitting
the quotes on the walls were from men – Shakespeare, Goethe image to introduce the subject
– and the anatomical drawings were of males too. Archer (front) of prenatal development in
Then we rounded the corner to the display of the 2006?
cardiovascular system – finally a woman, all cut up (Sagittal I had anticipated viewing
Series), but a female nonetheless. Then around the corner to the the next body with reverence and fascination. A woman, knowing
first easily identifiable female – but she is not alone, she is the she might die before delivery, had donated her body and that of
mother in the Blood Vessel Family, and it’s all about her heart and her unborn child. For a biologist who studies reproduction and has
life’s blood. I wondered if we would ever get to see a woman with taught all aspects of pregnancy, embryonic and fetal development,
muscles? Past Frontal 3-D Slice, Jumping Dancer, Ring Gymnast, this seemed a generous gift – so how is it that the anatomist has
and Organ Man. Then finally to the area in which the focus was posed this woman in a seductive pose typical of a Goya or Titian
on reproductive organs... ahh, here were the women – as usual, painting? Although von Hagens says of the Reclining Pregnant
defined by their reproductive organs. In fact, the first woman Woman, “[the] body language of this pose fundamentally differs
with musculature that we encountered was the fairly non-descript from a lascivious provocation in which the head would be thrown
Standing Woman in a demure pose with open abdomen, missing back and the eyes would be enticingly trained on the viewer” – the
a stomach and intestines but clearly showing us the organs which Gestalt image is that of the seductress, subtleties aside, and left me

24 NWSAction/Fall 2006

asking what message this sends to the thousands of visitors who

have viewed this exhibit.
In the last exhibit area there were three more women plastinates
– all athletes – but surprisingly all with skin left on their nipples
and breasts – as if these structures needed highlighting. The poses
are all quite ‘feminine’; the pointed toe on The Archer, the graceful
backbend of The Balance Beam Gymnast, and the attitude of the
woman in the Figure Skating Pair – with a gynecologist’s eye view of
her vulva – the only other part of her body where the skin remained.
These images are in stark contrast to the athletic prowess inherent
in the stances of The Hurdler and The Blocking Goalkeeper. The
bodies of these three female athletes were plastinated in 2005 and
2006, so perhaps we will see more equity in numbers of whole
body plastinates in future exhibits – but for this venue, the disparity

Kneeling Lady (front)

Gunther von Hagens has missed the opportunity to celebrate

the strength and beauty of the female body, to dispel instead of
perpetuate the stereotype of woman as womb, and to educate
the public about the art and science of the human body in a non-
Hurdler (front) sexist way. As he says, in the catalog prepared for the exhibition,
“[d]isplaying these specimens in realistic, life-like poses carries
on the tradition begun by the founding fathers of anatomy”.
Pictures used by permission © Body Worlds Unfortunately, by his choices of position and representation, he has also carried on their tradition of gender bias.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 25

By Dawna Cosme, NWSA Special Projects Intern 2006

Although Sojourner Truth declared, as they should due to their well-tended

“ain’t I a woman,” and the past world journey.
of feminism harkened to her voice, her White female students appear to be
words resonate within today’s academic personally escorted down the feminist
world of feminism, yet go unheard. road and up to the women’s studies altar of
Feminism has grown globally, and acceptance, advanced by the very people
though we are milestones ahead in who embrace and uphold feminist doctrine
recognizing and appreciating women in in all of its glory.
their diversity, some voices aren’t being Once advanced into the world beyond
heard, some truths aren’t being spoken, academia, because she was included,
some faces aren’t being represented. NWSA Summer Interns Elizabeth Curtis & Dawna nurtured and made visible by our leaders,
Those voices, those truths, those faces, Cosme wtih NWSA Office Staffer Reba Davis the white woman often continues to
belong to the black woman. experience great personal and financial
Recently, I accepted a great opportunity to work as an intern for success. It is this success, this very imitation of racist society, which
the National Women’s Studies Association. I am a recent graduate of feminist theory and doctrine wish to escape. Yet, while the white
the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, with a major in writing woman is made visible, promoted to the higher echelons of feminist
and a minor in women’s studies. These experiences allowed me to society, the black woman is left wondering what happened to the
bear direct witness to the face of multiculturalism, as it was made finely-tuned doctrine witnessed during her academic career within
manifest in its various forms. women’s studies. The testimony she frequently heard regarding
Speaking with the few other black women who move within the feminism has momentarily vanished.
women’s studies circle, one will discover that they, myself included, It is within the proposed safety of the women’s studies circle
are yearning for representation, yearning for both a voice and face that the black woman hopes to find her location. What she finds
they can claim for their own. Too often our academic leaders, a in reality is that the nectar is not as sweet as the promised fruit.
majority of whom are white, speak eloquently about the unmet A contradiction exists between the spoken word and its practical
needs and the rights of all women, including the obligation that application. That old saying, “practice what you preach,” quickly
women of all races have to one another. When the time comes to comes to mind when viewing women’s studies departments. These
translate ideas into action, our leaders can fail to put those words unfortunate experiences for the black woman, unlike the white
into practice. woman’s fortunate ones, may be a result of our academic leaders’
Observing the academic environment one soon discovers desire to have themselves mirrored in the women’s studies circle.
that, while much-discussed, diversity is not the actual picture that If this observation proves authentic, that feminism continues to
appears. What does appear are the familiar white faces that the appear consistently white, then feminism in that location fails to
black woman witnesses in society on a daily basis. exist. It is something other than feminism and should be identified
The paved road to feminist empowerment and leadership as such.
is mostly trod upon by the white female majority and made When it comes to feminist practices and women’s studies circles,
possible through the efforts of our academic leaders, intentional the sky has to be the limit. Let us settle for nothing less. Black
or otherwise. These young, white women are continually nurtured people in general understand either waiting for what is rightfully
and their abilities or talents fostered and encouraged, as they theirs or for justice; we have a very long history that has prepared us
continue toward becoming an essential part of the larger feminist well. I was told by a trusted and kind woman that the black female
community. voice and face were, “coming in the pipelines.” My response to
They become highly visible to the larger academic world, and this statement is, “Does anyone have Drano?”
exhibit an almost natural comfortableness with their new location,

26 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Elizabeth M. Curtis, NWSA Special Projects Intern 2006 a project that they are passionate about. To get the most out of
your intern and to allow your intern to get the most out of his/her
What does a feminist internship look like?
experience, allow interns to design their own projects. An office
Many Women’s Studies programs at both the undergraduate
procedures manual that Dawna compiled was a major innovation
and graduate level require practicum courses or programs that
in NWSA office operations. My ongoing teaching resources
focus on experiential learning in the work place. Using my NWSA
collection (
internship as an example, I will outline the major components
will provide a valuable resource for NWSA members. Both of these
that create a feminist internship experience from my point of
projects allowed Dawna and me to apply our skills and lead a major
view. Recognizing that there are many feminisms, I propose five
organizational initiative.
guidelines that can be utilized by students who wish to identify
feminist-friendly internships and by organizations hoping to offer 4. Provide opportunities for career advancement.
feminist-focused internships. For many students, internships serve as a stepping-stone
to other professional opportunities. From resume review to
1. Establish a work environment in which interns are integrated
career counseling, NWSA staffers focused on helping its interns
members of the organization’s team.
contemplate our next career moves. Allison invited Dawna and me
Jokes about interns being buried under envelopes that need
to attend networking meetings with other women’s organizations
to be stuffed highlight some of the occupational hazards of
in the Washington metro-area and these meetings provided us with
interning. The most satisfying internship experiences – for both
valuable contacts. We attended programs that were dedicated to
organizations and interns – are those that incorporate interns into
women’s careers, such as the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Taking
the organization’s larger mission. For example, I understood that
the Lead: From Campus to Congress series or the Woodhull Institute
my contribution as a staffer at the NWSA conference was important
for Ethical Leadership’s Young Women’s Retreat.
to the organization. After the conference ended, I worked with my
fellow intern Dawna Cosme, to create a report summarizing the
5. Show appreciation for the valuable contribution that interns make
conference evaluations that was circulated to the NWSA board of to your organization.
directors and which will guided plans for next year’s conference. Internships often end anticlimactically. Interns get lost in their
course work at the end of the semester or they disappear as they
2. Consciously develop feminist mentoring relationships
relocate to their home or college towns. Setting aside the time to
with interns.
celebrate the end of an intern’s tenure is an important recognition
Traditionally, career advancement often occurs through a
of the intern’s contributions to the organization. Further, when
“good old boys’ network” that creates a pipeline of opportunity.
interns report positive experiences to their peers and highlight
Although it is worthwhile to debate whether feminist communities
how respected they felt as employees, new interns will recruit
want to replicate this model, feminist mentoring can play an
themselves. We NWSA’ers enjoyed carrot cake and conversation
equally important role in feminists’ future careers. All of the NWSA
at the end of the summer. I doubt that any of us would complain
staffers were dedicated to me as a person and as an employee. For
about this chance to hang out and to have fun as a team.
example, Allison Kimmich, the executive director, always took time
Of course, interns and organizations can continue to be
to discuss career options with Dawna and me and arranged times
important resources to each other after internships officially end.
for one-on-one chats over lunch or coffee. Director of Media and
In my case, I have elected to continue working with NWSA the
Technology Valda Lewis patiently taught me how to create an online
teaching resources collection. While I continue to contribute to
web form. The effort different staff members put into my personal
NWSA initiatives, I know that NWSA will offer me an important
development motivated me and I know that my performance at
resource after I complete my M.A. degree in May: references and
NWSA improved because of this attention.
letters of recommendation.
3. Allow interns to develop their own projects based on the personal For me, the above points illustrate what a feminist internship
expertise they bring to your organization. looks like. I look forward to continued conversation about how
Everyone produces better work when they are working on “feminist internships” can be defined.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 27

By Mary Kirk
Metropolitan State University

Mom taught me that “sticks and stones may break my bones, correlation of “maleness” with what makes a “good leader.” Leaders
but words could never hurt me.” Unfortunately, mom was wrong. (and “men”) are direct, determined, dominant, assertive, and task-
Healing from my one broken bone was easy, but recovering from oriented—all D-behaviors. But, “women” are none of these things.
the wounds left by words has been easier said than done. Pun And, women can’t behave “like men” without it costing them.
intended. Sometimes the cost is the hearty laughter of a room full of peers.
My most recent lesson on the power of words occurred at Then, I reflected on a book I had just read, Allan Johnson’s
a week-long leadership academy with 54 university faculty and Privilege, Power and Difference. Johnson reminded me of the ways
administrators. Our first activity was to take the DiSC personality in which our daily interactions can hold the most power, especially
profile. As a women’s studies teacher committed to ending systems when we collude in stereotyping by leaving it unchallenged. I knew
of dominance/oppression, you can imagine my horror when I was that I had no choice but to find a respectful way to challenge this
labeled a D (for “dominator”). We were organized in groups by stereotype. I returned to the group.
type and as the facilitator listed “D” characteristics—direct, decisive, As we broke for lunch, I introduced myself to the man who
authoritative, risk-taking, action-oriented, and eager to question had called the D-woman a B and asked if I could speak with him.
the status quo—a series of flashbacks flickered across the movie We went to an empty room across the hall—I didn’t want to shame
of my mind. I remembered 3-year old friends calling me “bossy,” him. Rationally and unemotionally (like a “man”), I explained the
junior high school classmates telling me I was too pushy, and many impact of the B-word on me and how that characterization makes
work situations where I was criticized for being too direct, too it harder for other D-women to be leaders. His reply began with an
action-oriented, or for just having “the tone.” Now, at 51, a tenured angry defensive retort; so I stopped him, thanked him for listening,
Associate Professor, ready to lead at my university, I was standing and left. There’s more to the story, but I’ll stop here and share what
in the corner of shame next to the D that might as well have stood I learned from this painful encounter with words.
for “dunce.” I couldn’t have felt worse if I’d been crowned with a I learned about the power of internalized sexism. I was
big pointed hat and seated on a stool in the corner while the class reminded that for some of us the greatest damage of the “isms”
pointed and laughed. Little did I know, the laughter was coming. does not lie in external influences; it lies in the harm we do to
We began the next day watching short videos of workplace ourselves by believing these words, and internalizing false ideas
situations. The first showed a woman who sounded exactly like about our identities, our possibilities. I went to this event to learn
me—an unequivocal D. The facilitator stopped the video and how to be a leader, but I discovered the ways in which I already
asked: “So, what letter is she?” A guy behind me said, “She’s a am one. I believe that the best leaders facilitate the creation of
B—you know, for “bitch.” The room erupted in laughter. Another communities of care, respect and appreciation, calling people to
man added, “Yeah, and that tone wouldn’t exactly rock a baby to their highest selves. I realized that I am that kind of leader in my
sleep.” I waited for the facilitator to step in. She didn’t. I began to classrooms. With my students, I don’t allow my ancient emotional
physically shake from the adrenaline fight or flight response, and wounds to be engaged. I learned that I need to make that same
then I slithered my yellow belly out of the room. brave, unemotional choice in communication with my peers. I
After finding a quiet place to reflect, I realized that I’d avoided must leave the old emotional baggage in the lost luggage section
leadership roles during my whole career because I was afraid of and find new ways to open respectful dialog. Just as I do with my
this kind of ridicule. Next, I reflected on an exercise that I use to students, I must also be persistent. Just because someone doesn’t
help students understand institutionalized sexism. I give them two “get it” the first time, doesn’t mean I should quit on them.
surveys (they think they’re getting the same one): one asks them Perhaps the most important lesson is one that I will keep
to identify the characteristics of a “good leader” and the other asks learning again and again because it requires practice. Words do have
them to identify the characteristics of “femaleness” or “maleness” tremendous power, but they only have the power that we choose
as defined by society. Each class reaffirms the painfully consistent to give them. I am a D—and that stands for durable.

28 NWSAction/Fall 2006

NWSA Executive Director Allison Kimmich joined the first special teaching package for
meeting of the Ms. Committee of Scholars in Washington, DC on faculty who wish to recent
Friday, September 29. The Committee has been established as part issues of Ms. in their women’s
of the Ms. Academic Project to make the work of feminist scholars studies courses.
more visible and accessible to a wider audience through newsstands The Ms. Committee
and campus bookstores. of Scholars is intended to
The Ms. Academic Project aims to use feminist research to create provide both formal and
new magazine content and to respond to current social issues and informal editorial input and
policies. Ms. will offer a vehicle to give feminist scholars the voice feedback for Ms. magazine. The 17-member Committee is chaired
they deserve and give Ms. readers information they can use. In by Bonnie Thornton Dill, chair of the Women’s Studies Department
fact, from its first publication in 1971, Ms. has sought to translate at the University of Maryland.
academic research and knowledge for a broader audience, with the If you would like to learn more about the Ms. Academic
goal of creating informed readers and agents for social change. Project, the Committee of Scholars, or how you might contribute
The meeting offered an overview of Ms. magazine and its to the magazine, please contact Allison Kimmich at allison.
website, covered possible topics for inclusion in the magazine or Complete information about the Committee
online, and discussed the Ms. classroom project, which offers a will soon be available at

The National Women’s Studies Association

Joins the Informed Meetings Exchange (inmex)
Here are some other factors NWSA considers
By Catherine Orr when selecting a conference site:
NWSA National Conference Chair Size of Facility: With more than 1,000 participants, 24 breakout
The National Women’s Studies Association is pleased to sessions daily, and a 75-booth exhibit hall, NWSA conferences require
announce that it has joined the Informed Meetings Exchange large hotel spaces with ample meeting and sleeping rooms.
(inmex), an organization founded as an offshoot of the labor Local Support: NWSA relies upon an active local committee
organization UNITE HERE to research, analyze and disseminate to provide intellectual, logistical, in kind, and direct support for its
information about the global hotel industry so that its member annual meetings.
organizations can make informed decisions about how and where Accessibility: NWSA considers whether the site is accessible
their meeting and convention dollars are being spent. for members and participants with disabilities, and whether the
Membership in inmex will help to ensure that Association and site offers affordable eating and housing options for students and
members’ meeting dollars are being spent responsibly in working low income participants.
with hotel corporations that respect their customers and workers. Geographical Diversity: NWSA members are most likely to
NWSA joins more than 100 other organizations in subscribing attend conferences when the meeting takes place within their
to inmex; NWSA has already begun to use inmex resources as it region, thus the Association seeks to vary its meeting locations.
negotiates future conference contracts, including strengthening
language on labor practices and disputes. Of course every meeting site has its strengths and weaknesses,
The Pheasant Run site of our 2007 meeting is a unionized hotel, but I hope I have offered some insight into how conference locations
as is the Millennium Hotel in Cincinnati, the proposed site of our are selected. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at
2008 meeting. with ideas or suggestions about future conference sites.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 29
30 NWSAction/Fall 2006
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By Marilyn Wann
Fat Rights Activist, author, "FAT!SO!"

In just the last two fatness. The F -word

years, the interdisciplinary reclaims fat as a neutral
field of fat studies has descriptor (like short/
started to take shape, with tall, young/old, fat/thin)
important implications for and also functions in the
women’s studies. Fat rights community of resistance
activists, people already to weight prejudice as
doing fat studies work, an identity of pride
and people new to the (regardless of what one
concept met at the NWSA weighs).
conference last June for Next, participants
a critical session on fat did Speed Anthropology,
politics. an exercise to brainstorm
The session, called the concepts connected
“Fat Politics: Becoming to fat and thin in
Conscious of—and mainstream American
Liberated from—Weight Marilyn Wann leads the discussion culture. On the thin side
Prejudice,” was led by Sondra of the line, suggestions included terms like: happy, successful,
Solovay, JD; Matilda St. John, and me. Sondra Solovay is an attorney, attractive, in control, hungry, healthy, active, and good. On the fat
founder of the FLARE project (Fat Legal Advocacy, Rights, and side of the line, people suggested common associations such as:
Education), author of Tipping the Scales of Justice: Fighting Weight- stupid, smelly, lazy, ugly, sexually undesirable, poor, unhealthy,
Based Discrimination, and co-editor with San Diego State University and bad. After this brief but attention-grabbing picture of weight
women’s studies professor Esther Rothblum of a forthcoming prejudice, Sondra Solovay then discussed the intersectionality of
anthology, The Fat Studies Reader. Matilda St. John, MFT, is a oppressions.
therapist who works from the Health At Every Size approach. With When she was a student at UC-Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of
her writing partner Beth Bernstein, MFT, she contributes hard- Law, Solovay could find no professors willing to oversee her research
hitting articles about fat identity in the mainstream media to Bitch: on weight discrimination, except for a visiting professor in queer
a Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Matilda leads a fat women’s studies. Historically, the people who are likely to extend resources
hiphop dance troupe called the Phat Fly Girls (part of Big Moves to new civil rights movements are those who have also needed to
dance organization). I am a longtime fat rights activist, weight make a claim on existing academic and social institutions on their
diversity speaker, and author of the book FAT!SO?—Because You own issues.
Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size! Participants made excellent observations about the crucial
To establish a basic introduction to concepts in fat pride coalition between people doing women’s studies work and people
community, I began the session with the kind of diversity doing fat studies work, the overlap between the two fields in terms
presentation I do on college campuses nationwide. First, we all said of subject matter, and the ways that fat studies can challenge people
the F-word: fat. We talked about other terms commonly used to in women’s studies to expand understanding of “the body” and of
describe people who are larger than average and how these options embodiment, and also to expand political consciousness. The field
are stigmatizing and/or medicalizing. “Overweight,” “obese,” and of fat studies promises to make a contribution both to theoretical
the possible euphemisms—plus-size, heavy, thick, chubby, husky, approaches to embodiment and to civil rights for people of all sizes.
Rubenesque, etc.—all participate in negative assumptions about In both aspects, it is a true sister to the field of women’s studies.

34 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Simon’s Rock College of Bard

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Just back from a trip to northern

California for the National Women’s
Studies Association conference.
The NWSA is the only national
organization dedicated to Women’s
Studies professors and Women’s
Center directors, and for me it was
exhilarating to be in such hardy
feminist company for a few days. Being
an "out" feminist is often a lonely post,
and women’s studies is hardly the most
admired academic discipline, so to feel
the power of numbers and solidarity
was definitely invigorating.
The conference opened with Opening Keynote, with Rebecca Walker
the keynote from Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker’s beautiful young for their neglect of family in favor of political engagement, came
daughter, author of the anthology To Be Real, the very first "Third out strongly on the final point: that "children cannot survive on
Wave" anthologies of the 1990’s, and Black, White and Jewish, a political theory."
memoir of growing up bi-racial, bi-coastal, and bi-cultural in the Walker’s advice for how to address these issues was unsatisfying
1980’s. Rebecca is a practicing Buddhist (she named her son Tenzin, for many in the audience. She was criticized for focusing too much
after the Dalai Lama), and in good Buddhist fashion she did not give on the biological family; several women stood up to argue that the
many answers, but she did pose some interesting questions. biological family needs to be redefined, that ties of affiliation (the
She posited that the feminist movement has been "plagued family we choose, rather the one we were born into) are at least as
by divisiveness," and is now "stalled." Part of the blame, she said, important as biological ties.
is the movement’s "unhealthy success model," wherein "women Walker stood her ground. "We have become too invested in not
who are successful politically are broken personally." It is crucial talking about the power of the biological family," she said. "The
to the movement that: deconstructed family can be over-idealized."
• feminism be inclusive As she went on, Walker injected a note of urgency to her
• men be brought in as visible strategists speech, which was largely delivered verbatim, without reliance on
• leadership be dispersed and democratic notes. "I’m very concerned about the survival of humanity, and
• activists maintain healthy family ties about the survival of what makes us human--compassion," she
Each of these points names a familiar problem of the feminist said. "The feminist movement is behind the times now, we need
movement over the years. The NWSA itself has long been criticized a true visionary plan of action to make us relevant again. And it’s
by women of color for not being inclusive enough. The question of important to focus on the children or we’re going to lose them, as
how to bring men in effectively as allies remains unsolved. There is we are losing them now."
a tendency in the feminist movement, as in many other movements, Drawing on the work of her mentor bell hooks, whom she
to gravitate around a celebrity "star," and give up individual agency invoked several times, Walker argued for a position of "radical
in the spell of her orbit. And Rebecca Walker, as a "movement openness" to new ideas, and a focus on results. "We must assume
child" who criticized her own parents pretty harshly in her memoir
Continued on pg 36

NWSAction/Fall 2006 35

Continued from pg 35
responsibility for communicating our agenda, and own our power Alexander concluded by calling for what she called a "poetics
to create language that will have the impact we want," she said. of landscape," in which feminists "tell the stories of our lives, in
She suggested that feminists focus on "communicating with people order to create habitable spaces where the analytic, the political and
outside our rarified environment," in strong, accessible language the divine can all mingle. We need to allow ourselves to be moved
that will help us "reach the Baptists in Arkansa — that’s who we sufficiently to act," she said. "We need to lay siege to Empire — to
need to reach." shame it, to mock it, and ultimately to transform it with the fiery
At the other end of the conference, and in an entirely different power of our own stories."
register, was the talk given by M. Jacqui Alexander, the dynamic Taken together, Walker and Alexander re-validated the
Black Caribbean feminist now teaching at the University of Toronto. longstanding feminist mantra that "the personal is political." We
Alexander’s talk, delivered in an incantatory style that had the cannot "do politics" in the world without starting at home--home
audience roaring with appreciation, focused on the specifics of our defined both as our own families and communities, and our nation
political moment, and how feminists need to respond. in the global community.
"U.S. feminists have been neglectful in taking on the state," At the very last plenary session of
Alexander asserted. "Do we want a free-market feminism, or a the conference, Julia Sudbury, a young
liberatory feminism? The real question is, since we know that Black transnational feminist whose
there is no theory that is not autobiography, are we prepared to personal trajectory has taken her from
live differently?" Nigeria, to London, the U.S., Canada
This question echoed Walker’s focus on "living feminism," but and back again to Mills College in
where Rebecca talked about giving time to her child, Alexander’s Oakland CA, gave a rousing talk about the
talk was dedicated to the bigger picture. dangers of Empire, at home and abroad.
"Who should be the subjects of feminism? The most Discussing the "transnational military Julia Sudbury
marginalized — that is to say, the lives of most of the people in the prison industrial complex," she decried
world," Alexander insisted. "We don’t have to rescue Third World "penal warehousing" as a means of dealing with unemployed
women, or use them as case studies— we need solidarity, and it youth, with $60 billion a year spent on prisons in the U.S. alone.
doesn’t happen behind our desks." "We need to remind ourselves that all social justice issues are
Alexander picked up on the remarks of an earlier speaker, Native feminist issues," she said. "Our task as Women’s Studies teachers
American activist Andrea Smith, who described American higher is to engage students as agents of resistance, here, where they are.
education as "the academic industrial complex." "Are we going to We need to challenge them to understand their position in Empire,
continue to disappear into detention centers in Women’s Studies?" and translate their anger into action."
Alexander demanded. "And what about the militarized zones inside Interestingly, Sudbury ended on the same note as Alexander
ourselves? Who is denied entry there? did: invoking the spiritual as part and parcel of the political.
"The academic industrial complex requires a profound silence "Bringing the sacred into political vision is a transgressive act
that it defines as collegiality," she said to loud applause. "The today," she said. "We can’t abandon the language of the sacred
question is, what are the costs? We chase citizenship and entry at to the state-sanctioned religions. We need to come out spiritually
institutions that want to deny us entry," she continued, alluding as radical political people, to our students and to others. We don’t
quietly to her own unsuccessful battle for tenure at The New School have to leave ourselves at the classroom door."
in New York. "We can be disappeared instantaneously on our own All I can say to that is--Amen!
campuses. The constant potential for disappearance should not For more blogs from Dr. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
make us disappear others, and we should not disappear ourselves. Visit the Crossroads "Where women worldwide meet to share
"The question we need to ask ourselves is, what kind of patriot are ideas, perspectives, and wisdom."
you going to be?"

36 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Jessica Nathanson
Augustana College
Rebecca Walker’s keynote speech at NWSA this year may live
on in my memory as the oddest moment I’ve ever had at an NWSA
conference. She had a large audience, and we were all eager to
hear her, but her talk – and our response – was disastrous. It was
not because her comments were not always well-matched to their
audience. It was only partially due to her manner of delivery. What
stands out to me as especially worthy of note is the way in which
we as an audience responded to her and what that says about the
message she came to impart.
In the days following her talk, I found that I spent a lot of time
talking about it with others. Everyone was angry, most at Walker,
but a good-sized minority was angry at NWSA members for their
failure to hear what she was trying to say.
Walker did not give an academic presentation. I hasten to
point out that I don’t believe she should necessarily have had
to. But her approach to the presentation was markedly different
than the audience expected it to be. On the one hand, it was
Rebecca Walker
reasonable to expect that Walker would have prefaced her talk so
that NWSA members, a known contentious and demanding bunch not dependent on the listener being a Buddhist or believing in god
(and I certainly include myself in this description), would have (most Buddhists don’t), as some have argued when I’ve shared
understood how she was framing her ideas. On the other hand, these thoughts. Rather, it is simply dependent upon listening with
it is striking that the professional organization of feminist scholars an open heart and a desire to understand (“deep listening”). Yes,
and activists would hear a different cultural approach to a keynote as feminists and as women, our anger is important. It sustains us.
and react immediately, not with surprise or curiosity or an attempt We feel entitled to it. But when we approach every interaction
to understand, but with defensiveness, anger, and resistance. with “others” braced for anger, ready to find fault, expecting to be
Ultimately, while we have reason to be disappointed in what was erased, then we cannot listen. Instead, we “read” Walker through
a talk without much substance and a speaker unable or unwilling what we knew of her and we misinterpreted her approach: she
to apply her theory of “openness” to real-life examples (other than was lazy. She wasn’t prepared. She was high.
her example of the audience listening to her with an open mind), As I have said, there were certainly problems with her talk. In
our response to her talk illustrated the very resistance to new ideas addition to being an unusual presentation for an academic audience,
and to remaining open to each other of which she spoke. her talk lacked depth, and she seemed to be unfamiliar with some
Walker’s presentation was an example of the Buddhist principle of the concepts she mentioned. For instance, her discussion of
of “skillful speech.” In skillful speech, all speech is mindful. There deconstruction was simplistic – she made the old joke about
are no unnecessary words. There is repetition and there are pauses taking apart ideas until there was nothing left to believe in – and
to allow for reflection. There is a focus on dialogue rather than on it was faulty. After all, she was, in fact, asking us as her audience
a speaker presenting knowledge to listeners (and Walker spoke to to deconstruct our feminist politics, but her own understanding
this at the beginning of her talk). I suspect that, had a Buddhist of deconstruction was not nuanced enough for her to recognize
nun given a similar presentation, the audience would have listened this connection. Likewise, her discussion of pregnancy, birth, and
with more willingness to reach across the gap between the academy motherhood, too, was superficial. It reminded me of others, such
and this “other.” There would have been a basic element of respect as Madonna and Naomi Wolf, who, after experiencing birth, have
there and a willingness to think in new ways. Such a response is
Continued on pg 38

NWSAction/Fall 2006 37

Continued from pg 37

been so overwhelmed by it that they believe they’ve discovered Fifteen years later, then, Walker was here to say, “I told you so,”
something new. (Perhaps it was her vagueness in discussing unfairly blaming feminists for everything from the election of
these topics that led some to misunderstand her as saying that President Bush to the rollback of abortion rights.
we should have babies instead of The problem with Walker’s presentation of the last fifteen
PhDs, that biological families are years of feminism is that her critique of divisiveness as a dangerous
better than non-biological ones, political strategy was not original. As just one example, the
that women are responsible for body of work theorizing identity politics has frequently engaged
the success/failure of their intimate this very idea. And Women’s Studies – the teaching arm of the
relationships. But what I heard feminist movement, let’s remember – had already begun, at the
was far more feminist. I heard her time of Walker’s essay, to integrate men and men’s studies into
say that we should think of PhDs the curriculum, in part because of the political reality of which she
as healthy daughters (the notion spoke. So, at the time of her warning, many of us felt both glad that
of giving birth to a creative and Walker was spreading this message but also annoyed that she was
intellectual being/work). I heard so clearly unaware of the current state of the feminist movement.
her urge us to acknowledge the Not an academic, she did not follow (then or now) our profession’s
unique and powerful bond of expectation that she point to others already doing this work and
biology, not to imply that any other bonds are inferior, but simply originating these ideas.
to name and claim one aspect of women’s experience that feminism Still, I believe that her message was valuable, if flawed. As
has often downplayed (as Andrea O’Reilly stated in her plenary feminists, we don’t have to agree – and I’m not sure that I want us
talk the following day, to positive response). And finally, I heard to. I like the intense and the sincere debates that we have with each
her argue that we should focus on our intimate relationships as other and the way our differences can push us always to be more
much as we focus on our work, not because we, as women, are critical, more expansive in our thought. But it is crucial that we hear
responsible for making these relationships work, but because we are and really understand each other rather than simply dismiss each
social animals and we need to be in relationship and in community other as fuddy-duddy second wavers, ignorant and disrespectful
with others.) third wavers, antisex, or apolitical. Deep listening is not essential
But what I think is most important in understanding why we simply to help us work together to move past the backlash. It
reacted the way we did is the fact that Walker is a celebrity feminist. is essential so that we can understand what our differences are,
In academic circles – let’s be honest – we don’t like celebrity so that we can figure out how we can work in coalition around
feminists. We live and think in a more critical world than they do (I’m these differences. Some of us went to hear Walker hoping to find
not dismissing the critical theory that comes from lived experience, the critical edge that has frequently been missing in prominent
nor do I suggest that only highly theorized feminism should count in third-wave scholarship but present in our conversations with
the academy). Often underappreciated for our own work, we also other third-wavers; others of us went to find out what the heck
resent the money and fame that attends celebrity feminism. Further, third-wave feminism was to begin with. What we found instead
we come out of a context of feminism as community, and to see a was unsettling, a moment of disconnection between celebrity and
few individuals emerge as “leaders” – and not even the individuals academic feminism, between the waves, between deep listening
we might have chosen as our leaders – is equally frustrating. and deep anger. We are, as she told us, “behind time”; we must
To make matters worse, Walker positioned herself as the savior think “way outside the box.” It was in this moment that we found
of feminism, reminding us that she had “sounded an alarm fifteen the energy and the strength and the provocation to keep talking
years” earlier about the need to move beyond “divisiveness” in and talking for days. It is out of these moments that we begin the
the women’s movement. She had warned us at that time that an dialogues that keep us moving forward.
enormous backlash would follow if we could not pull together.

38 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Sanjukta Ghosh
Castleton Vermont State College

I n t h e i r s we e p i n g a n d She called for a dismantling of

g ra n d p o l i t i c o - p h i l o s o p h i c feminist theory, pedagogy or
treatise Empire, Michael Hardt praxis that does not attempt
and Antonio Negri argue that to remove U.S. women from
imperialism in its classical sense the center stage. She said U.S.
has almost disappeared today. women should be seen and
In its place a new empire has placed in a more proportionate
emerged, one that is diffused relationship to women globally.
and decentred, incorporating Yet at the same time she cautioned
the entire globe. The economics us against decentering all U.S.
of globalization, Hardt and Negri women, for that would once again
assert, is at the center of this new marginalize poor women, women
imperialist project. How can we of color and indigenous women
resist empire within our own here at home.
localized politics? Zillah Eisenstein and Julia Sudbury Using what she said was
In her presentation titled Nawal el Sadaawi’s notion of
“Globalized Punishment, U.S. linking the global to the local
Empire and the Challenge of Actvist Scholarship” Julia Sudbury (though the term actually predates el Sadaawi’s use of it and
provides us with a framework to do just that. Speaking at the going back to grassroots struggles in Malaysia), she urged feminist
2006 NWSA plenary session on “Empire, Global Political Conflicts, scholar-activists to always think of making connections between
& Resistance,” Sudbury said that a truly anti-imperialist framework the devastation experienced by working class communities of color
should make visible simultaneously the devastation wrought by here and by people in the global South.
empire both “there” and “here.” This trope of linking the local to the Sudbury, whose previous work Global Lockdown challenged us
global was threaded through her entire talk whether the reference to think beyond the limits of national borders to critique the role
was to the privilege of our locations, the military industrial prison of race, citizenship, global capitalism and military occupation in
complex or teaching Women’s Studies. the expansion of prison regimes, argued that cross-border capital
Sudbury said one of the chief challenges to Women’s Studies was today engaged in the creation of a global gulag. The secret
had been the recent use of patriotism as xenophobia. This, she detentions, interrogations, disappearances and torture of hundreds
argued, justified military aggression and assassinations abroad and of Muslim men in London, Canada, the U.S. and Guantanamo
political repression and racial profiling at home. Problematizing pointed to the evolution of a transnational military prison industrial
the “national,” she said the term had been invoked by the current complex.
administration to rationalize the invasion of other countries or Building on Angela Davis’s influential work on the prison
impose a system of global apartheid through borders, as in the industrial complex, Sudbury reiterated that the process by which
phrase “national security” and “national economic interests.” some people were warehoused as criminals was one of the chief
In other words, in the age of empire, “national” had become a ways in which global capital and U.S. empire had neutralized and
codeword for imperial. disenfranchised communities of color and erased surplus workers.
Sudbury urged scholars and activists within the National She said the symbiotic relationship between the state and the
Women’s Studies Association to rid the word of its imperial private sector translated prison expansion into corporate profit,
connotations by becoming traitors of empire. By engaging in anti- campaign donations and electoral victory. She reminded us that
racist and anti-imperialist struggles in the very heart of empire we
could become both national as well as race traitors, she asserted. Continued on pg 40

NWSAction/Fall 2006 39

Continued from pg 39

the United States leads the world in incarceration globally. There and sexual preference are seen as more stable, static and pre-defined
are 200,000 women in prisons today up from 7,600 in 1970. Of than gender, it is perhaps gender that is more resistant to change.
these, two-thirds are women of color. In other words, gender rigidifies sex and it regulates biological sex
This boom in locking people up in “penal warehouses” (a and sexual preference. The body and sexuality is more multiple,
phrase more accurate than the commonly-used “correctional ambiguous and diverse than the construct of gender allows, she
facility”), Sudbury argued, revealed the important relationship added. Thus, neither sex nor gender are simply essentialist or
between incarceration, neo-liberal globalization and empire -- free constructed, but a complex relational mix. Gender, then, colonizes
trade for some had made others surplus to the needs of the global sex.
economy. It is this complex, nuanced argument about gender and sex
Given the exponential growth of the prison system here and that allowed Eisenstein to move into her next point about using the
abroad, Sudbury identified the military industrial prison complex as discourse of women’s rights for imperial goals. Both the Afghan and
a key site where students could engage in a “glocal” anti-imperialist Iraq wars, she argued, were tied to initiatives about freeing women
struggle. By building solidarity with women behind bars and by from abusive situations under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.
politicizing their own experiences of criminal injustice, students Human rights, and with them women’s rights, then were tied to the
could learn to bear witness to the domestic face of empire. rationalization of globalization. Indeed, women’s rights have long
Using Jacqui Alexander’s vision of a spirit-based politics and been linked to Western democracy as a way of legitimizing this way
her idea of a pedagogy of “crossing over”(2005), she chastised of political organization for the rest of the world. But as a matter of
“Western world of secular feminism” for eschewing the realm of fact it is masculinist militarism that uses women’s rights for its own
the spirit. “We lose a great deal when we abandon the language right-wing agenda and fundamentalisms, Eisenstein stressed.
of spirit to those who use it to justify violence and domination,” Militarized masculinity needs a feminine gendered complement
she added. and each keeps the other in place. However, masculinist militarism
Alexander’s directive for us to espouse a spirit-based politics can absorb femininity, but not those who defy gender differentiation.
came at NWSA’s 2004 conference where both she and one of the Because gender fluidity is written on women’s bodies more often
preeminent theorists of military and gender Cynthia Enloe spoke than on men’s, the process of re-gendering femininity is more
about women’s place in the new age of empire. At that plenary two common than the process of re-gendering masculinity. This means
years ago, Enloe told us that the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison that women become more like men, but men do not become like
in Iraq needed a “feminist curiosity” and that such a curiosity was women.
missing from the great texts on empire. This gives rise to the notion of female as decoy. Gender bending,
Zillah Eisenstein’s presentation on “Sexual decoys in Imperial particularly in terms of femininity creates women as decoys for
Democracy” is just the answer to Enloe’s clarion call for a “feminist democracy. As Eisenstein pointed out this anti-democratic war has
curiosity.” a woman’s face — Karen Hughes, Condoleeza Rice, General Janice
Eisenstein’s main thesis is that the Bush Administration has Karpinski etc. Women’s presence supposedly represents the Western
deployed gender as a decoy for democracy. The war in Iraq, the notion of freedom and democracy while actually constructing the
sexual tortures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, and the newest stage of U.S, imperialist politics, she argued.
sexual and racial conquests at this imperial moment all weave a The war also uses people of color. Arab men become unmanly
revealing narrative about how gender has become a decoy. This while anti-war activists become girlie men. Because imperial
argument rests on a distinction fundamental to women’s studies democracy is defined by sexual and racial conquest, gendering
-- that between gender and sex. becomes war in another form. Muslim men were described as being
Building on the classic distinction between gender as cultural “sexually humiliated” in Abu Ghraib and white women were used
construct and sex as biological, Eisenstein argued that though sex to “pussywhip” these Muslim men. Eisenstein said men who were
Continued on pg 45

40 NWSAction/Fall 2006

Glynis Carr
Bucknell University

Andrea O’Reilly the central caregiver of

and Gwendolyn Mink her children and that
d e l i ve re d ro u s i n g children require full-time
plenar y addresses mothering; and that
on the subject of when mothers must work
mothering to a outside the home they
packed house at the should place a higher
National Women’s priority on their children
Studies Association than their work.
Conference, Oakland “Intensive
CA, June 2006. motherhood”
Andrea O’Reilly incorporates all these
is Associate Professor aspects of sacrif icial
of Women’s Studies motherhood as well as a
Andrea O'Reilly addresses the audience
at York University, new (consumerist) belief
Canada, author or editor of several books, including Mother Outlaws that to raise children requires extensive amounts of time, energy,
(2004), Toni Morrison and Motherhood (2004), Motherhood (2005), and money.
and founder of the Association for Research on Mothering. O’Reilly O’Reilly argued that intensive motherhood denies the agency,
began her talk with a quote from Adrienne Rich’s influential Of autonomy, authority, and authenticity of women and because it
Woman Born, in which Rich describes herself as a “conspirator and does so, it is bad for mothers, children, and society as a whole. In
an outlaw from the institution of motherhood.” O’Reilly analyzed O’Reilly’s view, the discourse of intensive motherhood emerged
the classic distinction made there by Rich between “motherhood” during the late 1980s as a backlash narrative that functions to
and “mothering,” a distinction elaborated by subsequent scholars of inhibit women psychologically and regulate women’s social role,
motherhood. “Motherhood” is a patriarchal institution that attempts for example by discouraging labor force participation.
to ensure that women’s reproductive potential and her relationship It is a patriarchal response to women’s increased economic and
to her children remains under male control. “Motherhood” is social independence, greater labor force participation, greater rates
thus a male-defined site of oppression, while “mothering” is the of divorce, improved education, and similar factors.
experience of mothers which, when female-defined and female- O’Reilly’s work is designed to promote feminist models,
centered, may be empowering to women. O’Reilly’s scholarship, theories, and practices of mothering. She is constructing a counter-
she explained, is a response to Rich’s call for a theory and practice narrative of mothering that rests on the concept of empowerment
of empowered mothering, outlaw motherhood. of women as mothers. This mode of mothering, O’Reilly contends,
We know more about what empowered mothering is positions mothers as agents, values the work of mothering, and
not: it is not patriarchal motherhood. O’Reilly next sketched a recognizes that both mothers and children benefit when mothers
history of dominant discourses and practices of mothering in the are empowered. When mothering is practiced in ways that increase
twentieth century, discourses against which women are measured, the agency, autonomy, authority, and authenticity of women,
regulated, and pathologized. “Sacrificial motherhood” emerged mothering becomes a site for the practice of politics, a form of
as the dominant notion of good mothering after WWII and was activism.
transformed into “intensive motherhood” by the late 1980s. Three Mothers can and do reclaim the powers denied them by
ideas characterize sacrificial motherhood: that mothering is natural patriarchal motherhood.
to women and essential to her being; that the mother must be
Continued on pg 42

NWSAction/Fall 2006 41

Continued from pg 41

Empowered mothers challenge the six attributes of intensive patriarchal families in which the father is major breadwinner, head
mothering. Empowered mothering can therefore be a cultural and of household, and moral center. Policy-makers do not ask about
political enterprise, a site of power from which women do affect mothers’ preferences or needs in questions of whether and how
change. Empowered mothering, O’Reilly concluded, is better for to involve their child’s biological father. Instead, current policies
children. assume that mothers’ legitimate concerns, such as domestic
violence and their own social and economic inequality, are generally
Gwendolyn Mink is the Charles N. Clark Professor of Women’s disruptive to society and specifically harmful to men as fathers.
Studies at Smith College and author of numerous scholarly books Mink exemplified these theoretical issues with several detailed
including the award-winning Wages of Motherhood (1995) and analyses, including the case of Head Start. Mink focused on Wade
Welfare’s End (1998). Her activism includes founding the Committee Horn’s revision of the federal Head Start bulletin in the wake of the
of 100, an organization fighting for welfare justice. Mink’s talk 1996 legislation to instruct local centers to create father-friendly
was a call for a critique of welfare policy that would emphasize environments, for example, by retraining employees, mandating
how current policy is both premised on the economic inequality hiring of male employees, defeminizing the workplace (e.g, by
of women and reinforces it. At the center of current policy is a removing posters that “target men as batterers”), and prohibiting
notion of married fatherhood that provides a standard against negative informal conversations about men in the workplace.
which unmarried mothers are regulated. Single motherhood is Mink explained how pro-patriarchal pro-fatherhood initiatives
blamed for a variety of social ills, while the theory and practice of also reach beyond anti-poverty programs. Monies are being
“transgressive motherhood” has few champions. appropriated to help fathers in a variety of ways that are not available
Briefly sketching the history of welfare, Mink emphasized how to mothers.
recent government efforts to strip certain women of their rights Mink encouraged feminist scholars to ask a different set of
and exploit their poverty have a long history at the intersection of questions about women and welfare, including why women are
race, class, and gender-based exploitations. Most of Mink’s talk, poor and why attitudes toward single mothers are so dramatically
however, concerned policies developed since 1996, when Congress more hostile than attitudes toward single fathers. Feminist
overhauled welfare policy. Increasingly, welfare and anti-poverty scholars must attend to distortions of studies that arise when
policies have persecuted teenage mothers, unmarried mothers, and women’s economic inequality is not adequately theorized. She
welfare mothers, whose lives are seen as a dangerous defiance of cautioned against repeating the common analytic error of allowing
so-called foundational social values. Whereas the welfare system marriage and fatherhood to stand in for time and money when
was once designed to enable single parents to raise their children, children and their problems are studied. She wants us to consider
its purposes now are to promote marriage and prevent non-marital what might happen if women had access to better jobs, more
childbearing. dependable welfare assistance, and high-quality affordable child
Mink emphasized that hostility to single mothers is broadly care. Individuals must not be blamed for their own poverty, but
shared by Democrats and Republications. Single mothers are current policy does just that, substituting a private man’s income
defined by all as a social problem; no one affirms that families for a public economic policy attentive to women’s needs.
headed by single mothers are good. Think tanks from left to Finally, Mink said that our government commits inequality
right, from the Center for Law and Social Policy to the Heritage against women when it defines single mothers as a separate and
Foundation, produce studies touting marriage and repudiating subordinate caste and subjects women to policies that favor men
women’s right to parent alone. Whether their arguments are and fathers. Married fatherhood promotion is a key element in
ideological or instrumental, they all assert the simplistic equation our government’s plan to subordinate women. Premised on the
that if single motherhood is the problem, married fatherhood is mother’s social and economic inequality, it inevitably reinforces
the solution. Current policy is characterized by a proliferation of that inequality.
pro-marriage initiatives that strip women of their rights and reward

42 NWSAction/Fall 2006

By Jennifer Swift-Kramer
William Paterson University
reflecting an increasing preoccupation with “disrupting the natural
order” or “aliens and what to do with them.” Suspicion of foreign
influences (as opposed to, for instance, native invasive species) on
“sacred sites” (such as a natural birth given by a genetic mother)
pervade the discourse, as typified by article names like, “They Came,
They Bred, They Conquered” or the creation of a Seed Purity Index.
Nature is idealized as remote yet safe: leave it undisturbed and it
will reward you in a motherly fashion. Gene mixing and mobility
is dramatized by the horror term Frankenfood. Yet ironically even
pro-GMO rhetoric touts a “more natural nature,” in which purer
new strains promise to leave a smaller proverbial footprint by taking
up less space and consuming fewer resources.
Why care? All three “sites” are described in terms betraying a
Banu Subramaniam nostalgia for a heavily edited and filtered past, arbitrarily defined as
The Feminist Science Studies plenary in Oakland mixed native, natural and pure - take the practice of “restoration ecology”
perspectives on feminist science studies, the sociology of science, for example. Such points of focus obfuscate the presence of other
and educational funding of scientific disciplines that at critical influences we must keep in mind: the development that makes
points echoed and reinforced each other. Barbara Howe introduced biological invasions possible; the weakened federal controls that
the three panelists: Banu Subramaniam of the University of leave sustainable agriculture and safety standards vulnerable; the
Massachusetts at Amherst, Jane Zimmer Daniels of the Henry Luce economic and ecological costs of importing “pure” seeds across
Foundation, and University of Oklahoma chemistry professor Dr. ever more tightly controlled borders.
Donna Nelson. While not suggesting that we embrace technological modernity
Subramaniam opened her presentation, “The Roots of & globalization along with the risks they pose, Subramaniam
Coincidence,” by emphasizing how keenly aware she is of the advises us to become sensitized to the “stigmatized others” as
“meanings and myths” surrounding science in its active contexts of defined in these sites and resist “the retreat to insular, local and
production, reception and use. Now is not a time for tolerance of essentialist models and their Imaginary of the Pure.”
aliens or even citizens, when the “rhetoric is in the air” that favors Subramaniam summed up her counterproposal with, “By
the “natural born” in science and in politics alike. Leo Marx’s now developing a different politics about science, we can also reimagine
40-year-old trope of the “Machine in the Garden” (taken from and transform contemporary global politics... Simplistic formulations
the title and substance of his 1967 book) still causes unease for [centered] around purity and authenticity are predicated on bad
those who occupy an “industrialized landscape” populated by the politics, but also on bad science.” What the feminist project most
“contemporary monsters” of invasive plant species and human urgently needs to be is against bad science, by using technology
reproductive technologies. Yet she must now ask the pointed as tools to produce scientific knowledge. To do that requires going
question, “When was The Natural ever natural?” beyond standard visualizations of women in science: “When I hear
Both the Right and the Left have now embraced the ideals the word ‘pipeline’ I cringe.... I cannot but root for the leaks in the
of “purity” of reason and race and positioned those ideals as pipeline.” Women can be more than pipe-like, passive structures
“under assault” by “imbalanced” forces, in a battle between in the global economy if we change the terms with which we
the “authentic” and the “miscegenated.” Since 9/11, the “non- participate in that enterprise, she specified. “In order to do that,
native invasive forces” scenarios put forward in discussions about we must tend to our anxieties about ourselves.”
transplanted species, genetically modified plants (GMOs) and in- Jane Zimmer Daniels’ presentation asked, “What Do We Know,
vitro fertilizations (IVF) have become increasingly more dramatic, Continued on pg 44

NWSAction/Fall 2006 43

Continued from pg 43

provide assertiveness training, until she was scolded at a convention

by a group of Scandinavian women who asked, “’How could you
bring women into such a hostile environment?’” Now of course
the focus is on changing the system instead of changing the women
who enter it, “so we can all do our best work.” Zimmer Daniels
thinks this is a positive turn of events, considering how in the early
days, female scientists who took time out to do things like mentor
younger women “ruined their careers trying to change the social
environment.” Even men, she claimed, have realized “the system
[as it is] is really not working for anyone” despite the well-publicized
claims of people like Larry Summers.
The breaks and drop-offs between the masters and PhD levels
and between the positions of assistant and full professorships persist
though “we’ve gone through a whole generation” of putting
women in the pipeline, stated Zimmer Daniels, with apologies
to Subramaniam. The drop-offs haven’t budged much, she went
on to suggest, because the path to success in the sciences in
academia is still too narrow to allow for progressive developments
Jane Zimmer Daniels and Donna Nelson
like “service learning” and “team approaches” that might counter
Where Do We Go?” She explained how her background led her the reactionary influences of gendered textbook writing and
to her current position directing the Clare Boothe Luce Program. spoken language, plus still exclusionary policies and practices
She began in sociology, then moved on to study organizations, regarding merit awards, hiring, promotion and tenure. States
especially involving women in engineering. She got in the ground like Massachusetts, NJ and a few others are trying to lengthen the
floor of gender studies in science with the first NSF program “for pipeline by incorporating engineering into the K-12 curriculum, but
women and girls” in 1993 and 1994. Along the way, she joked, issues in higher academic circles remain a challenge: institutional
she learned The Golden Rule: the people with the gold make the change and fear of same, retrogressive legal challenges lodged
rules. Now “we have a little bit of gold,” she announced. With that with the unofficial blessing of the federal government from the
bit of gold, the Luce program is now moving away from biology likes of the Equal Opportunity Committee, etc. Some innovations
into the less well-represented fields of physics, math
and engineering with grants that support undergrads
through post-doc students. With that, she said, they “try
to be a catalyst for organizational change.”
To answer the rhetorical question, “Why do we make
the effort?” Zimmer Daniels announced that at first it
was the right thing to do, then in the 60s it became the
legal thing to do, and now finally it has become “the
competitive thing to do.” Until the 60s, women in the
various sciences ranged from less than one percent to
no more than 20% of any disciplinary population, “but
no one cared” until equal opportunity laws were passed
to bring in people like her. At first she had felt obliged to
The audience participates with questions for the panelists

44 NWSAction/Fall 2006

intended to counter such a backlash include a 2005 proposal to in the grid as the lone Native American female in her department.
replace the norm of “6 years up and out” with “the best 5 out of “See that 1? That’s me.” She then identified another “outlier” as the
10 years” for tenure reviews. sole beneficiary of an asterisk, the only Black female full professor
Donna Nelson introduced herself by exhorting the audience (of astronomy).
to remember that “well-behaved women seldom make history” Numbers overall are increasing, but not for minorities, Nelson
and introduced her statistics as the Nelson Diversity Surveys, continued. While female assistant professors should outnumber
which poll faculty department chairs of the top 50 departments associate professors, they don’t in all fields. Three rough groupings
nationwide in 14 scientific disciplines. Recent findings reveal that can be pulled out of these surveys according to their respective
while a critical mass of females exist in the biological sciences, for weak points: chemistry, math and computer science have “the
instance, the best increase in female professors was shown most worst of both worlds” with no or little pipeline utilization and no
recently in civil and mechanical engineering. “Engineers are really critical mass. Astronomy, physics and engineering have no critical
trying hard,” she pointed out amusingly, “they just have a horrible mass, while the social and life sciences by contrast have no pipeline
[pause] pipeline.” to hook up high school, college and grad school. Comparing the
The strong point of her data is in its head counts, clearly shown 2002 and 2005 surveys, marginal improvements are thrown into
in her PowerPoint slides: 2 women of color in chemistry; 0 in higher relief. Faculty numbers are up, but chemistry showed the
computer sciences. “You don’t have to throw away the zeroes,” she lowest increase. In fact, Nelson mentioned as an aside, chemistry
continued. “This really revealed for the first time the low numbers departments as institutions are beginning to disappear.
of minority women.” To pound her point home, she located herself

Building an Anti-imperialist Feminist Democracy in the Belly of the Beast

Continued from pg 40
ugliness at Abu Ghraib revealed that just the sex had changed;
raped and sexually degraded were humiliated because they were the uniform had remained the same, that male or female could
treated like women. They were forced to be women — sexually be a masculinized commander or an imperialist collaborator.
dominated and degraded. Men who were naked and exposed, “Imperialist feminism obfuscates the use of gender decoys,” she
she said reminded us of the vulnerability usually associated with said. Women were both victims and perpetrators, constrained yet
women. Thus the brown men at Abu Ghraib were constructed as free, neither exactly commander nor decoy.
effeminate and as such they narrated a subtext of homosexuality. Eisenstein powerful and persuasive arguments are invaluable
They remained male but not men, while the white women guards in understanding the gendered nature of war and the way in
remained female but not women. which gender is invoked and deployed in the iconography and
That three of the torturers at Abu Ghraib were white women language of imperial wars. Her writings show how the workings
— Lynndie England, Sabrina Harman and Megan Ambuhl — were of empire are systematically related to gender. Ever since Edward
key to the pictorial narrative that came out of the prison. In addition, Said’s groundbreaking study Orientalism, postcolonial scholars had
Carolyn Wood, who served at the Bagram Air Force base, was the continued to leave out the important vector of gender in examining
person responsible for introducing new “interrogation” techniques the workings of the imperialist undertaking. It was left to women
like nudity and sleep deprivation. scholars, such as Sara Suleri, Meyda Yegenoglu, Lisa Lowe, Ella
As decoys, Eisenstein asserted, they created gender confusion Shohat and Cynthia Enloe, to show the connections between gender
by participating in the very sexual humiliation that this gender is and the imagery of war. Today, it is Eisenstein who has provided us
usually victim to. Thus, Eisenstein concluded, gender swapping perhaps with the most useful formulation of the gendered nature
and switching leaves masculinist racialized gender in place. The of all imperialist projects.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 45


By Shira Tarrant THE PAGES OF
Routledge (2006)
ISBN: 0415953472 By Margaret Cho (Foreword)
Lisa Jervis (Editor)
How did the term “sex” develop Andi Zeisler (Editor)
into “gender”? Is it really true
that a vibrant feminist movement Farrar, Straus and Giroux
disappeared some time af ter (August 8, 2006)
suffrage gains were won, only ISBN: 0374113432
to suddenly resurface in the late
1960s? When Sex Became Gender
suggests that the period between
In the wake of Sassy and as an alternative to the more staid
1945 and the early 1960s has been overlooked in the development
reporting of Ms., Bitch was launched in the mid-nineties as a Xerox-
of feminist theory and philosophy. Tarrant makes a compelling case
and-staple zine covering the landscape of popular culture from a
for these decades being the turning point in the study of gender.
feminist perspective.
Conventional wisdom tells us that Western feminism died by
Both unabashed in its love for the guilty pleasures of consumer
the mid-1940s when women left their wartime factory jobs to return
culture and deeply thoughtful about the way the pop landscape
home. But this version of the story is not entirely true. When Sex
reflects and impacts women’s lives, Bitch grew to be a popular, full-
Became Gender brings to light dominant ideas about sex roles and
scale magazine with a readership that stretched worldwide.
the feminist critiques these generated in the years between World
Today it stands as a touchstone of hip, young feminist thought,
War II and the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s.
looking with both wit and irreverence at the way pop culture
The key theme is that ideas about the social construction of
informs feminism-and vice versa-and encouraging readers to think
gender have its origins in the feminist theorists of the postwar
critically about the messages lurking behind our favorite television
period, and that these early ideas about gender became a key
shows, movies, music, books, blogs, and the like.
foundational paradigm for both second and third wave feminist
BITCHFest offers an assortment of the most provocative essays,
thought. These conceptual foundations were created by a cohort
reporting, rants, and raves from the magazine’s first ten years,
of extraordinarily imaginative and bold academic women. While
along with new pieces written especially for the collection. Smart,
discussing the famous feminist scholars—Simone de Beauvoir,
nuanced, cranky, outrageous, and clear-eyed, the anthology covers
Margaret Mead—the book also hinges on the work of scholars who
everything from a 1996 celebration of pre-scandal Martha Stewart
are lesser known to American audiences—Mirra Komarovsky, Viola
to a more recent critical look at the “gayby boom”; from a time
Klein, and Ruth Herschberger,
line of black women on sitcoms to an analysis of fat suits as the
Tarrant expounds upon a relatively understudied period of
new blackface; from an attempt to fashion a feminist vulgarity to a
feminist theory and incorporates figures that have not traditionally
reclamation of female virginity.
been included as part of the feminist canon. In doing so, Tarrant
It’s a recent history of feminist pop-culture critique and an
uncovers a crucial missing chapter in the history of modern
arrow toward feminism’s future.
feminism. The book challenges us to see feminist theory as
unfolding throughout history rather than being restricted to a few
“waves” of activism.

46 NWSAction/Fall 2006


Greg Moses, Editor by Carolyn Cocca

Radical Philosophy Today, Volume 3 Praeger Publishers

(August 2006) (September, 30 2006)
ISBN 1-889680-46-X ISBN: 0-313-33399-8

During two centuries of industrial

revolution, history’s most powerful ruling
class has been produced, equipped, and
armed to the teeth - not just with bullets but also with powerful
media and an aggressive ideology of domination. Despite the fact This balanced, nuanced, and
that history gives ample reason to fear the worst for the future, social data-grounded view of the past
and political theory can be a form of resistance and hope. and present of adolescent sexuality provides readers with a store
Included article: “Housewife or Shopgirl? Alienation in of valuable and reliable information. Covering major issues in
Elfriede Jelinek’s women as lovers.” — By Brenda Bethman adolescent sexuality in the United States from colonial times to the
This article explores the role of alienation in Elfriede Jelinek’s present, the book provides an account of ways in which adults-from
novel Women as Lovers (Die Liebhaberinnen, 1975). Drawing on policymakers to police and parents-have attempted to intervene
Marxist, socialist feminist, and Lacanian definitions of alientation, in the sexual lives of adolescents, and how adolescent sexuality
Bethman argues that scholars need to develop an approach with has been, and continues to be, a subject of social concern and
which they can analyze the alienation of the subject in the symbolic control.
order as well as the material realities that produce that alienation. Original essays cover adolescent sex in history, as well as
Bethman goes on to read Jelinek’s depiction of alienation in her statutory rape laws, teen pregnancy, media portrayals of adolescent
novel from a variety of perspectives. sexuality, and sex education. The perspective is further broadened
by a collection of primary documents such as a petition from the
Women’s Christian Temperance Union to raise the age of consent,
court cases, Freud’s theories on sexuality, images used in the early
20th century for sex education, and current statistics on adolescent
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA The final third of the book is an extensive bibliography on
(POEMS) adolescent sexuality, divided by subject area. This important and
well-informed work will prove a central resource for students,
by Nancy Seale Osborne educators, parents, journalists, and those working on behalf of
Passion Among the Cacti Press Carolyn Cocca is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of
(2006) the Women’s Center at the State University of New York, College at
Old Westbury She is the author of “Jailbait: The Politics of Statutory
ISBN 0-9737351-7-1 Rape Laws in the United States” (2004) and numerous articles about
adolescent sexuality and statutory rape laws.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 47


By E. Kay Trimberger
By Laurie Schaffner
Beacon Press (2005)
ISBN: 0807065234 Rutgers University Press
E. Kay Trimberger tackles one ISBN: 0813538335
of the largest social phenomena of
our times: the increasing number
of single women over 35. Drawing Juvenile arrest rates in the
on the diverse personal stories of United States have declined over
long-term single women, including the past decade, yet the percentage
herself, Trimberger explodes the of girls in trouble with the law
idea that fulfillment comes only through finding a soul mate. increased. Girls now are also more likely to enter the juvenile
Instead, she presents an exciting new identity possible for women legal system as a result of violent events, rather than for minor
in the twenty-first century: the new single woman. violations for which previous generations of young women were
The new woman rejects the cultural pressure to couple and more commonly detained.
unabashedly lives a fulfilling single life, one where she is not on In Girls in Trouble with the Law, sociologist Laurie Schaffner
her own, not defined primarily by self-reliance, but by her skills at takes us inside female detention centers and explores the worlds
creating friendships and her ability to link networks of friends into of those who are incarcerated. Across the country, she finds that
a community. Trimberger’s analysis opens up new alternatives for an overwhelming majority of these young women are from ethnic
the “good life,” and speaks to the anxieties of single women in their or racial minority groups, and most have experienced some sort
twenties and early thirties. of sexual abuse or assault.
The book’s argument that married/coupled women and single Focusing on the girls’ experience of violence and the inequities
women (including bisexuals and lesbians) are not different or in of the criminal justice system, Schaffner explores three central
competition, but rather at opposite ends of a continuum that questions. How have changing social norms of sexuality and
comprises many women in-between is a paradigm-shifting notion emotional expression influenced adolescent girls’ transgressions?
- one that ultimately strengthens and enriches both single women What do authority, consent, and choice mean to young urban
and couples. women in trouble? How do they experience and understand the
Fascinating personal accounts of how single women’s lives violent episodes in their lives?
evolve over time, combined with incisive observations and Offering a critical assessment of what she describes as a gender-
trenchant analysis, provide a new cultural road map for creating a insensitive juvenile justice system, Schaffner makes a compelling
satisfying and meaningful single life. argument that current policies do not go far enough to empower
disadvantaged girls so that they can overcome the social limitations
A much needed breath of fresh air. Women have been in bondage and gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic discrimination that continue
to the dream of the “soul-mate” for far too long, and Kay Trimberger to plague young women growing up in contemporary United
gives us the inspiration and insight to get on with our lives. States.
— Barbara Ehrenreich, Author of Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not)
Getting by in America

48 NWSAction/Fall 2006


NARRATIVES by Jane Jeong Trenka
Julia Chinyere Oparah
by Jeana DelRosso Sun Yung Shin

Palgrave Press (2005) South End Press (Oct 2006)

ISBN: 1-4039-6757-1 ISBN: 0-89608-764-6

You must have seen one—

T h i s wo r k e x a m i n e s t h e they’re everywhere. Photo blow-
interplay of gender, race, ethnicity, ups of Hollywood star Angelina Jolie
nationality, and sexuality through and Zahara, the child she adopted
the lens of Catholicism in a wide range of works by women writers, from Ethiopia, both beaming. “Saved by a Mother’s Love”—it’s
forging interdisciplinary connections among women’s studies, People’s cover story. Zahara, we’re told, is thriving. Nothing is
religion, and late twentieth-century literature. said of the grandmother who tried to keep her, broken ties, loss.
Discussing a diverse group of authors, Jeana DelRosso posits Adoption is a win-win. Right?
that the girlhood narratives of such writers constitute highly Healthy white infants have become hard to locate and expensive
charged sites of their differing gestures toward Catholicism and to adopt. So people from around the world turn to interracial and
argues that an understanding of the ways in which women write intercountry adoption, often, like Jolie, with the idea that while
about religion from different cultural and racial contexts offers a growing their families, they’re saving children from destitution.
crucial contribution to current discussions in gender, ethnic, and But as Outsiders Within reveals, while transracial adoption is a
cultural studies. practice traditionally considered benevolent, it often exacts a heavy
DelRosso suggests that the girlhood narratives of these authors emotional, cultural, and even economic toll.
reveal their lifelong approaches to Catholicism. In her analysis, Through compelling essays, fiction, poetry, and art, the
DelRosso forges interdisciplinary connections among women’s contributors to this landmark publication carefully explore this most
studies, religion and late 20th-century literature. She concludes intimate aspect of globalization. Finally, in the unmediated voices of
with a call for a revision of the term “girl” and more active role for the adults who have matured within it, we find a rarely-considered
women in the Catholic Church. view of adoption, an institution that pulls apart old families and
Jeana DelRosso is an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s identities and grafts new ones.
Studies at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Moving beyond personal narrative, these transracially adopted
writers from around the world tackle difficult questions about how
to survive the racist and ethnocentric worlds they inhabit, what
connects the countries relinquishing their children to the countries
importing them, why poor families of color have their children
removed rather than supported—about who, ultimately, they
are. In their inquiry, they unseat conventional understandings of
adoption politics, ultimately reframing the controversy as a debate
that encompasses human rights, peace, and reproductive justice.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 49


Color Against Violence
By Nandita Sharma
South End Press (Oct 2006)
ISBN: 0-89608-762-X University of Toronto Press
What would it take to end ISBN: 0802048838
violence against women of color?
How does the mainstream
antiviolence movement help? A massive shift has taken place
How does it hinder? When will in Canadian immigration policy
we admit that repositioning women of color at the center of the since the 1970s: the majority of
movement—women more often harmed by the police, prisons, and migrants no longer enter as permanent residents but as temporary
border patrols than aided by them— means that we must address migrant workers. In Home Economics, Nandita Sharma shows how
state violence? Canadian policies on citizenship and immigration contribute to the
In Color of Violence, INCITE! demands that we: entrenchment of a system of apartheid where those categorized
• reconsider a reliance on the criminal justice system as ‘migrant workers’ live, work, pay taxes and sometimes die in
for solving women’s struggles with domestic violence; • Canada but are subordinated to a legal regime that renders them
acknowledge how militarism subjects women to extreme as perennial outsiders to nationalized Canadian society.
levels of violence perpetrated from within, and without, their In calling for a ‘no borders’ policy in Canada, Sharma argues
communities; • recognize how the medical establishment inflicts that it is the acceptance of nationalist formulations of ‘home’
violence — such as involuntary sterilization and inadequate health informed by racialized and gendered relations that contribute
care — on women of color • devise new strategies for cross-cultural to the neo-liberal restructuring of the labour market in Canada.
dialogue, theorizing, and alliance building; and much, much She exposes the ideological character of Canadian border control
more. policies which, rather than preventing people from getting in,
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence was born in 2000, actually work to restrict their rights once within Canada.
when more than two thousand dedicated activists from diverse Home Economics is an urgent and much-needed reminder that
communities came together to end the war being waged on in today’s world of growing displacement and unprecedented levels
women of color in the US and around the world. Now the largest of international migration, society must pay careful attention to how
multiracial, grassroots, feminist organization in the United States, nationalist ideologies construct ‘homelands’ that essentially leave
INCITE! boasts chapters in more than 20 cities. Color of Violence: the vast majority of the world’s migrant peoples homeless.
The INCITE! Anthology presents the fierce and vital writing of 32
of these visionaries, who not only shift the focus from domestic Nandita Sharma is an assistant professor in the Departments
violence and sexual assault, but also map innovative strategies of of Ethnic Studies and Sociology at the University of Hawai’i at
movement building and resistance used by women of color around Manoa.
the world. At a time of heightened state surveillance and repression
of people of color, Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology is an
essential intervention.

50 NWSAction/Fall 2006



by Dana-Ain Davis by Bella M. DePaulo

Suny Press St. Martin’s Press

(August 2006) (November 14, 2006)
ISBN: 0-7914-6843-7 ISBN: 0312340818

This text examines the Many of today’s single people

consequences of welfare reform have engaging jobs, homes that
for Black women fleeing domestic they own, and a network of friends.
violence. This timely and compelling ethnography examines the This is not the 1950s---singles can
impact of welfare reform on women seeking to escape domestic have sex without marrying, and they can raise smart, successful,
violence. Dana-Ain Davis profiles twenty-two women, thirteen and happy children. It should be a great time to be single. Yet too
of whom are Black, living in a battered women’s shelter in a often single people are still asked to defend their single status by
small city in upstate New York. She explores the contradictions an onslaught of judgmental peers and fretful relatives.
between welfare reform’s supposed success in moving women off Prominent people in politics, the popular press, and the
of public assistance and toward economic self-sufficiency and the intelligentsia have all taken turns peddling myths about marriage
consequences welfare reform policy has presented for Black women and singlehood. Marry, they promise, and you will live a long,
fleeing domestic violence. happy, and healthy life, and you will never be lonely again.
Focusing on the intersection of poverty, violence, and race, Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories
she demonstrates the differential treatment that Black and White from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths
women face in their entanglements with the welfare bureaucracy of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard
by linking those entanglements to the larger political economy of about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single
a small city, neoliberal social policies, and racialized ideas about are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are
Black women as workers and mothers. singled out for unfair treatment by the workplace, the marketplace,
“For anyone who imagines that welfare policy promotes improved and the federal tax structure, they are not simply victims of this
economic well-being and security, opportunity, self-sufficiency, and singlism. Single people really are living happily ever after.
hope for poor women and their families, this book is a wake-up call.” Filled with bracing bursts of truth and dazzling dashes of
— from the Foreword by Sandra Morgen humor, Singled Out is a spirited and provocative read for the single,
“At once an ethnographic community study and a review of the married, and everyone in between.
the national data, there are very few books that offer such a rich “With elegant analysis, wonderfully detailed examples, and
and contextualized analysis of the nexus between violence and clear and witty prose, DePaulo lays out the many, often subtle
” — Beth E. Richie, author of Compelled to Crime: The Gender
poverty.” denigrations and discriminations faced by single adults in the U.S.
Entrapment of Battered Black Women. She addresses, too, the resilience of single women and men in the
Dàna-Ain Davis is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at face of such singlism. A must-read for all single adults, their friends
Purchase College, State University of New York. and families, as well as social scientists and policy advocates.”
— E. Kay Trimberger, author of The New Single Woman

NWSAction/Fall 2006 51


WRONG: How Transsexuals
Prove Gender is not a Social By Joelle Ruby Ryan
AuthorHouse, (2005)
By Rosa Lee ISBN: 1420869299

Xlibris (2006) Gender Quake is a book of

ISBN: 1-4257-1467-6 revolutionary poems that explores
Shor tcomings in feminist what it means to be a transgendered
theor y e xist, since feminists individual in America. Joelle Ruby
cannot explain why we are still Ryan, a self-styled 6’6” transgender
slaves to a system that we can warrior, bares her soul in this
conceptually dismantle. This work collection of poems which is at
shows, through the anomaly of turns humorous, poignant, searing and deeply passionate. From
“the transsexual,” exactly how post-structuralism not only fails as the ashes of loneliness, rage, and despair, Ryan charts an emotional
a tool, but works against feminists. trajectory which jolts readers into confronting their own shared
This work argues that the weakness of feminism is its digression humanity with differently-gendered people. Ryan covers topics
from the scientific method and mathematical principles to analyze as diverse as feminism, porn, passing, violence, activism and the
reality. The first chapter sets up a mathematical proof that proves urgent need for solidarity across lines of identity and difference.
the model offered by post-structuralist feminism cannot be correct While the book explores the darkest corners of a life marred by pain,
and that gender is not a social construction. The second offers discrimination and self-hatred, it also repeatedly calls upon hope,
more criticism of the feminist lens, while the third and fourth offer love and justice as the primary correctives for imagining a better
a metaphorical circuit diagram of the patriarchy—what the author world. Gender Quake will shock you, educate you and most of all
refers to as “the patriarchitecture.” The fifth, sixth, and seventh move you to join the fight for a gender revolution.
chapters speak to our notion of human bodies, and why the
extraordinary ones we encounter cause us so much trouble. “So World, take note: the Gender Quake is ready to activate, and
The last chapter explains how an application of quantum the whirl is gonna be blissful, and divine, and unstoppable.”
mechanics to our social science will yield different results than those
predicted by post-structuralists. With over 130 works cited, this book Joelle Ruby Ryan holds Master of Arts degrees in English and
is as tight in its syntax and argument as it is broad in its scope. Women’s Studies. Currently, she is a doctoral student in American
Engaging topics from the mathematical construction of our Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, where her research
universe, quantum mechanics, and neuroscience, to entheogens, focuses on gender/sexuality studies and film/media studies. She has
economics, and sociology, this book exposes the weaknesses in our taught university classes in English Composition, Women’s Studies,
feminist philosophical musings with pure scientific evidence and American Studies and Ethnic Studies. She is the founder of New
mathematical proof. This book changes feminist scholarship. Hampshire Transgender Resources for Education and Empowerment
Rosa Lee is the 2005 Presidential Fellow in Women, Gender, and (NH TREE) and the co-producer of two autobiographical videos: A
Sexuality at Trinity College in Hartford CT. Additional information Transgender Path and TransAmazon: A Gender Queer Journey. She is
available online at a frequent speaker on issues of gender, identity and social justice in
classes, community groups and regional and national conferences.
She can be reached via the web at

52 NWSAction/Fall 2006

by Leora Skolkin-Smith,
By Melissa Hope Ditmore Grace Paley (Editor)

Greenwood Press Glad Day Books (2005)

(August 2006 ) ISBN: 1930180144
ISBN: 0-313-32968-0
EDGES takes the reader to an
The cliche is that prostitution Israel before high walls formed a
is the oldest profession. Isn’t it border, when, instead, metal wires
time that the subject received a full hung “like hosiery lines” across
reference treatment? the land. Liana Bialik is fourteen years old when the suicide of her
This major 2-volume set is the first to treat in an inclusive American father forces her mother, mourning, in despair back to
reference what is usually considered a societal failing and the her family--to Jerusalem where she grew up. For Liana it is the place
underside of sexuality and economic survival. where the powerful interdependance of mother and daughter--
The A-to-Z encyclopedia offers wide-ranging entries related to physical and spiritual--ends. It is the place and time of her sexual
prostitution and the sex industry, past and present, both worldwide awakening.
(mostly in the West) and in the United States. This can happen when Liana escapes across the border with
The topic of prostitution has high-interest appeal across the missing son of an American diplomat. They are made closer by
disciplines, and the narrative entries illuminate literature, art, law, the death of a young Palestinian boy. They move deeper into the
medicine, economics, politics, women’s studies, religion, sociology, world of Palestinian fields, olive orchards, villages.
sexuality, film, popular culture, public health, nonfiction, American The novel is set in the Israel of the early ‘60s, Liana’s mother
and world history, business, gender, media, education, crime, race, and aunt tell lively stories about the 1940s, their young guerilla-like
technology, performing arts, family, social work, social mores, struggles against the British particularly, the mother’s memories of
pornography, the military, tourism, child labor, and more. growing up in a shared land in the old city before it was divided.
It is targeted to the general reader, who will gain useful
insight into the human race through time via its sex industry and 'EDGES' is an elegant and moving novel. Leora Skolkin-Smith has
prostitution. that rare gift of the writer who can convey the sensibility--the essence
An introduction overviews the scope of prostitution from the of a place and its people--with precision and clarity. A moving and
earliest historical records, including the Bible. User-friendly lists provocative debut.
that are alphabetically and topically arranged help the reader find — Katherine Weber, author of The Little Women,
entries of interest, as does the comprehensive index. A chronology The Music Lesson
proffers significant dates related to the topic. Each entry is signed
and has suggestions for further reading. 'EDGES' takes the reader to an Israel before high walls formed
Melissa Hope Ditmore is the coordinator and founder of the a border, when instead metal wires hung ‘like hosiery lines’ across the
Trafficked Persons Rights Project, a consultant on trafficking, and a land.... Here, Skolkin-Smith, in clear, burnished prose, fuses personal
Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Women and Society, and political rifts into an exhilarating debut novel.
Graduate Center of the City University of New York. --Philip Graham, Director, Creative Writing Program,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NWSAction/Fall 2006 53



By Beth A. Ferri and By Regina Buccola

David J. Connor
Susquehanna University
Peter Lang Publishing Press (2006)
(April 2006) ISBN: 1575911035
ISBN: 0820474282

Reading Resistance confronts longstanding exclusionary The book applies feminist critical theory to an analysis of the
practices in U.S. public schooling. Beth A. Ferri and David J. Connor links between early modern British fairy lore, the women who are
trace the interconnected histories of race and disability in the public alleged to have promulgated these beliefs, and the connections
imagination through their nuanced analysis of editorial pages and between fairy characters and female characters in Shakespeare’s
other public discourses, including political cartoons and eugenics plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor,
posters. By uncovering how the concept of disability was used to Cymbeline and All’s Well That Ends Well and Ben Jonson’s play The
resegregate students of color after the historic Brown decision, Alchemist.
the authors argue that special education has played a role in Regina Buccola is an assistant professor of English at Roosevelt
undermining school desegregation. In its critical, interdisciplinary University in Chicago. Her work on early modern drama has
focus on the interlocking politics of race and disability, Reading appeared in Sixteenth-Century Journal and Shakespeare and the
Resistance offers important contributions to educational research, Culture of Christianity in Early Modern Europe. She is co-editor, with
theory, and policy. Lisa Hopkins, of the essay collection Marian Moments in Early Modern
"Reading Resistance" presents an important and timely discussion Drama, from Ashgate Press.
of the intersections between white privilege and ableism and the
interconnections between IDEA and Brown v. Board of Education.? Of
key value is the overview of how race becomes an organizing principle
of social life and how mainstream classrooms are constructed through
rhetorics of ability, ideologies of normalcy, and rituals of exclusion. At "Dramatically demonstrates the historical intertwining of the
the same time, this book is not "just theory."The authors craft their discourses of race and disability in American education. This portrait
arguments to clarify complex issues and link them with suggestions for will relinquish any lingering doubts about the insidious role of racism
practice. Readers will gain a good sense of what is needed to transform in creating the perception that students of color are disproportionately
classrooms and schools to allow them to be equitable and just, as well 'disabled.'
as to to contribute to a strong democracy in a multicultural society. — Beth Harry, Professor, Special Education, University of
Miami, Florida
— Ellen Brantlinger, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction,
Indiana University, Bloomington

54 NWSAction/Fall 2006


by Veronica Precious Bohanan By Irene Kai

UnSilenced Woman Press Silver Light Publications

(March 1, 2006) (August 28, 2006)
ISBN: 0977360105 ISBN: 0974489026

“The mere suggestion of an image

or idea can evoke heavy emotions.” So
Om: My Sistagyrl Lotus is begins Irene Kai’s What Do You See?,
Veronica’s naked rendering upon a book of photography that contains
the universe. Unapologetically, images to challenge the reader’s
yet humbly and poetically, she journey’s between street talk, assumptions and judgments. It serves
gentrification, the informal economy, race and gender relations, as a mirror for the readers to look deeper into themselves.
self-discovery, friendship, love, traveling abroad, spirituality, hip With beautiful, provocative, and sometimes erotic images of
hop, women’s health, and Black wom(b)anhood. the human body, What Do You See? asks this question: Do you have
Veronica Precious Bohanan (Moon) is a moonchild on an the courage to see the truth?
excursion to earth. Born under the Cancer astrological sign in This beautifully designed book showcases 17 of Kai’s thoughtful
Chicago, Illinois, she is as versatile as the many names given to her and inspiring black and white photos, as well as text from four
at birth. A graduate of the University of Iowa, she earned a B.A. in spiritual traditions to encourage self-reflection and abandoning
Speech and Hearing Sciences and an M.A. in Social Foundations presumptions, and challenge the reader’s personal biases.
of Education. Irene Kai, author of The Golden Mountain: Beyond the American
She is half of the writing, performance, and artistic team of Dream, graduated from the School of Visual Arts, NYC and the Royal
AquaMoon, a duo dedicated to providing a voice for disenfranchised College of Art, London. She taught Graphic Design at Penn State
women and youth. The team’s acclaimed choreopoem Aqua Beats University and now lives in Ashland, OR.
and Moon Verses expresses this mission with its motto, ‘Dismantling
the Culture of Silence.’ Continuing in this spirit, Om: My Sistagyrl
Lotus is Ms. Bohanan’s debut collection of poetry and prose.

AQUA BEATS AND MOON A poetic play & CD that celebrates 21st century African
VERSES: VOLUME I American womonhood & sistahood. The playwrights present an
by: AquaMoon uncompromising and edgy compilation of poetry and prose, which
ISBN: 0-9773601-1-3 celebrates womonhood, sistahood, and highlights the sexual, racial
(September 2006) and social inequalities experienced by girls and womyn.
Aqua Beats and Moon Verses, Volume I has sparked affirmative
and relevant discourse on girl and womyn-centered topics.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 55


By Layli Phillips (Editor)
By Jill M. Bystydzienski and
Sharon R. Bird (Editors) Routledge; 1 edition
(September 19, 2006)
Indiana University Press ISBN: 0415954118
(February 2006)
ISBN: 0253218179

Presents strategies for promoting women’s equal participation Comprehensive in its coverage, The Womanist Reader is the
in the scientific fields. first volume to anthologize all the major works of womanist
Movement into academic science, technology, engineering, scholarship.
and mathematics (STEM) fields has been slow for women and Charting the course of womanist theory from its genesis
minorities. Not only are women and minorities underrepresented and Alice Walker’s African-American feminism to its present-day
in STEM careers, there is strong evidence that many academic definition that forces feminism to take race and class more seriously,
departments are resistant to addressing the concerns that keep this reader comprehensively traces the rich and diverse history of a
them from entering careers in these fields. quarter century of womanist thought.
In light of recent controversies surrounding these issues, this Featuring the field’s top scholars, compelling fiction, and
volume, examining reasons for the persistence of barriers that block enlightening interviews with womanism’s mothers and daughters,
the full participation and advancement of underrepresented groups Layli Phillips has assembled a unique and ground-breaking
in the sciences and addressing how academic departments and compilation.
universities can remedy the situation, is particularly timely. In addition to timely essays exploring the birth of womanist
As a whole, the volume shows positive examples of institutions identity in its second-generation scholars, The Womanist Reader
and departments that have been transformed by the inclusion of provides a true overview by including several critiques of
women and recommends a set of best practices for continuing womanism.
growth in positive directions.

Jill M. Bystydzienski is chair of the Women’s Studies Department

at Ohio State University.

Sharon R. Bird is Associate Professor of Sociology and an affiliate

of the Women’s Studies Program at Iowa State University.

56 NWSAction/Fall 2006

WOMEN IN SHADOW histories of victimization and moving beyond the pain to take hold
AND LIGHT of their own power and beauty. By gently holding the vulnerability
and strength of their stories, Jan Goff-LaFontaine offers us a window
by Jan Goff-LaFontaine into the courage of each woman to tell her truth - the strength to
look inside and find the power - to guide them through the pain
Creative Minds Press of abuse and reclaim their lives.
(March 30, 2005) Through their own words, with Jan Goff-LaFontaine’s concise
ISBN: 0974961051 and poignant commentary and the accompanying photo’s, we
discover how diverse women stepped out of the shadows of their
Book Review past abuse into the light of their present power. In doing so, we are
By Elena Marie DiLapi, reminded that shadows can only be cast if illumination is present.
Director, University of And we learn how a flicker of light can set a fire that frees each
Penn Women’s Center woman’s indestructible spirit from a painful past and creates an
enduring path to the future.
For over three decades I have spent my professional life working Through the perceptive eye of her camera, Jan Goff-LaFontaine
with others to achieve equality for women on campus and beyond. masterfully frames each woman’s emergence from that journey, as
Unfortunately much of this work requires addressing violence beautiful, powerful,
against women. After attending a campus workshop by Jan Goff- wonder ful and
LaFontaine, based on her book Women in Shadow and Light , I was whole. The privilege
taken by the impact it had on the students and the power of the to peek into these
presentation on me and other professionals. Jan Goff-LaFontaine’s ve r y p r i va te a n d
refreshing and open style created a special environment where a painful places, as the
diverse group of students could ask many questions, engage each women share how
other in dialogue, increase their desire to learn more and prepare they came to reclaim
to take action to end violence in women’s lives. their personal power,
This book and its workshop contribute to our understanding is a generous and
Sheila and Adele
of the devastating impact of the many forms of abuse that women invaluable gift. In
endure and more importantly of the inextinguishable light inside doing so they provide hope for all who have known such violence
each woman as she conquers her fears and finds hope and and are role models for each of us.
healing. This is a book/workshop for everyone; for survivors, for those
Women in Shadow and Light by who love survivors, for those who seek to help survivors and for
Jan Goff-LaFontaine, accurately and those who wonder about the strength, beauty and power of women
sensitively captures the struggles of healing ourselves and helping each other. This book, recipient
women who have been victimized of the 2006 Book of the Year Award in Women’s Issues from the
by abuse and their strength to Independent Publisher’s Association (the IPPY Award) provides a
heal. This is a unique presentation much needed contemporary and engaging view of violence against
of women’s enduring spirit in the women from the perspective of women’s strength. This is a radiant
face of such dehumanization. The portrayal of different women’s journey from pain to power.
stories reflected on these pages are I wholeheartedly endorse this program and encourage others
from real women, embracing their to bring this program to your campus.

NWSAction/Fall 2006 57

DVD only
94 minutes, 2006
Producer/ Director: Aishah Shahidah Simmons
Co-Producers: Tamara L. Xavier, Gail M. Lloyd
Associate Producers:
Joan W. Brannon, Wadia L. Gardiner,
Salamishah Tillet, Amadee Braxton
Editor: Sharon M. Mullally

Major funding provided by the Ford Foundation.

Featuring Noted Scholars:

One out of three women in • Johnnetta B. Cole, President, Bennett College for Women
the United States will be sexually • Farah Jasmine Griffin, African American Studies,
assaulted in their lifetime. Through Columbia University
testimonies from Black women • Adrienne Davis, School of Law, University of North Carolina
sur vivors, commentaries from • Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Women’s Studies, Spelman College
acclaimed African- Amer ican • Aaronette M. White, African American and
women scholars and community Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University
leaders, including Johnneta Betsch
Cole, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Elaine including Ulester Douglas and Sulaiman Nuriddin of Men Stopping
Brown, and Beverly Guy- Sheftall; Violence and the late award-winning poet Essex Hemphill, are also
impacting archival footage, spirited integrated with the African-American women’s voices.
music, dance, and performance While NO! explores how the collective silence about acts of
poetry, NO! unveils the reality of sexual assault adversely affects African Americans, it also encourages
rape, other forms of sexual violence, dialogue to bring about healing and reconciliation between all
and healing in African-American communities. men and women.
What does it look like to visually make central that which has
been placed on the margins and on the periphery? Moving from About the Producer
enslavement of African people in the United States through present Aishah Shahidah Simmons is an award-winning African-
day, NO! moves from rage/trauma/emotional and physical pain American feminist documentary filmmaker and television producer
to meditation to action to healing where the consciousness of the based in Philadelphia, PA. She founded a multimedia arts company
featured Black women survivors of rape and sexual assault, who committed to using the moving image to counteract racism,
range in age, geographic location, and sexual orientation, transforms sexism, homophobia, and classism, with a particular emphasis
from victim to survivor to educator, activist, and healer. on empowering Black women and girls.# Archival footage
In NO!, African-American histor y is feminized while contextualizes historical changes in gender relations and documents
simultaneously addressing the rape and sexual assault of Black American social movements impacting women and girls.
women and girls. Based on an understanding that heterosexual
violence against women will end when all men, make ending
this international atrocity a priority in their lives, the commentary
and performance of five Black men activists and cultural workers


N e w M o o n The Promise of America features rich archival footage of bold,

Productions presents an in- public action reveals a legacy of American activism, while it parallels
depth look at gun violence an intimate experience of the Million Mom March for sensible gun
in the United States, viewed laws.
through the diverse lenses Gerda Lerner and Amy Swerdlow are featured historians as a
of local, state and national generationally, racially and ethnically diverse crowd of 820,000
communities. came together from across the United States and the World. Lerner
The documentaries and Swerdlow reflect on rich archival footage of a U.S. legacy of
a r e c o m p l e m e n t a r y, women’s and other’s (largely Civil Rights) activism.
addressing dif ferent Participants’ personal motivations to attend the event are
aspects of complex beliefs, explored, along with barriers overcome to do so and responses to
emotions and actions. the experience. A range of respected professionals examines the
All are intended to ethical, medical and international ramifications of gun violence.
facilitate non polarized Hope for an America true to its promise emerges as Lerner and
community dialog and Swerdlow offer an analysis of the March on a framework of other
elicit a responseof active historic movements; rich archival footage interweaves and visually
participation in solutions supports their accounts.
to the dilemma. This encompassing media approachis inspiring Cameo statements from celebrities such as: Susan Sarandon,
audiences to further develop their individual and collective voice Marian Wright Edelman, Debbie Allen, Rabbi Eric Yoffie and
on gun violence, as well as other critical social topics. Dr. Antonia Novello bring popular contemporary voices to the
The series has won numerous awards. And specifically, The discourse.
Promise of America has been screened and discussed in a number At this critical point in history, when the topic of civic
of universities, at a global Women’s Studies conference in Dublin engagement as a response to violence is present in the minds of
and at an exceptionally broad range of more mainstream general the United States and the world, The Promise of America offers
women’s audience events. a reminder of the power and obligation individuals possess to
The education packages feature a “Women’s History of participate in the process of social change.
Activism” segment. A disturbing statistic from the website: Most women are killed
by their intimate partners and over two-thirds of those are killed
Guns, Grief and Grace in America includes: by guns. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Homicide Trends in the
• Dear Rita - One hour documentary for broadcast U.S.: Intimate Homicide. USDOJ
Producer Janet Fitch was voted "Best Local Activist" by the
• The Promise of America - One hour documentary for broadcast
Shepherd Express Newspaper In the “Best of Milwaukee” issue,
• Everyone’s in its Sights - Community Discussion Segments DVD, October 16, 2003.
• Education Series - Middle School to University students For more information visit:

NWSAction/Fall 2006 59
"Alliances for Social Change and Justice" Workshop
January 5, 2007 Pheasant Run, St Charles IL

This is the fifth mid-year gathering organized to Conference registration is $65.00 payable to the Na-
coincide with the mid-year governing council meeting tional Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and sent
of the NWSA which is open to all NWSA members. to: 7100 Baltimore Ave, Ste. 502, College Park, MD
20740. Deadline: December 10, 2006.
The purpose of the gathering is continue the work to
Questions or comments?
build and enlarge antiracist community within NWSA
Contact the organizing committee:
by naming the difficulties and barriers and creating
Pat Washington (
strategies to keep ourselves moving toward positive Sheena Malhotra (
change. Ann Russo (
Aimee Carrillo Rowe (
This interactive workshop will be grounded in a set of
common readings and shared experiences. Sponsored by the NWSA Women of Color Caucus and
(Readings made available in advance) the NWSA Anti-White Supremacy Task Force

EVE’s Quest™ is a trivia game that

celebrates women with something
for everyone from charades, singing,
drawing, intuition challenges to trivia.

"Maybe you already know that Patsy O. Sherman

is a scientist and the inventor of Scotchgard. (I didn’t).
But what did her high school aptitude test indicate that
she would be best suited to do in life? In what year was
the first separate Olympic Village for women created?
You might be tempted to think back several decades, but
it was all too recent. Which daring pilot rescued other
pilots, and was the first person to successfully fly solo
across the Atlantic Ocean from west to east? Many of you and Joanna Broadhurst, is more than just another traditional board
might guess Amelia Earhart, but you’d be wrong. game. Their invention combines charades and dice-based games
Move over Trivial Pursuit, there’s a new board game with challenging trivia questions that, on reflection, are not so trivial
on the market that packs as much learning as fun into at all. "
a couple of hours, but this time it is all about women. — Kathleen O’Grady, Research Associate at the Simone de Beauvoir
EVE’s Quest, created by Canadians, Odette McCarthy Institute, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec.

Groovy game board, 6 players, 1 die,

1 timer (60 seconds), 12 help cards, 3 decks of question cards
(over 1000 questions) in 15 categories.

Available From NWSA

San Francisco State University
Women Studies Department
Senior Scholar/Department Chair

The Women Studies Department at San Francisco State University seeks POSITIONS OPEN
candidates for a senior faculty position, with the successful candidate to begin
serving as Department Chair at the time of appointment, effective Fall 2007.

Position Description
The individual selected as Chair of Women Studies will assume a vital
leadership role in a department with a complement of five full-time faculty
members, including four highly capable assistant professors. This vibrant
department has a rich history, and for the past decade it has been at the NWSA SEEKS
forefront of defining and articulating a transnational perspective on the study
of women, gender, and feminism. The department has roughly 70 majors and
M.A. students, as well as a large population of minors, and makes significant
contributions to general education at the university. For further information about
Women Studies at SF State, visit our website: MEETINGS'
We seek an established scholar with strong and interesting publications, a
record of excellent teaching, and significant administrative experience. While
candidates with varied disciplinary training and subject area specializations
will be considered, we aim to appoint someone with a sure command of
See page six
the interdisciplinary field of women/gender studies, a strong commitment to
transnational feminist study, and fluency in feminist theory and gender studies for full details
at the intersections of race, sexuality, class, and nation.

Doctorate in Women Studies, or other appropriate field with experience in
women/gender studies. Must have experience in academic administration or
demonstrable capacity to be an effective department chair.

Rank, Tenure Status, and Salary

Appointment will be at the Associate Professor or Professor level. We
expect the successful candidate will present credentials that warrant an
appointment with tenure. Salary competitive, commensurate with qualifications.
SF State, as part of the California State University system, provides generous
health and retirement benefits, as well as domestic partner benefits.

The University
San Francisco State University is a multi-purpose institution of higher
education located in a large and diverse urban setting. The University serves
a multicultural student body of close to 30,000, offering bachelor’s and master’s
degrees in over 200 fields of study. Excellence in teaching is the University’s
primary mission, although research and service to the community are high
priorities. The University is dedicated to broadening the ethnic and cultural
diversity of its faculty, staff, and students. San Francisco State University is
one of 23 campuses in the California State University system. SFSU is an
Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer.

To Apply
Application materials must be postmarked by November 27, 2006. Submit a
letter of application, curriculum vitae, a representative writing sample, teaching
materials, and three letters of recommendation to:

Professor Loretta Stec, Acting Chair , Women Studies Department

San Francisco State University ,
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132

NWSAction/Fall 2006 61


Location: Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2007 • Deadline: November 1, 2006
With Keynotes from
Keynotes: Sandy Stone Helen THOMAS
This conference spotlights the dynamic relations and fecund negotiations among the & Thenmozhi SOUNDARARAJAN
complex and interrelated domains of the arts, the sciences, and gender.
Topics: We are seeking submissions that consider the cultural concept of gender and March 31-April 2, 2006
its uses as a category of inquiry and those that emphasize the permeable boundaries Stata Center @ MIT, Cambridge, MA
between “science” and “art,” as well as related pedagogial issues.
CFP Email:
Contacts: Susan Darrah 215-968-8152, Dr. Lois Gilmore 215-968-8176

In order to promote exploration of various aspects of women’s

lives, we welcome proposals in any area if they explicitly foreground
the diversity of women’s experiences. For example, these may
include those related to race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation,
national/international identification, and ability, but also family
Deadline: March 1, 2007
membership, professional and community engagement, access
to social services, globalization, and participation in political
T h e N W S A J o u r n a l i nv i te s
proposals from scholars/activists
Proposals should consist of the following information:
who would like to edit a special issue I. Proposed theme and rationale, especially as it relates to the
or cluster issue for the NWSAJ. topics noted above
Through these special issues, II. Potential outline of key topical areas
we will continue NWSAJ’s tradition III. Proposed call for papers and publicity
plan for soliciting articles
of publishing multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary articles on
IV. Description of peer review process
topics that are critical to the understanding of women’s lives. While V. Proposed timeline
special issues about any topic related to Women’s Studies may be VI. List of co-editors with curriculum vitae
submitted, we are especially looking for scholars and topics that
focus on the following areas: Questions should be addressed to Becky Ropers-Huilman,
225-578-2892, or
• Pedagogical and Institutional Issues Please send your completed proposals to:
Related to Women’s Studies National Women’s Studies Association Journal
• Science, Technology, and Gender Becky Ropers-Huilman
• Gender, Place, and Culture College of Education, 121C Peabody Hall
• Leadership and Activism. Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 70803

62 NWSAction/Fall 2006

NEW APPOINTMENTS Old Dominion The University of North

University Carolina at Greensboro
Eastern Michigan
The Women’s Studies The Women and Gender Studies
Department welcomes Program welcomes their first full-time
˜ of
Solange Simoes, Jennifer N. Fish as an WGS faculty member, Visiting Assistant
Ann Arbor, has joined Associate Professor of Professor, Danielle Bouchard.
the WGST program Women’s Studies.
and the Department of
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Sociology, Anthropology
and Criminology. Texas Woman’s Jennifer N. Fish Jennifer Castillo is now
Solange Simoes
˜ University the Director of Women’s
Center at the University
Georgia Institute of Technology Jillian Duquaine-Watson
of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
has been appointed Assistant
Colleen Petterson has been hired as
Professor of Women’s Studies.
Program Coordinator for the Georgia Liz Cannon, the
Tech Women’s Resource Center. This is f o u n d i n g d i r e c t o r,
a new full-time position at the WRC. University of Cincinnati returned to her previous
position as an instructor
Michelle Gibson has been appointed as in English and Women’s Jennifer Castillo
Harvard College an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies Studies.
Susan Marine is the newly-appointed
director of the Harvard College Amy Lind has been appointed the Mary Orlee Hauser was hired to become the first
Women’s center opening this Fall. Ellen Heintz Endowed Chair in and joint appointment between Sociology and
Associate Professor of Women’s Studies Women’s Studies at UW Oshkosh this Fall.
University of Illinois at Springfield
Olga Sanmiguel-Valderrama has been
Annette Van Dyke has been appointed as a tenure track Assistant TENURE AND PROMOTION
promoted to Full Professor. Professor of Women’s Studies.
Eastern Michigan
Minnesota State University, Mankato University of Michigan-Dearborn University
Jocelyn Fenton Stitt was hired as a The Women’s Resource Center welcomes Carol Haddad, Professor
probationary (tenure track) faculty member Shareia N. Carter as the of Technology Studies at
in the Department of Women’s Studies. Program Coordinator. EMU for the past 14 years,
has assumed the position
of Interim Director of the
Washington State University
Women’s and Gender
Ohio State University Nishant Shahani is a new Assistant Carol Haddad Studies Program.
Jill Bystydzienski Professor in Women’s Studies.
is the new Chair of
the Department of University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Women’s Studies. Linda Schott, who became
Margaret Jacobs is now the director
of Women’s & Gender Studies. the first permanent Director
Jill M. Bystydzienski of EMU’s Women’s and
Gender Studies 3 years ago,
University of North Carolina Chapel Hil has accepted a position as
Donna M. Bickford is the new Director Interim Associate Dean of
EMU’s College of Arts and Linda Schott
of the Carolina Women’s Center.
Continued on pg 63

NWSAction/Fall 2006 63

Continued from pg 63

Eastern Oregon University OTHER ACHEIVEMENTS AND AWARDS dove image is used by the United Nations for
the Culture of Peace Initiative and also used
Tonia St. Germain was promoted from
Michele Tracy Berger, as their signature image for the International
fixed-term to tenure track this year.
Assistant Professor, Day of Peace.
Curriculum in Women’s
Illinois State University Studies was awarded an Molly Kerby, Instructor of Women’s Studies
Paula Ressler received tenure and was American Association at Western Kentucky University, is a recipient
promoted to Associate Professor. of University Women of the 2006 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders
( A AU W ) ‘A m e r i c a n Award. The Association of American Colleges
Fellow’ 2006-07 award & Universities,received more than 250
Roosevelt University for her new project nominations from 123 institutions across
Regina Buccola has been promoted on African American the country. Kerby is in the final stages of
to associate professor of Literature and mother and daughter her doctoral dissertation, and one of nine
communication on graduate students to receive this award.
Language at Roosevelt University, where she Michele Tracy Berger
also serves as core faculty in Women’s and health, well-being and
Gender Studies. sexuality. She is a member of the Women of Rea Kirk, from the University of Wisconsin-
Color Caucus. Platteville, Women’s Studies Program received
a Woman of the Year Award.
Southern Illinois University Carmon Faymonville at the University
Michelle Hughes Miller, Department of of Wisconsin-Platteville Women’s Studies J u l i Pa r ke r re c e i ve d t h e U n i ve r s i t y
Sociology, has been promoted to Associate Program received a Service Award. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Yvonne
Professor. Sandstroem University Service Award for
Leslie Friedman went to Bulgaria this spring promoting social justice.
as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer. She was invited
Texas Woman’s University Stephanie Saucier Wodinsky, from
to create a new performance work for the
AnaLouise Keating was promoted to the artists of the NationalAcademy of Theater & Long Island, NY, won 2nd place of the
position of Professor of Women’s Studies. Film, in Sofia, Bulgaria. “Management, Spirituality and Religion”
special interest group’s (Academy of
Pat Foster at the University of Wisconsin- Management) Promising Disser tation
University of Illinois at Chicago
Platteville, Women’s Studies Program Award.
Laurie Schaffner was promoted to Associate received a Woman of Color award.
Professor with tenure in the Criminal Justice Ann Schonberger, University of Maine,
Department. She is a 2006-2007 Visiting Yvo n n e J o h n s o n , Wo m e n’s St u d i e s received the 2006 Merle Nelson Women
Faculty at the American Bar Foundation. Coordinator at Central Missouri State Making a Difference Award from the Maine
University, received a Fulbright Award to Centers for Women, Work, and Community.
University of Cincinnati teach Women’s Studies at Envila Women’s Ann was recognized for her work in Women’s
Institute in Minsk, Studies statewide and
Wendy Eisner, received tenure and promotion Belarus for the Spring nationally and for her
to Associate Professor of Geography and 2007 semester. volunteer work in the
Women’s Studies . b a t t e r e d w o m e n ’s
Irene Kai will officially p ro j e c t s e r v i n g h e r
Washington State University present the image county.
she created for the
Linda Heidenreich received tenure and Leora Skolkin-Smith’s
International Day of
promotion to Associate Professor of Women’s book Edges: O Israel, O
Peace, Sept. 21 to
Studies. Palestine was awarded
the United Nations on
October 24 in New Leora Skolkin-Smith a stipend from the PEN/
Noel Sturgeon was promoted to Full
York City. The peace Continued on pg

64 NWSAction/Fall 2006

Faulkner Writer-in-the School National DEPAUL CELEBRATES 20 YEARS AND NEW MA PROGRAM
Program and also selected for this year’s
By Ann Russo systems of oppression and privilege in
Miami International Book Festival.
The DePaul University Women’s and local, national, and transnational contexts
Gender Studies announces a NEW MA continues to deepen. In 2002, we changed
To n i a S t . G e r m a i n our program’s name to Women’s AND
Program to begin Fall 2007. Last year, we
was nominated by the
celebrated our 20th Anniversary, and the GENDER Studies, and made a commitment
Democratic Party to run
as the candiadate for approval of the MA Program offers us an to transforming our curriculum in terms of
State Representative opportunity for continuing to grow and more comprehensively engaging global and
from HD 57 in Oregon. develop in a multitude of directions. transnational feminist perspectives as well as
gender studies.
Rebecca Wanzo of Ohio The Graduate Curriculum at DePaul DePaul’s WGS Program has a strong
State University has been
* focuses on the interconnectedness of local, commitment to social justice and community
awarded a Ford Tonia St. Germain
Foundation Fellowship for global, and transnational feminist theories, services which is reflected in our involvement
2006-07. methodologies, research, public policies, in many projects and initiatives for change.
and social movements The program’s faculty, staff, and students have
David Zierath from the University of * attends to interlocking systems of oppression been integrally involved in the establishment
Wisconsin-Platteville, Women’s Studies
and privilege - gender, race, sexuality, class, of the Sexual Harassment Office, the Women’s
Program received a Liberal Arts & Education
Teaching Excellence Award. nation - to address issues of power,resistance, Center, the LGBTQA Student Suppor t
and social transformation Services office, the LGBTQ Minor Program,
* connects feminist theories to activism and the Stop Sexual Violence Taskforce, among
LANDMARKS social justice others. And we have ongoing relationships
* engages communities through research, with community-based organizations and
DePaul University advocacy, and service initiatives.
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program In the past several years, faculty in
at DePaul was approved for an MA Program The Program’s strengths build on the the program initiated and developed a
that begins Fall, 2007. The MA was approved
accomplishments of the past 20 years. The Women and Gender Research Initiative which
during their 20th Anniversary year.
program has grown in numbers of faculty works with community members to effect
and students, expanded its curriculum in new social change through research addressing
National Women’s Studies Association directions, and built strong connections with social policy, advocacy, and community
NWSA will be celebrating its 30th community institutions and organizations. development. Research projects collaborate
anniversary in 2007 and anticipates a series We’ve grown exponentially since our with community groups such as: teen girls in
of special offerings and opportunities for inception. We began with no WMS-specific changing urban neighborhoods; low-income
members to commemorate the event. faculty, and now we have eight full-time families, organizations supporting domestic
tenured and tenure-track faculty, one violence survivors; school programs to
The University of North Carolina full-time visiting faculty, and two part- prevent relationship violence. The Initiative
at Greensboro time faculty, and over 40 affiliated faculty will provide graduate students with excellent
across the university. While we’ve grown research possibilities.
Celebrate their first class (10 students)
enrolled in the new MA program in Women in numbers, we’ve also grown in our For more information about the MA
and Gender Studies. conceptions of“women” “men” “gender” Program, check out our website http://www.
(see page 16 for full story) and “feminism.” The program’s commitment and/or contact Ann Russo
to recognizing the interconnectedness of

NWSAction/Fall 2006 65

Challenging Our What Defines Your

Own Thinking Generation of Women?
on Binary Busting
The one billion women in their
This site was created twenties and thirties are, perhaps for
by Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz and the first time in history, a generation
Ana-Maurine Lara who are poised with the resources and tools to do
writers and organizers. They something positive to address the many challenges that face them.
launched this site in an effort to build a community of resistance Through education, technology, media and travel, this is the first
by addressing the binaries in our movements. This site offers truly global generation. Thousands of young women around the
opportunities for organizers, writers and artists to learn about, world use Imagining Ourselves as a platform to share their views
dialogue and actively challenge binary thinking and action. This and connect with a global community. Now we invite you to take
is a continuously evolving site that incorporates new writings, part and join us in answering the question: What Defines Your
new experiences and new perspectives on an on-going basis. The Generation of Women?
intention is that this site can serve as a resource for people who Submit your work for our Online Exhibit! Download the
are concerned about how our movements are stunted by either/or application form below and read our easy steps to submit.
thinking. aspx?lang=1

Jewish Women’s Archive Project – Katrina’s "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" Day
Jewish Voices –Collects Jewish Experience of
Katrina Online Northern Illinois
University’s Women’s Studies
program invites everyone
to participate in what has
become an annual ritual
on their campus — "This Is
What Afeminist Looks Like”
sticker day.

In 2007, the event will

The Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) has recently launched be on Thursday March 1.
“Katrina’s Jewish Voices” — the only existing virtual archive for The deparment makes the
the Jewish response to Hurricane Katrina. JWA first collected some stickers (about the size of poliitcal buttons) avaiable about two
“artifacts” (documents, photos, videos, emails), and now we’re weeks ahead of time, and they publicize the fact extensively through
beginning to collect 100 oral histories from Jews affected by Katrina. the faculty, campus press, and email lists.
Most importantly, however, the website allows anyone affected by
the hurricane to send in digital artifacts of their own. (And, of course, The event has proved extremely popular and successful. If you
it allows anyone at all to view the artifacts and read the stories.) would like to do this on your campus, please contant Rebekah Kohli, Program Coordinator, Women’s Studies Northern Illinois University,
DeKalb, IL 60115 Tel. (815) 753-1044,

66 NWSAction/Fall 2006
The National Women’s Studies Association 28th Annual Conference
June 28-July 1, 2007 Pheasant Run, St. Charles, Illinois


A Women’s and Gender Studies Conference

Celebrating 30 Years of NWSA

• Workshops, posters, panels, roundtables

• Girls’ Studies Embedded Conference

• Tribute Panel: A session format intended to honor

past scholarship that has set new directions for the
field featuring a tribute to This Bridge Called My Back

• Engaging Scholarship Sessions:

* Girls Studies and Activism
* Performing Feminisms
* Im/Migration and Mobility
* Women's History

• Critical Issues in Women’s Studies seminars

• Writing Workshops for graduate students

and junior faculty Featured Conference Speaker
• Three Pre-Conferences:
* Program Administration Sandra Cisneros, celebrated author of The House on Mango
Street and the novel Caramelo, will be a featured speaker. She
and Development (PAD)
will read from Caramelo, which devotes much of its text to im-
* Women’s Centers migration issues, and comment on the politics of migration
* Students and mobility today.

NWSA is also pleased to recognize and celebrate the Before she was able to earn her living by her pen, Cisneros
25th anniversary of the National Council for Research worked as an educator and counselor to high-school dropouts,
an artist-in-the schools where she taught creative writing at ev-
on Women (NCRW), and anticipates special conference
ery level except first grade and pre-school, a college recruiter,
programs and sessions honoring the organizations’ an arts administrator, and a visiting writer at a number of uni-
anniversaries. versities including the University of California, Berkeley, and the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She currently lives in San
Antonio, Texas.

Complete details available at
Support the Future of Feminist Education The National Women’s Studies
Join NWSA or Renew Your Membership NOW for 2007 Association is the leading organization
dedicated to advancing and
promoting feminist education,
Benefits include:
scholarship, service, and community
Web access to valuable publications Reduced registration fees for the activism at the pre-K through
and resources for women’s studies and NWSA conference and the opportunity post-secondary levels.
women’s center directors, faculty, and to present your work there
staff NWSA has more than 2,000 individual
Opportunities to participate in
The NWSAction newsmagazine and NWSA governance and to help shape and institutional members across the
an invitation to submit articles the future of women’s studies United States and around the world
—sent to 2000 sites and 15 countries working in varied specialities.
Special purchase privileges
Monthly e-news updates on NWSA- from the NWSA Sales Catalog
related activities and opportunities
For more information about NWSA
Committee and Community List-servs including access to membership forms
The NWSA Journal at a reduced rate visit:
An opportunity to promote your And much more . . .
work and expertise through our For information about our
Expert Source media contact list annual conference visit:

Visit: NWSA

7100 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 502
Supporting and promoting feminist research College Park, MD 20740
Working to end racism and all forms of oppression 301-403-0524 •

National Women’s Studies Association

University of Maryland
7100 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 502
College Park MD 20740