Spring 2017 | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

Spring 2017

Prof. Nash will lead a faculty/grad colloquium on her book The Black Body in Ecstasy (Duke UP).

January 31, 2017 - 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Participants are encouraged to procure a copy of Prof. Nash's book and read in advance.

This event is part of a cluster of spring term events on intersectionality. For more events click here.

GSWS Club Meeting

January 27, 2017 - 5:30pm

The GSWS Club is excited to begin this semester with some great events for all majors/interests! Our first general body meeting will be held Friday Jan 27 at 5:30pm in room 226 of the Cathedral. We'll be solidifying our social media presence (so if you're tech savvy swing on by!), planning future networking and informational events, and enjoying some delicious snacks. We're also looking to establish a new board by the end of March, so if you're interested in being more involved with the GSWS program, then definitely come and chat with us!

Reading Group: "Intersectionality and its Discontents"

January 19, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Sponsored by GSWS. We will be reading 3 recent articles on intersectionality to consider what it means *today to talk about the concept. What are the challenges or issues involved in thinking intersectionally? Is the concept outdated? This discussion group is open to all faculty and PhD students interested in the topic. Readings will be available on the gsws portal (on my.pitt.edu, under "Resources") or from gsws@pitt.edu in December. 


“Intersectionality Undone: Saving Intersectionality from Feminist Intersectionality Studies” by Sirma Bilge, Du Bois Review 10.2 (2013): 405–424.

"Intersectionality as Buzzword" by Kathy Davis, Feminist Theory 9.1 (2008): 67-85.

"The Complexity of Intersectionality" by Leslie McCall, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30.3 (2005): 1771-1800.

This group is also meant to prepare for the campus visit of Jennifer Nash in late January. Prof. Nash will be presenting from her manuscript in progress on intersectionality.

This event is part of a cluster of spring term events on intersectionality. For more events click here.

Presentations by Angela Anderson (VS) Sylvia Grove (GSWS Graduate Student)

January 13, 2017 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Presentation by Angela Anderson: "Femininity By Any Other Name: Hysteria, Witchcraft, and Chronic Illness"

Presentation by Sylvia Grove: "Lips and Hips: Sugar and the Marketing of French Femininity"

First spring-term Steering Committee Meeting

January 13, 2017 - 10:00am - 11:30am

On the docket: undergraduate studies

Lecture by Prof. Karen Frost-Arnold, Visiting Scholar in GSWS, "To Lurk or Not to Lurk: A Feminist Philosophy for the Internet"

January 12, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:15pm

In recent years, philosophers have turned their attention to understanding socially constructed ignorance.  People with privileged identities (e.g., straight, white, male, cisgender) are often unaware of their privilege, and many people do not know that they have unconscious biases.  Philosophers have tried to understand how this ignorance is generated and maintained, and what strategies we might take to reduce it and make people aware of their privileges and prejudices.  In this paper, I argue that the internet provides powerful opportunities for people to unlearn their socially constructed ignorance.  The privileged can read blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and Reddit threads written by members of marginalized groups in order to learn more about the oppression others face.  This can make lurking a powerful epistemic practice.  By ‘lurking,’ I mean reading online communications without engaging in the conversation oneself.  Lurking can be a source of knowledge.  However, lurking is not a perfectly innocuous practice.  By merely lurking, a reader forgoes the sustained interactions and relationships that many philosophers argue are important to unlearning ignorance.  Merely lurking also protects one from having one’s own prejudices openly challenged.  Thus, habits of lurking need to be carefully balanced with critical dialogue across differences.  But there are also dangers in these online conversations.  For example, ontological expansiveness is a habit of white privilege that poses one such threat to cross-racial online engagement: ontological expansiveness encourages whites to expect control, to focus on their own interests, and to assume that they have the right to enter any public space (Sullivan 2006).  These habits of privilege manifest themselves in common practices of whites derailing or hijacking online spaces and conversations for people of color.  While well-intentioned whites may aim to unlearn their ignorance by engaging with people of color in online conversations, these good intentions need to be balanced with good judgment about when to engage, when to lurk, and how to avoid derailing or hijacking conversations.  Using examples of beneficial and problematic online behavior, this paper seeks to provide guidance on how to use the internet to unlearn one’s ignorance in a responsible manner.

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