Conference explores complexities of global feminism
The many facets of global feminism will be explored during an ambitious Great Lakes Colleges Association conference at Kenyon on September 26-28, 2008.
The conference, "Transnational Dialogues: De-centering the Academic Debate on Global Feminisms," will bring together scholars from Kenyon and other colleges to discuss aspects and perceptions of feminism as it has developed in different cultures, as it is studied in the academic setting, and as it is conveyed in the arts. Nineteen panels will address such topics as "Transcolonial Feminisms," "Narratives in Human Rights," and "Technologies of the Self and the Body."
"We wanted to foster an exchange of ideas centered on new approaches to the topic of transnational feminisms," said Clara Román-Odio, professor of Spanish. "Our primary goal is to challenge the exclusion of feminism from the transnational debate. Important goals are also to strengthen and expand our liberal arts curriculum and to provide opportunities for faculty development."
She helped organize the conference with Laurie Finke, professor of women's and gender studies, and Marta Sierra, associate professor of Spanish, and with faculty members from Denison University and Hope College.
The conference opens to the public at 7:30 p.m. on September 26 with a screening of the documentary The Shape of Water in Higley Auditorium. Sociologist Kum-Kum Bhavnani, who wrote and directed the film about women confronting social injustice around the world, will field questions after the screening. Actress Susan Sarandon narrates the film from a script written by novelist Edwidge Danticat.
Bhavnani, professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, is also a keynote speaker at the conference and will discuss "Shaping Transnational Feminisms, Shifting Development" at 9:00 a.m. on September 27 in Higley Auditorium.
Santa Barraza, professor of art at Texas A & M University known for her depictions of Chicana and Latina women, and Orit Bashkin, assistant professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Chicago, are also keynote speakers. Barraza will discuss "Las mujeres nobles de la frontera/Noble Women of the Borderlands" at 5:30 p.m. on September 27 in Higley Auditorium. Bashkin's topic is "Global Feminism in Iraq, 1921-1958" at 1:00 p.m. on September 28 in Gund Dining Hall.
Román-Odio believes the conference will produce curricular initiatives and ideas for specific course development, including a permanent Kenyon course on transnational feminisms. Selected conference proceedings will be published in a special volume, she said.
"There are complex, large-scale problems of globalization that affect women in an overwhelming way," she said. "We seek to respond to these challenges that women face within the dynamic that includes global as well as local issues."
The conference features nineteen panels and sixty-five presenters representing twenty-three colleges and universities. Presentations are open to the public, limited by the seating in various classrooms in Ascension Hall and in Higley Auditorium. Román-Odio said interest in the event extends beyond the academic community to "people interested in women's issues and how women are affected by these global complexities."
Visit http://lbis.kenyon.edu/transnational for more information about the conference.