Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies | Explore the Changing Roles of Gender
University of Pittsburgh

Lecture by Rostom Mesli (Post-doc), "The Complexities of Integrating Complexity: Notes on the Theoretical and Political Challenges of Intersectionality"

February 14, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:15pm

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What is intersectionality? What are the theoretical underpinnings of the concept? What does an intersectional politics look like? Is it liberal or is it radical? Is it politically enabling or paralyzing? Such questions have caused controversies in feminist and queer theory and politics. This talk seeks to open a way out of some of those conundrums by showing that they result from a conflation of different understandings of intersectionality. Against a view of intersectionality as self-evident, the talk highlights three very different understandings, each corresponding to different historical moments, and each sharing more with their context of origin than with the other versions of intersectionality.

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

First spring-term Steering Committee Meeting

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

On the docket: undergraduate studies

Undergraduate lecture by anupama jain (GSWS): "Historicizing Asian/American (Trans)National Feminisms"

February 9, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Telling the story of Asian immigrant communities in the United States is a complicated business of unpacking an unstable collection of signifiers: “Asian,” “American,” nation, woman, etc.

Lecture by Jane Ward (UC Riverside): "The Tragedy of Heterosexuality"

March 16, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

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Sponsored by GSWS, cosponsored by the Humanities Center and the Year of Diversity

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

In this work in progress, Jane Ward revisits early lesbian feminist theory to interrogate one of the basic premises of the gay rights movement—that heterosexuality is easier than queerness.

GSWS in USA Today

Check out this story in USA Today about gender today, including a quote from GSWS Director Todd Reeser:

Grants for NTS Faculty for Projects in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

The GSWS program supports and values the contributions of non-tenure-stream faculty (lecturers, visiting lecturers and instructors, part-time instructors) and is making available funds in AY16-17 to support NTS faculty in projects related to the study of gender or sexuality. Applicants must be affiliated faculty in GSWS, and strong preference will be given to faculty who teach cross-listed GSWS courses or are active in the program.

Undergrad Lecture by Patricia Ulbrich, GSWS Visiting Scholar, "Activist & Academic Alliances in the Women’s Movement Community in Pittsburgh”

February 2, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Sponsored by GSWS. 

Pittsburgh was a major hub of the contemporary women’s movement in the United States. This paper analyzes the formal and informal networks among activists and academics that contributed to the emergence of the women’s movement community in Pittsburgh during the period 1968-1973. We discuss issues of feminist identity among networks of activists and academics, the organizational structures and practices that helped or hindered alliances among them, and how they shaped strategies used to confront employment discrimination and develop the women studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

Open Lecturer Position: Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Gender/Sexuality

The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (GSWS) Program at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for a non-tenure-steam lecturer position. We are seeking a dynamic teacher who works at the intersection of critical race/ethnicity studies and gender/sexuality studies. Pending budgetary approval, the position will begin in fall 2017 with an initial three-year contract, with the possibility of obtaining renewable three-year contracts after satisfactory performance reviews.

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