Concurrent Sessions – 2022 Conference

Concurrent Session 1: Thursday, April 7, 11:45-1:00pm CST

Apocalypse Communities: Feminism and Social Justice

This presentation analyzes how the presence of feminism impacts the structure, and inspires the purpose of community, during times of catastrophe. I map the feminist ideas that shape apocalyptic texts such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God, to highlight the relationships communities have to U.S. empire, and the radical turn towards justice and freedom when care and empowered peace is the goal, rather than domination.

I ask what feminism means in each text, and look to WOC feminists, like bell hooks and Audre Lorde, to show that apocalypse authors who engage with lived realities, rather than fantasies of destruction, create blueprints for communities that strive towards sustainability and peace that can help us reconceptualize community in our contemporary time of crisis. I argue that analyzing feminist ideologies that mobilize apocalypse novels helps readers understand that the presence of a feminist imaginative impacts the relationship a community has to U.S. empire. Apocalypse texts show how women of color feminist thought works towards imaginative solutions and practices for enduring and surviving catastrophe inspired by historical events and lived experiences.

  • Meaghan Baril (she/her), Graduate Student, Literature, University of California, San Diego

Strange Bedfellowship: The Union of TERF-ology and White Supremacy

My presentation explores the links between white supremacists and trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFS), who self-identify as gender critical feminists and have been called dissident feminists. The common ground between the two groups is their anti-Trans agenda. Both foment transphobia by depicting Transgender women as a threat to cisgender women’s and girls’ sexual “purity.”

While white supremacists’ motives are fairly obvious, as are those of Trans-baiting conservatives trolling for votes, TERFs’ extreme essentialism is more puzzling. Their willingness to collaborate closely with white supremacist cismen in order to demonize Transwomen is particularly perplexing.

I will argue that one explanation of this phenomenon is that TERFs are terrified of Transgender performances of gender mutability that expose their essentialist logic as wholly patriarchal. From this perspective, TERFs’ collusion with white supremacists, rather than being anomalous, is consistent with their most basic principles and radically anti-feminist.

  • Colette Morrow (she/her), Professor, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Purdue University Northwest
  • Lisa Vallee, Undergraduate Student, Psychology, Purdue University Northwest

The Case for Crisis Pedagogy: Disclosing Educator Viewpoints in a Charged Social Climate

This presentation discusses the risks and benefits of an educator’s disclosure of personal viewpoints on sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom. The current political divisions in public opinion and attacks against the language of justice and equity have made the decision to disclose personal viewpoints highly vexed and risky. And yet, the professional experience, personal observations, and research perspectives of educators are highly relevant to classroom content across disciplines, and it seems impractical and unwise to exclude the instructor’s individual takes on content from classroom discussion.

In this presentation, the risks and benefits of educator self-disclosure are discussed. A crisis pedagogy model is outlined as a way of framing educator decisions to disclose personal stances on sensitive, controversial, and current issues. The results of a research project on these topics and the presenter’s own experiences are examined as sources of insight for this difficult topic.

  • David Jones (he/him), English, UW-Eau Claire

A Listening-First Approach to Feminist Discourse

There is currently an active conversation in the public sphere around critical race theory. The ideas associated with critical race theory in the public sphere often reach beyond the theory itself, expanding to concepts of social justice more generally. Many anti-CRT news pieces insist that children are being taught that they are oppressors or hopelessly oppressed, inciting anger in parents.

Feminist philosopher Sophie Bourgault emphasizes attentive listening as a necessary entryway to care. I will use this approach to better understand the conversation in the public sphere surrounding critical race theory and see if this analysis can produce tools for having more productive conversations between academics and the public. I will be reviewing academic literature on critical race theory as well as performing a rhetorical analysis of different media to understand how CRT is being discussed. This is especially relevant as more states attempt to pass laws banning CRT in K-12 schools, laws that actually function as a trojan horse to hide the real motive of removing social justice from the classroom, in a clear attempt to extinguish the urgency surrounding issues exacerbated and made more public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Rae Flores (She/Her), Graduate Student, Gender & Women’s Studies, UW- Madison

LGBTQ+ Advocacy: The Who, the How, and When

On average, more than 109,000 bills are introduced in state legislatures each year. In this session, you will hear from an LGBTQ+ activist and bill author about how to influence decisions.

This session will focus on examples of past LGBTQ+ organizing, including a discussion from one of the organizers from “March with Pride for BLM” Milwaukee. Through an interactive discussion, attendees will learn how to contact elected officials and decision-makers to advocate for change in the LGBTQ+ community, and participate in training exercises to prepare them to be changemakers.

  • Kat Klawes (she/they), Director and Lead Organizer, College Campus Oversight Advocates

Embracing a Community of Care at UW-Green Bay: Covid and Beyond

This panel is comprised of faculty and staff from across UW-Green Bay who will discuss the ways that they embraced the concept of radical care during and since Covid for faculty, staff, students, and themselves as instructors and people. This group, comprised of a member of the Center for Teaching and Learning who created the Intellectual Road Trip, a former Director at Residence Life who is now the Pride Center Coordinator, a co-chair of the WGSS Program and faculty member, the Assessment Coordinator and faculty member, and a faculty member who teaches in four disciplines (Writing Foundations, English Literature, Humanities and WGSS), will discuss the ways that they adapted to this situation with the idea of “care as a critical survival strategy” as outlined in Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart and Kneese’s “Radical Care: Survival Strategies for Uncertain Times” with a community of care approach and how that affected their target groups and themselves.

  • Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier (she/her), Associate Professor, English and WGSS, UW-Green Bay
  • Panelists:
    • Nicole Kurth (she/her), Interim Pride Center Director, UWGB
    • Ann Mattis (she/her), Co-Chair of English at UWGB
    • Jessica Van Slooten, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bay de Noc Community College
    • Todd Dresser (he/his), Assistant Director of the Office of Faculty and Staff Development at the University of Rhode Island

Concurrent Session 2: Thursday, April 7, 1:30-2:45pm

The Personal Archive Assignment: Creating Meaning & Working Toward Well-Being

We will address the Personal Archive Assignment (PAA), an assignment we (an archivist and an instructor) co-created at UW-Milwaukee. It was first used in the fully-online Fall 2020 semester and continues to be in use today. The PAA asks students to assemble items and metadata which document their experience(s) during 2020 and beyond: the COVID-19 pandemic, BLM protests, and more. It is explicitly a product of engaged pedagogy and prioritizes well-being, self-actualization, and empowerment. Thus, the PAA utilizes the space of the (virtual) classroom to help students navigate, reflect upon, and mark time spent living through a world characterized by upheaval. Additionally, the PAA positions students as practitioners, as opposed to receptacles of knowledge of or about, a particular discipline. Feedback on the PAA underlines the impact of engaged pedagogy: students reported a greater sense of self-awareness and understanding of their place within history. For many, the reflective exercises were a therapeutic practice that helped them sort through the emotions of the chaotic time period and document their own resilience. This presentation will explain the PAA, share resources, and offer reflections in hopes others will use it in their own classrooms.

  • Krista Grensavitch (she/her), Senior Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies / Comparative Ethnic Studies, UW-Milwaukee
  • Abigail Nye (she/her), Reference and Instruction Archivist, UW-Milwaukee

In The Garden: Pedagogies of Joy and Liberatory Education in 2022

What can the garden teach us about liberatory education? From gardens, we learn cultivation, impermanence, and attention to emergence, and to experience joy even in the midst of surprise.

In this presentation, I invoke the garden as a physical and metaphorical site for pedagogies of joy, rooted in emergent strategy and Spinoza’s conception of joy as growth. Liberation matters, and in keeping with Spinoza and feminist thinkers, I argue that it occurs in relationships with self, others, and nature. Following bell hooks and Kelly Oliver, I believe that the social ecosystem of the academic classroom can be a site of liberation through bearing witness to joy in its emergent manifestations.

Linking trauma-informed pedagogy, mindfulness, and educational philosophy, I will share this vision for a just academic ecosystem, share lessons from successful and unsuccessful attempts to cultivate this, and experiential practices participants can use in their own educational spaces.

  • Caitlin Rosario Kelly (she/her), Director of the McNair Scholars Program, Beloit College

Applying Relational Cultural Theory to Skovholt’s Caring Cycle: A Model for Relational Educators

When faculty utilize relational-cultural theory (RCT) in their teaching and mentorship work with students it is possible to utilize mutuality to create growth fostering relationships within traditional hierarchical institutions and structures. Engaging in relational work with students requires faculty to support students in their personal and professional growth. Given the competing demands on faculty, engaging in high-impact practices and relational work with students can increase their experience of burnout. Utilizing Skovholt’s caring cycle as a framework can support faculty members’ overall wellness and self-care. This presentation will provide strategies for improving self-care by applying RCT to Skovholt’s caring cycle.

  • Ann Friesema (she/her), Assistant Professor of Counseling, Psychology, Professional Counseling, and Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin- Parkside
  • Nicole L. Bradley, Core Faculty, Walden University

Intersex Care

What resources does Hil Malatino’s short, often sweet, always incisive, and absolutely indispensable pocketbook Trans Care (2020) offer for theorizing not only trans care but also intersex care? I argue that the generativity and capaciousness of Trans Care stem in part from Malatino’s theorization of trans care through a critical intersex ethos.

I say ethos rather than ethic to denote practices “of living otherwise” rather than a set of moral principles (5). A critical intersex ethos is a practice of living otherwise that draws its strength, resilience, and “resistance regimes of the normal” (Warner 1993, xxvi) directly from the lived, embodied experiences of intersex people.

Diagnosed with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome as an adolescent, Malatino grew up living in a bodymind that resisted biomedicine’s effort to rhetorically and surgically recode biology as binary. This experience subsequently informed Malatino’s theorization of trans care webs where alternatives to trans medicalism materialize through a radical reformulation of kinship and mutual aid. Intersex care, then, is the flip side of the same coin of intersex/trans justice and demands nothing less than bodily integrity and the right to self-determination.

  • David Rubin (they/them/he/his), Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of South Florida

Queering Biology

Oversimplified understandings of biological sex and gender are often deployed as a political tool to invalidate the existence of queer, transgender, and intersex individuals. Although biology is often presented as value-neutral and divorced from culture, its history has been fundamentally shaped by eugenics and white supremacy which directly contributes to ongoing biased and binary misunderstandings of human diversity surrounding sex, gender, and sexuality.

My presentation will bring together ideas from evolutionary biology and gender studies to discuss biological sex, gender, sexuality, and categorization within a cultural context. I will provide an overview of the complexity of biological sex, including the role of gametes, chromosomes, and sex differentiation in humans and across taxa. I will explore the dynamic and co-constitutive relationship between sex and gender in humans, with an emphasis on the role of eugenics in establishing the medicalization and stigma to which trans and intersex people are subjected. This history and its ongoing effects have profound consequences that continue to impact intersex and trans people’s ability to access competent medical care, legal rights, and personal autonomy. I will conclude the workshop with a discussion of how we can incorporate these ideas into increasing the inclusivity of our work and teaching.

  • Sam Sharpe (they/them), PhD Candidate, Biology, Kansas State University

Pandemic and the Koti-s: Sexual Subjectivities and Contingencies of (no/else/some)where in Kolkata

Queer lives during the pandemic have been in constant negotiations along the margins of life through the operations of biopolitical power. Differential distribution of precarity during the pandemic ensures that certain populations are worthy of living—often caste/class-ed bodies in India—while others can be let die. But queer lives have also generated (creative) collective ways of living through the pandemic, thereby rendering resistances to biopolitical regimes through their existence.

This work shall explore the collective associations among Koti men (male assigned individuals specific to South Asia who embody certain femininity and may or may not identify or aspire to identify as women) in Kolkata, India, during the pandemic. Through conversations, this work looks at specific modes of existence within, and through, these collective associations along which a Foucauldian “care of the self” can be rendered as legible and simultaneously an “experience of the impossible” in the cityscapes. Further, this work situates this care of the self along (un)intelligible futures that haunt Koti lives through the biopolitics of the pandemic; a future built into multiple contingencies of nowhere, elsewhere, and somewhere, enmeshed with the complex temporalities of the pandemic.

  • Uddipta Roy (he/they), Graduate Student, School of Livelihoods and Development, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Queering Bioethics: A connection between Ecofeminism and LGBTQI+ Bioethics

The representation of nature as a female body, the secrets of which must be revealed and then retained, is related to the control and regulatory monitoring of the female body, but also, of the environment. Just as feminist theory seeks to escape from essentialism, as a deterministic theory, ecofeminism seeks to escape from speciesism, as a discriminatory theory that relies on a deterministic superiority of humans. The adoption of such patterns demonstrates that the oppression of women, the LGBTQI+ community, and the subjugation of non-human nature originate from the same source: the patriarchal logic of domination.

The attention of my analysis will be focused on that these discourses can be deconstructed by a queer environmental bioethical analysis, through which queer bioethics demand a nobler ethic removed from “biological fetishism”. Through my analysis, I will try to show that queer bioethics should resist colonization of women’s and queer bodies by interrupting generally accepted notions of normality, health, and disability and that queer bioethics can upend the anthropocentric discourse by expanding the sphere of ethical consideration to all and any creatures sharing our planet, through intersectionality.

  • Fiorela Prenga (she/her), Postgraduate Student, Bioethics, University of Crete

Women Artists: Forwarding Eco-Consciousness

We are visual artists making our own work and collaborating as a team. We call ourselves 2 Su’s Environmental Art Installations. Our work addresses issues of environmental exploitation.

Eco feminism’s unifying tenet is that the oppression of the earth and of women are interconnected. Patriarchal degradation and exploitative policies towards both create existential paradoxes and contradictions which artists are uniquely equipped to investigate and capture. Women’s migrations, journeys, relationships, state policies toward women, the global movement of labor, and issues of safety and refuge exist in nature as well. Through research and direct observation, eco-feminist art makes visible resulting patterns, routes, and systems.

We are presenting 20 Women Artists, including ourselves, whose divergent work collectively addresses our present global climate chaos as well as life rights emergencies. In their expansive versions they document, mitigate and imagine an egalitarian, collaborative world.

We each will present a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation of 10 artists, concluding with a summary on the nature of ecofeminism as it is represented in artistic expression, along with a Q&A.

  • Susan Knight, Independent Artist
  • Suzan Shutan, Sculpture Professor, Curator, Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, CT

Widening the Frame: The Museum Movement Away from Colonial Legacy and Toward Inclusivity

This presentation will focus on the history of museums as products of the colonial era which are now facing a public reckoning. Many of the largest and most visited museums around the world contain objects taken during violent confrontations when communities were subjugated by colonial forces. Many voices have been missing or been silenced in these institutions including women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous/First Nations people, and people of color. The impacts of COVID-19, the #MeToo and BLM movements, and the rise of misinformation, have drastically changed the public’s understanding of history. In this era, museum professionals recognize their organizations have civic responsibilities.

Efforts to decolonize and diversify museums are moving forward by inviting different voices in interpretation, in museum leadership, and through new collecting practices. Museums are becoming spaces for promoting diverse voices and embracing activism, particularly in smaller, locally-focused museums. Yet this journey has not been free from missteps and the question remains if these shifts will develop into systematic and permanent change.

  • Leslie Walfish (she/her), Campus Curator, Department of Art, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Witnessing the Past, Envisioning the Future – Memorial Museums and the Pursuit of Social Justice

Museums are increasingly envisioning themselves as “democratizing, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures.” These intentions by the International Council of Museums to redesign museums so that they “contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality and planetary wellbeing” need to be linked to the specific efforts of memorial museums where curatorial practices have shifted from “authentic” objects to autobiographical storytelling in order to educate and emotionally engage the visitor.

Located in the center of Johannesburg, Constitution Hill represents a unique memorial site that, to this day, remains South Africa’s only museum commemorating the experiences of women in an infamous apartheid prison. Based on extensive archival and field research, my presentation revisits the exhibitions in the former Women’s Jail to examine how the curators position the visitor as an active witness to traumatic experiences and aim to elicit an empathic response with a commitment to social and political change. What, then, are the possibilities for alternative futures emerging from feminist relations of care and empathy as visitors engage with past experiences of racialized violence?

  • Marie Kruger (she/her), Associate Professor, English and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa

Concurrent Session 3: Thursday, April 7, 3:15-4:30pm

Dismantling Normalcy: Expanding Ethical Care After 2020

Centering students’ holistic selves is not new to academia, however, the intensity of the pandemic allowed us to enter into what Ticktin (2021) informed by the work of  Federici calls a “feminist commons”. Via screens we shared spaces; both physical and liminal, we shared our whole selves, whether that was joining Zoom in a pile of laundry or not masking the frustration of being on campus, we shared joy and struggle. This intimate space could not be sustained with capitalist and academic administrative pressures breaking it down in the name of returning to normalcy.

The focus on an ethic of care and more specifically a feminist ethic of care, that has roots in transparency and flexibility, all had an expiration date. This added to a long history of the breakdown of trust between; researchers and librarians/archivists, library workers, and leadership, and made it even more clear that librarians/archivists and students are simply cogs in the academic enterprise. This presentation is rooted in the positionality of the librarian/archivist, note this is not written from the perspective of the Library/Archive. We hope this presentation will add to larger conversations on how do we start (re)building trust with communities who have been harmed by institutional actions and inactions and how do we care for others while caring for ourselves as well.

Ticktin, M. (2021). Building a Feminist Commons in the Time of COVID-19. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 47(1), 37-46.

Neely, A. H., & Lopez, P. J. (2022). Toward healthier futures in post‐pandemic times: Political ecology, racial capitalism, and black feminist approaches to care. Geography Compass, e12609.

Casewell, M., & Cifor, M. (2021). Revisiting a Feminist Ethics of Care in Archives. Journal of Critical L

  • Sara Howard (she/her) Librarian or Gender & Sexuality Studies and Student Engagement, Princeton University
  • Valencia Johnson, Archivist for Student Life, Princeton University

Lessons from the Pandemic: Equitable Frameworks for Virtual Teaching

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many educators to adapt their teaching to new modalities. As classes moved to online platforms, instructors were left to grapple with the inequalities made glaringly apparent by this disruption. Many of these concretized obstacles — such as access to equipment, internet service, and a space that supports student learning — need to be accounted for as instructors scrambled to serve their students.

However, beyond these more obvious hurdles, the breakdown of traditional classroom structures revealed larger social inequalities that threaten to impede student learning. In this roundtable, we propose discussing the underlying inequalities brought to the foreground as we consider the lessons learned from virtual teaching during the pandemic. Specifically, we will reflect on what pandemic teaching taught us about how the intersections of socioeconomic status and gender, racial, & ethnic identities impact student learning. As we look forward to a “post-pandemic” future, how can we adapt to create a new normal that is grounded in equity and inclusion? How can we resist returning to pre-pandemic classroom structures and instead imagine new and innovative ways to make learning accessible for all of our students?

  • Jessie Wirkus Haynes (she/her), PhD Candidate and Instructor, Department of English, Marquette University
  • Jackielee Derks, PhD Candidate and Instructor, Marquette University
  • B. Pladek, Associate Professor of English, Marquette University

Dating Disconnect: Confronting Aggression, Objectification, and Misogyny in App-Based Dating

Like everything else, dating went even more digital as a result of the pandemic, and this is unlikely to change. Telling women to “get off Tinder” as the only response to an inherently misogynistic dating world is short-sighted and effectively precludes their ability to find any kind of romantic relationship, since online is now where people meet.

This panel, which includes four undergraduate female-identifying students in a women and gender studies course at UWGB and their professor, will address the ways in which aggressive and frightening communication patterns are normalized in app-based dating. There exists, on the part of far too many men, an absolute lack of recognition of the female perspective in this digital arena. Recent research by scholars such as philosopher Amia Srinivasan in her new book, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, addresses the ways in which movements that were supposed to be sex-positive and empowering for women have been co-opted by men in order to justify toxicity and entitlement to sex. The students on the panel want to confront these patterns and engage in a dialogue about what women can do to change them.

  • Jennie Young, Associate Professor, English, UW-Green Bay
  • Jasmine Brown, Student, UW-Green Bay
  • Katie Cherek, Student, UW-Green Bay
  • Katie Koehn, Student, UW-Green Bay
  • Brianna Schaefer, Student, UW-Green Bay

The Open-Book. Life: Sharing Every Chapter

Every person has a story they are living out one page at a time. While our individual stories feel unique to us, we know that when a trauma-informed approach is used—by understanding individual experience through a sociopolitical lens–we find the courage to break the silence by sharing our truths. This is how our shame and fears dissipate. They undergo a metamorphosis into personal and collective compassion and growth.

In this presentation, Jana Vantrease, a survivor of childhood and marital abuse, tells how sharing her story and understanding systemic oppression broke the chain that kept her locked in trauma. Rea Kirk, former director of two domestic violence/sexual assault programs and Professor Emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville explains how institutional support for our work is not enough; we need a broader systemic approach to permeate classrooms (both formal and informal) so that self-care, acceptance, and access are recognized as human rights, not as privileges.

  • Jana Vantrease (she/her), CEO, Wave Media Solutions, Inc.
  • Rea Kirk, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Designing and Teaching “Gender and Climate Change”

I designed the course “Gender and Climate Change” in Spring 2019, taught the class in Spring 2020, and worked with a graduate assistant, Daniella Orias, to teach it on her own in Fall 2021. This class is our program’s first to be included in the university’s Intellectual Foundations program, and it is included under the “Global Citizenship” category. In this presentation, Daniella Orias and I share the syllabus, discuss its various subject areas, highlight the most effective readings and videos, share assignments, recommend speakers, and recount some of our experiences of teaching this subject. Because we are in South Florida, we offer a particular emphasis on the small island experience in the Caribbean. We hope to also learn about how others teach the class, discover new readings, etc.

  • Jane Caputi (she/her), Professor, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Florida Atlantic University
  • Daniella Orias, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Florida Atlantic University

The Personal is Professional: How U.S. Social Work Educators’ Personal Relationships with Nature Inform their Professional Lives

This naturalistic study is one of the first to examine how social work educators address nature in the social work classroom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen educators who described their interactions with nature and its impact on their personal and professional lives.

Findings from this study include four themes: (1) personal experiences with nature that often began in childhood; (2) spiritual and/or emotional connections to nature; (3) an expanded social work mission conceptualized as either ecological or environmental justice; and (4) how participants’ views of the natural environment shaped their teaching as social work educators. Although most participants shared narratives of nature that began in childhood using spiritual and/or emotional language, some did not describe an emotional or spiritual connection to nature.

Participants whose narratives reflected this emotional or spiritual connection to nature believed an approach rooted in ecological justice should inform social work’s mission and teaching. These findings challenge the recent emphasis on competency-based education and support the importance of personal and professional self-reflection.

  • Jon Hudson (he/him), Professor, Social Work, UW-Oshkosh
  • Terry Koenig, PhD, LCSW 

Towards an Intersectional Environmentalism

This paper brings environmental studies, indigenous studies, and critical race theory perspectives to bear on gender and sexuality studies, taking “eco-feminism” as an identity, an object of analysis, and as a methodological approach. While “Feminism” in practice need not be (though often is) gender-specific, as a political and academic practice it often carries racialized inflections.

The term, “eco”, from the Greek “oikos,” has multiple translations: “dwelling,” “household,” “home,” “family” and “hearth,” laying the foundation for examining the roles that gender and sexuality play in changing forms of kinship, citizenship, and (environmental) politics beyond and within the concept of the human. These different meanings of the “eco” in economy and ecology shape scholarly analyses as well as the lived experiences for those who do not feel “at home” in a white hetero-normative structure. Through engaged ethnographic fieldwork and community-designed research on what ecologists term “disabled” landscapes in Peru’s mineral-rich Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, this paper raises promotes an “intersectional environmental” approach to environmental justice.

  • Ruth Goldstein (she/her), Assistant Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies

Queer Food Futures: Food Systems Change Online through Queer Imaginings

In this paper, I will examine threads of queer futurist thought among queer land tenders around food systems change — and its attendant harms and possibilities for creative survival — as reflected on Instagram and TikTok posts, threads, and online networks during the pandemic thus far. Bearing resonance for queerness, food, and land: queer futurism studies and queer speculative fiction contextualize this online discourse analysis. I will draw specifically from Alexis Lothian’s Old Futures (Lothian, 2018). Additionally, I invoke cli-fi author Charlie Jane Anders’s Never Say You Can’t Survive (Anders, 2021), which, born of the pandemic, provides a lens with which to think about how queer futurist thought offers escape and inspiration; as well as the republishing of Love After the End, edited by Joshua Whitehead, which includes an introduction and stories that offer Indigiqueer futurisms for moving through apocalypses and into a liberatory future (Whitehead, 2020). Ultimately, this paper seeks to illuminate how in the constant presence of “end times,” queer futurist thought online and in relation to food systems change reflects a caretaking ethic of the present; offers an escape from “small apocalypses”; and shapes ideas about, and pathways for, liberatory and ecological queer food futures.

  • Madi Whaley (they/them), Graduate Student, Gender & Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Concurrent Session 4: Friday, April 8, 9:30-10:45am

“The New Normal”: Pandemic Pedagogy is Better Pedagogy

Even before the pandemic began in March 2020, students (and instructors) in higher ed were showing signs of fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Many instructors found themselves giving more and more extensions on projects, implementing flexible attendance policies, scaffolding projects in the classroom, and reaching for high-impact practices that utilize class time in ways other than the “traditional” lecture, group discussion, or think-pair-share models.

The pandemic forced all instructors to revisit alternative teaching strategies and implement them more systematically, while the move to online or hybrid models of teaching forced us to reckon head-on with how we use class time. This panel discussion will consider how “the new normal” is here to stay; presenters will discuss strategies for engaging students who are increasingly exhausted — mentally, physically, and emotionally — while also considering how assigned workload impacts instructor workloads as well. Topics under discussion include gamifying the classroom, immersive learning during class time, rethinking the online discussion, and moving away from “canonical” texts in favor of contemporary & diverse selections that speak to today’s undergraduates and their lived experiences.

  • Ula Klein (she/her), Director, Women’s and Gender Studies, UW-Oshkosh
  • Nicole Garret, Adjunct Faculty Member, Adelphi University
  • Kathryn Klein, Lecturer, Kennesaw State University
  • Emily MN Kugler, Assistant Professor, Howard University

Fattening the Revolution: The Anti-State Potential of Fat Liberation

Since the 1960s, fat liberation has continuously evolved as a social movement, adjacent to, but not necessarily in conversation with, other leftist social movements. Recently, fat scholars and activists have made strides in identifying anti-fatness as heavily intertwined with racial capitalism, particularly anti-Blackness. Still, fat liberation is often siphoned off as a liberal self-help movement, separate from struggles to abolish racial capitalism and the nation-state.

I bring these movements into conversation by understanding fat liberation not as another category to “include” in feminist scholarship but rather as a critical lens for us to engage with consistently. Using methodologies developed by abolitionist and decolonial feminist scholars and activists, I argue that fat liberation disrupts the liberal, rights-based model, which sees the law and the nation-state as a solution to systematic violence and oppression. My analysis understands nation-states using the logics of anti-fatness and diet culture to commit colonial acts of violence and occupation. I envision a revolutionary future for fat activists that sees our movement as inseparable from movements to abolish racial capitalism and the nation-state.

  • Cora Segal (she/her), Graduate Student, Gender & Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Fat from Below, Fat from Above: Fat Abjection and Fat Vanity

A history of changing meanings of fatness in the West elucidates how the coloniality of power and Western modes of knowledge production position fatness as always volitional, impermanent, and a condition of being that requires alteration and improvement — as in — towards a state of thinness.

In this presentation, I explore historic and contemporary efforts to “queer” fatness away from the tyranny of slenderness and imagine possibilities for fat subject identities. I ask how fat subjectivities can be accessed “from below” — that is, from the perspectives of fat people themselves — as a way to produce new understandings of fat embodiment, existence, and most importantly, fat as subject identity. What can be imagined for non-Western fat epistemologies, and what political possibilities might they have for making fat subjectivity viable? I consider these possibilities by examining the work of fat activists, and fat liberation efforts that embrace fat as a state of abjection, rejecting “toxic positivity” and the promise of the “thin self,” and exploring radical imaginings such as fat desirability and fat vanity.

  • Katherine Phelps (she/they), Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Words May Kill Us: Practices of Care and Equity in Writing About Weight

The negative impact of weight stigma has become even more palpable during COVID-19. Not only has fat-shaming increased but experiences with prior medical fatphobia could be leading fat individuals to avoid medical care, even for COVID-19.

Despite media insistence that “obesity” is a risk factor for contracting and dying from COVID-19, the data show that studies that have reported a correlation between “obesity” and poor COVID-19 outcomes are flawed in many ways, including not controlling for the social determinants of health such as racism, poverty, and weight bias. Fat people also are having to process the trauma of being the subjects of public debates about whether their lives are worth saving.

This presentation explores how a feminist fat studies framework can help educators create a pedagogical practice of care and equity that addresses weight stigma in writings about weight and fatness. This presentation will explore common problem areas in writing about weight not only in the popular media but also in scholarly papers and grant proposals. It will also present techniques that strengthen the abilities of individuals writing about fat people while avoiding harm to the individuals about whom they write.

  • Heather Brown, T. Still University

Feminist and Queer Futures? A Roundtable Conversation with UW-Whitewater Undergraduates

Through navigating a global pandemic, community racial violence, budget crises, national conversations about #metoo, and so much more, UW-Whitewater (UWW) students in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) often ponder what the future looks like, including the future of Women’s and Gender Studies, feminist and queer activism, and their individual next steps in this uncertain world.

In this roundtable discussion, WGS undergraduates from the UWW will discuss what a feminist and queer future looks like. We will hear various perspectives based on social location, research expertise, and activist work. Questions we will explore include: what might we imagine as a feminist and queer future? Using theoretical work from Judith Butler and other feminist and queer scholars, how might we envision a feminist and queer future that expands the notion of being human and protects the possibilities of various future trajectories? With your Women’s and Gender Studies education and feminist activism, what are the immediate and long-term steps needed to secure a more inclusive feminist and queer future? This roundtable conversation will serve to germinate activist pipelines, community building, and Women’s and Gender Studies at UWW and beyond.

  • Ashley Barnes-Gilbert, PhD (she/her), Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Caitlyn Lemke, UW-Whitewater Student
  • Andi Britton, UW-Whitewater Student
  • Cass Kang, UW-Whitewater Student

Introduction to LGBQTIA+ Studies As Social Justice

This panel discusses the importance of teaching Introduction to LGBQTIA+ Studies from a social justice standpoint and features the experiences of students in my course and their final advocacy projects. This course emphasizes the importance of dismantling systems of oppression, promoting the understanding of intersectionality and the social construction of gender, emphasizing queer theory and queer positionality, and centering the use of feminist praxis. The final advocacy products encourage students to speak truth to power and suggest interventions to create a more equitable space for LGBQTIA+ folx in every social sphere.

  • Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier (she/her), Associate Professor, English and WGSS, UW-Green Bay – Sheboygan Campus
  • Cory Carter (she/her), student, UW-Green Bay
  • Liv Riendeau (she/her), student, UW-Green Bay
  • Rebecca Stewart (she/her, student, UW-Green Bay
  • Kaia Stueck, (she/her or they/them), student, UW-Green Bay

Concurrent Session 5: Friday, April 8, 12:45-2:00pm

Expanding the Definition of First-generation to College for Asian American Undergraduate Women

To expand the definition of first-generation to college, we examined the concept as defined by Asian American undergraduate women attending a PWI. The literature conceptualizes first-generation as parent(s)/guardian(s) who: (1) have not obtained a postsecondary degree, (2) received a two-year degree, or (3) along with sibling(s) have not obtained a degree (Toutkoushian et al., 2018). Within the education setting, Asian American women experience gendered racism (Mukkamala & Suyemoto, 2018) and report 2.3 times more hate incidents than their men peers (Jeung, 2021) yet are “invisible” within scholarly discourse (Museus, 2013).

Our study explored Asian American women’s first-generation college narratives as an overlooked identity. Initial review of 39 student responses revealed important intersections that extended the current student development and university-based definition of being first:

– In immediate family to go to college

– To be born in the US and to go to college

– To be born in the US with parents earning a degree abroad

– To attend a 4-year institution with parents earning an associate degree in the US

These new conceptualizations lend a different narrative that extends current definitions and drives needed programming.

  • Tracy Guan (she/her) Graduate Student, Department of Counseling Psychology, UW-Madison
  • Alberta M. Gloria, Ph.D. (ella, she/her), Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, UW-Madison

Bridging the Gap in Social Justice Among Faculty to Better Support Students who are Marginalized/Oppressed Through and Beyond the Pandemic

The pandemic has highlighted a greater need for social justice, and care and support for students, particularly those who are marginalized and oppressed, as they have encountered additional daily barriers. If we imagine that our academic departments represent communities, of which our students are a part, then the need for faculty to provide support that is rooted in social justice is more clear now than ever. However, many faculty doing social justice work find their efforts at odds with other faculty they may work alongside in their departments.

This roundtable discussion/presentation seeks to bring forward a discussion about imagining a future where we build socially just communities in our departments in order to more fully support all of our students. A socially just department culture would include all faculty examining their own competency and supporting students’ voices, even when those voices challenge the structures that hold them back. It also would require faculty to engage in intrapersonal and interpersonal accountability and to center collective care to create an environment where students can thrive.

  • Amney Harper (she/they)Professor, Professional Counseling, and Women and Gender StudiesUW-Oshkosh
  • Teysha Bowser, Assistant Professor, UW- Oshkosh

I Can’t Hear You: Lessons Learned from Communication Problems in a Pandemic

For those who are hard-of-hearing, the pandemic has made it even more problematic to communicate. The behavioral setting has new barriers to communication when everyone is wearing a face mask, plexiglass shields are in place and a physical distance of six feet must be maintained.  Masks diminish speech quality, cover visual cues, and make it impossible to lip-read. On a positive note, difficulties communicating because of COVID-19 precautions and policies have actually helped people empathize with those who are hard-of-hearing because of their experience with these new barriers. For example, the need for good sound clarity in meetings on virtual platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams has become a non-negotiable priority. People will not tolerate barriers to hearing such as inadequate microphones, speakers, headphones, and background noise. The communication problems that are a consequence of pandemic precautions have made it more imperative that we aspire to eliminate barriers to communication in the physical environment such as high reverberation rates and sound transfer between spaces.  Moving forward with lessons learned, we have an opportunity to improve the design of interior spaces to better support inclusivity, and in particular for those who are hard-of-hearing.

  • Karen Keddy (she/her), Professor, Architecture, Ball State University

A Novice Feminist Pedagogy: Community, Accessibility, and Lessons from Online Learning During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic created a massive shift for educational institutions, moving us from our physical classrooms to online learning spaces. The shift in pedagogical methods was something that was a central concern for many academics. As such it remains the central question of this presentation.

While we initially conceptualized our project as addressing a binary opposition between online and in-person learning, with online learning providing greater accessibility and in-person classes generating a stronger sense of community among students and faculty, our data actually demonstrated that the benefits and drawbacks of both styles are not so cut and dry. Rather, a feminist pedagogy that centers the importance of both community and accessibility should integrate positive elements of both in-person and online learning as tools in one’s feminist toolkit. In this presentation, we will describe the shortcomings of our own binary thinking around this project, address how our interviews with WGS administrators informed our thinking about online pedagogy, and convey the results of a survey of our peers’ thoughts on in-person and online learning, before reflecting on our personal experiences in virtual classrooms during the pandemic.

  • Alexandra Johnson (she/her), Adjunct Professor, Philosophy, SUNY Purchase
  • Jenny Rossberg, Graduate Student, The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Mothering” Students for Better Results in Pandemic-Era Teaching

Early in our careers, we both received the advice that as novice educators who happen to be feminine-presenting, we should not engage in “mothering” behaviors toward our students, lest we be perceived as less serious or less deserving of respect by our students. More than a decade later, especially in our current pandemic-era teaching, we have found that not only do some students benefit from receiving “mothering” from their instructors but also that it is a better fit for our own teaching styles.

In this roundtable discussion, we will discuss the various interpretations of the idea of “mothering”, especially in a queer context, and apply the idea of “mothering behaviors” to our teaching. We encourage other educators to join us in the discussion to build onto our ideas with examples of the ways in which leaning away from the “do not mother students” advice can benefit both students and the instructor.

  • Mackenzie Krzmarzick (she/her), Instructor, English, Philosophy, and Communication Studies, UW-Stout
  • Melody Hoffmann, Instructor of Mass Communication, Anoka-Ramsey Community College

“Envisioning a New Feminist World–Mothering in a Time of Pandemic & Global Uprisings–Intergenerational Stories from Women of Color through Geographic Distance Via ZOOM (2021). (Saint Paul, Minnesota & Mexico City/Estado de Chihuahua, Mexico).”

Since May 2021, two women of color came together via ZOOM from Saint Paul, MN, and Wisconsin/Mexico during urgent global uprisings in Las Americas and the time of a pandemic (COVID). In need of nurturing and creativity, Diana and Veronica met weekly for discussion and mentorship to re-imagine their lives. This intergenerational dialogue impacted decision-making within their families and their communities for newfound freedom as mothers and leaders. Together as women, we interwove stories and came out with poetry, images, essays, and the beginning of a book. WE want to tell our story of envisioning our resistance and new feminist ways of being — living now. NO apologies. The co-presentation reflects the last year and a call for a new feminist future through intergenerational dialogue. Decision-making, caretaking, mothering, and finding self during uncertain times. Lived experiences and reflections centered around truth-telling. We will discuss who inspired us and how we hope that others “voice” their lived experiences as women, mothers, grandmothers, and caretakers. Critical race theory, post-colonial theories, critical indigenous studies, and feminist studies are about our stories–we tell our stories.

  • Diana Elena Moran Thundercloud (she/her), Community Advocate and Dissertation Advisor (K-12 & Community Based Education; Native Indigenous & Latino/a Studies), Educational Leadership (K-12 & Higher Education), Edgewood College – Madison, WI
  • Veronica Velez-Cuevas, Venue Relations and Media Consultant, University of Wisconsin – River Falls Alum 2021

The Cloistered Word: Transatlantic Consonances in 17th-Century Conventual Writing

This project examines the development of vidas, diverse modalities of conventual autobiographical writings by nuns from seventeenth-century Spain and Mexico. These female writers negotiated a line between the anxiety of authorship and obedience to create and express their own gender and spiritual subjectivity. Vidas can be seen as a long-life confession in which a nun, obeying her confessor’s order to write, describes her journey into religiosity, the barriers she overcame to follow the spiritual path, and her divine revelations and visions. This presentation thus charts this exploration and reconsiders the duality of obedience and gender subjectivity in vidas.

  • Denise Castillo (she/her/ella), Graduate Student, Spanish and Portuguese, UW-Madison

Centering African Women’s Narratives of Feminist Ethics of Care Through Ubuntu

I am examining a set of scholarly conversations about various representations of Black women analyzed through Ubuntu, the African ethical praxis, and also engaging with the intellectual realization that all blackness is resistance. I am motivated to explore the African women’s experiences and narratives of giving and receiving care.

African women are a demographic whose caring practices are rooted within social constructions of black womanhood from an imperialistic and cultural view. Unfortunately, much of the political, social, and scholarly work about African women hinges on their vulnerabilities. The issue with these disempowering narratives is that they strip African women of their agency to curve out, and act upon their power to care for themselves and others while challenging the destruction of their humanity, and the epistemic violence from scholars.

What are the broad discussions and understanding of the African socio-cultural contexts of care ethics that disrupt violent monolithic narratives about Africa’s diverse and complex spaces? There is an urgent need for black women writers to re-theorize and redefine experiences of black women using feminist ethics of care tools contextualized within African spaces.

  • Agnes Phoebe Muyanga (she/her), Graduate Student, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas

A Global Feminist Ethics of Care: Theories and Approaches from a Philosopher and Economist

Women’s work and cares — motherhood, family, unpaid and paid labor, work “leaves” — arguably call for a feminist socio-political-economic focus on developing basic Capabilities. These are necessary and desirable for females and for all humans.

In a globalized, postcolonial world, women’s development and prospects for developing their capabilities for a ‘good life,’ must confront unequal and unfair opportunities, access, and resources allotted that different cultures, governments, and environments allot to females.

This feminist Capabilities theory, considered as an ethics of care, entails data, activism, input, and outcome assessment. Thereby Nussbaum and others depend upon the care and coordination of philosophy, economics, and socio-political action.

Although an odd couple — Martha Nussbaum, an American philosopher and activist, and Amartya Sen, an Economist Nobel Laureate — both offer a new working model for feminist theory and practice. (2021 U.S. Congress proposal for Family Security Act; Sen on India and Africa 2008; Nussbaum, UK Labor Laws 2019.)

Nussbaum works with women and girls, in India and internationally to test her ideas for addressing poverty, hunger, and sexual violence against females (2012; 2017–).

  • Mary Lenzi (she/her), Associate Prof. of Philosophy, Humanities, UW-Platteville

Concurrent Session 6: Friday, April 8, 2:30-3:45pm

Cooking up Care: How Zines, Printing, and Mutual Aid Nourish our Communities

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of the prison industrial complex (PIC), being able to provide self-care and community care is vital to sustaining our future for collective liberation.

Knowing this, the Wisconsin Prison Recipe Project (WPRP) was formed between two pen pals, Joshua W. who is incarcerated at Fox Lake Correctional Institution, and Kayla K. who is living in Milwaukee.

In 2021, WPRP compiled their first zine, Canteen Café: Recipes of Resilience, which consists of more than 15 recipes and essays from incarcerated individuals across WI. WPRP also partnered with Communication Madison Director Jennifer Bastian and Madison-based artist Lesley Numbers to support the production, publication, and distribution of the zine, which was sent to all Black & Pink-Milwaukee members.

In a heteronormative, patriarchal world, care is often performed by women, such as performing domestic chores, cooking, and raising a family. This logic continues behind bars, as the PIC reinforces gendered binaries. In an effort to push against this narrative, Canteen Café highlights the ways we can all take care of each other through food, sharing resources, and having conversations within and outside of the PIC. This zine is an homage to the ways art, food, and popular education serve as individual and communal care and tools of liberation.

Participants will have a chance to purchase a copy of Canteen Café: Recipes of Resilience.

  • Kayla Kuo (she/her), Community Member
  • Jennifer Bastian, Director of Communication Madison + Artist Communication, Madison

Dismantling Carceral Feminism in the Fight to End Violence

Students in a feminist theories and politics course studied the impact of what Mimi Kim calls a “carceral creep” by examining a historical archive of the Winona anti-violence movement. Kim defines carceral creep as: “Feminist and other social movement proponents with emancipatory claims now find themselves trapped by the symbolic logic, political aims, and spatial occupation and domination of the carceral state.” They explore how the archive relates to Emily Thuma’s “All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence,” a grassroots history of resistance to gender violence and the carceral state.

In this roundtable discussion, students will discuss critiques of carceral feminism, the materials of the archive and criminalizing self-defense, and concepts and how transformative justice shaped their understanding of this work. The goal of this roundtable is to bridge theories and actions of a local anti-violence movement through their research of abolitionist praxis and dismantling carceral feminism.

  • Mary Jo Klinker (she/they), Professor, WGSS, Winona State University
  • Monica De Leon-Sanchez, Undergraduate Student, Winona State University
  • Cassidy Daniel, Undergraduate Student, Winona State University
  • Madison Rios, Undergraduate Student, Winona State University

Rendering Visible the LGBTQ+ Campus Community: LGBTQ+ Advocacy Work with Photovoice for Social Justice”

As Women’s and Gender Studies professionals committed to a scholar-activist practice, we navigate many silos at our institution. These silos, perhaps by design, maintain divisions among academic disciplines and divisions, as well as among distinct areas charged with student life, support, and advocacy. At times, the labor required to maintain an effective cross-disciplinary advocacy practice feels like pushing a train uphill, or as Sara Ahmed captures in Living a Feminist Life, trying to move a brick wall. This is especially true when doing advocacy work alongside student populations the institution invisibilizes. From assumptions that queerness only exists in urban settings to an obscured presence within institutional research and planning, the LGBTQ+ community on our rural Wisconsin campus still fights for basic forms of access and acceptance that come from being recognized as a population that the university serves. We will discuss our purpose, methodology, and goals of using a photovoice project for LGBTQ+ social justice to challenge this persistent erasure. Ultimately, we hope the project visually renders the stories and lived experiences of our rapidly growing LGBTQ+ campus community and creates a pipeline for student-led advocacy.

  • Ashley Barnes-Gilbert, PhD (she/her), Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies, UW-Whitewater
  • Kristen Prock, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, UW-Whitewater
  • Stephanie Selvick, PhD, LGBTQ* Coordinator, UW-Whitewater

The Musical Rainbow: An Analysis on LGBTQ+ Musical Professionals and Their Works for Saxophone

This workshop aims to educate participants about the importance of LGBTQ+ composers and music by discussing a research project I completed at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. This study titled, The Musical Rainbow: An Analysis on LGBTQ+ Musical Professionals and Their Works for Saxophone, was completed in order to understand how being a member of the Queer community can influence musicianship, and how LGBTQ+ composers can be best supported.

Through surveying and studying LGBTQ+ composers, I have discovered that various identities can influence musicianship, including religion, race, gender, and sexuality. Additionally, it was concluded that the representation of LGBTQ+ composers is important for diversifying the music field and making music more accessible. This workshop will also engage participants in discussion about the current issues in the musical field and how these problems can be remedied in the future. Prior experience with music is not required to attend and understand the content from this workshop.

  • Oliver DiPietro (they/them), Graduate Student, GWS, UW-Madison

Boricua Feminism and the Decolonial Impulse

In Rican feminist thought, decolonizing is not merely an approach, method, or exercise, but an ongoing way of life. From Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron’s cry that she “came to die for Puerto Rico” to the signal from Boricua author Elizabet Velasquez that “staying alive, well, that too is Puerto Rican history,” Rican women have long struggled, resisted, and endured against colonial time.

This “ongoing performance of bodily endurance” (Sandra Ruiz, 2019) under U.S. colonialism, most recently marked by Hurricane Maria, economic violence, the coronavirus pandemic, and femicide, is a decolonial yearning, documented in the cultural work of Boricua women writers, artists, and activists. Boricua feminist thought, however, is largely absent in the academic feminist canon. In this paper, I argue Boricua feminism is not often interpolated as feminism since it does not resemble the expected, and particularly, Western, view of feminism as “women’s struggles against men and patriarchy,” though multiple patriarchies hinder the lives of Puerto Rican women and gender minorities. Additionally, I argue Boricua feminism is vital to decolonial feminist imaginings.

  • Heather Montes Ireland (she/ella), Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies; Critical Ethnic Studies, DePaul University

Standing by Their Side and Working Side by Side: Reflections on Teaching Afghan Women in Social Reconstruction

The US’s final withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan in 2021 has caused increasing concern for Afghan women’s rights and gender equality. Given the history of Afghanistan, Afghan women’s lives, and political participation will be more unpredictable. International organizations, grassroots activists, researchers, and scholars have engaged in a range of activities to advocate for Afghan women and provide assistance, but they also need to carefully organize or plan their activities by including Afghan women from various groups in the country.

The 2005 conference, “Afghan Women Leaders Speak: Conflict Mitigation and Social Reconstruction at the Ohio State University,” provided a critical framework for meaningful and productive dialogues among Afghan women leaders and US-based scholars and students. The presenter of this roundtable both attended the conference and co-taught — as a graduate teaching associate — an undergraduate course on Afghan Women in Social Reconstruction to prepare students for their participation in the event. In this presentation, the presenter will explain the importance of working side-by-side with Afghan women by using examples from the course and her observation at the conference.

  • Dong Isbister, Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, UW-Platteville

Beyond Sexual Politics: Imagining Other Futures for African Feminisms

Although African feminism distances itself from Western feminism, they share similar goals: liberation, emancipation, empowerment, and resistance to the patriarchy. While strategies for achieving these goals have not always been uniform, the deliberate refashioning of the African female body as one that is sexually free and subversive is a thread that appears throughout African literature and popular media.

Against the backdrop of the Nigerian #EndSARS protest of October 2020, and the pivotal role that the feminist organization FEMCO played in this movement, I consider the implications of a continued reliance on women’s sexual politics as a dominant feminist strategy. Drawing on examples from film and literary materials, I show the broad range of concerns championed by African women’s resistance movements and emphasize the need to imagine an anti-patriarchal strategy that does not rely heavily on sexual politics.

  • Omotola Okunlola (she/her), Graduate student, African Cultural Studies, UW-Madison

Solidarity Strategies in #MeToo and the Academy: Intersectional Approaches to Supporting Scholars and Students

In this presentation, I contrast my experience participating in the #MeToo campaign as a student in 2017 with the border-crossing solidarity practices of Central American #MeToo Twitter accounts. Bearing in mind current digital humanities research on narrative capacity and transnational social organizing, I consider how the digital feminist networks of two Central American #MeToo accounts model strategies that can inform our scholarly writing and citation practices.

In collaboration with other feminist groups in the region, these accounts practice a curated intertextual network that could be similarly beneficial in supporting scholars in precarity due to their identity, location, and/or rank within the academy. These accounts also challenge U.S.-centered critiques against #MeToo while encouraging intersectional and transnational connections between social issues that are often treated as separate from sexual and gendered violence. Additionally, many of the posts on the pages are from university students who create an informal justice network to warn others of predatory university employees and provide protection that university procedures have not.

  • Kenna Neitch (she/her), Visiting Assistant Professor, Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University of Ohio

Concurrent Session 7: Saturday, April 9, 11:30-12:45pm

History Matters: Reflecting on Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

With the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, there have been numerous questions on how they will block women’s rights. Starting during the reigns of King Amanullah (1919-1929), King Mohammed Zahir (1933-1973), and President Daoud (1973-1978) marked positive gains towards women’s rights. The Communist period of Afghanistan (1978-1992) marked an official decline for women’s rights. Afghanistan during the Taliban rule (1996-2001) used Islam and Sharia law to prohibit women’s rights and based this to make rules and laws to limit their access to public spaces and limited their movement outside of the home. Despite this, women would resist the new changes and fight for their rights. This presentation will explain a brief timeline in which Afghanistan made progress towards women’s rights and when those rights started to diminish before the Taliban annihilated them completely and restricted any hope of freedom. This presentation uses Kabul as an example to explain how Taliban rule enacted harsh policies to limit women’s upward progression and blocked any kind of women’s rights. This presentation will also examine examples of how women would resist the new changes that the Taliban made.

  • William Balsdon, Undergraduate Student, UW-Platteville

Gender-Based Human Rights Violations in Ireland, Intergenerational Trauma, and Justice

This research project uses a gendered and intersectional lens to investigate how to achieve transformative justice for survivors of institutionalized abuse and their relatives. Transformative justice seeks to respond to harm in a collective, community-based alternative (Kim, 2021). This research is concerned with institutional abuses perpetrated by the Catholic Church and the Irish State from 1922 until 1998 within the “Magdalene Laundries” and Mother and Baby Homes. Magdalene Laundries consisted of incarceration and forcible hard labor. Mother and Baby Homes housed unmarried mothers of “illegitimate” children; they were often forced to give up their babies. I will assess intergenerational, familial, and community trauma experienced by survivors and others in their circle. Intergenerational trauma refers to ongoing trauma resulting from family members experiencing abuse (Bombay et al., 2014).

Research demonstrates that the Irish State has failed in fulfilling its promises of reparations, even though some survivors of Magdalene Laundries have accessed the government’s Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme (McGettrick et al., 2021; The Clann Project, 2021). A redress proposal has been made for survivors of Mother and Baby Homes, however, it excludes people who spent less than six months in the homes (, 2021). Meanwhile, the Church has yet to provide reparations. Relatives of institutionalized women have not been considered for reparations, and oral history from relatives of institutionalized women has been limited (JFMR, 2012). To understand how to achieve justice, I have spoken to survivors and their family members. This research will assess patterns among participants in their experiences of institutionalization, means of seeking justice, and family histories.

  • Olivia Paulson (she/her), Undergraduate Student, RGSS, UW-La Crosse

Criminalizing Survivors of Domestic Sex Trafficking: A Threat to Healing and a Barrier to Recovery from Trafficking

The criminalization of victims of domestic sex trafficking in the US is a pervasive issue, where 90.8% of US trafficking survivors (majority trafficked for sex) report having been arrested. However, an understanding of its implications on health and wellbeing is both lacking and necessary. To address this gap, we analyze the effect of criminalization on health and wellbeing at 5 stages of trafficking. We find criminalization of victims during exploitation (1) compounds trauma and prevents victims from accessing safety, social, and medical services. Detention (2) likewise compounds trauma and increases traffickers’ control over victims, making it more difficult to exit trafficking (3). After victims escape trafficking, criminalization stymies survivor recovery during integration (4)because it serves as a reminder of the trafficking experience and criminal records prevent survivors from accessing resources like housing and employment. Finally, criminal records increase survivor vulnerability to being re-trafficked (5), because the barriers created by criminal records leave few options for fully reintegrating to life outside of trafficking. We recommend further steps in policy and research to prioritize wellbeing and stop criminalization.

  • Justine Hill (she/her), Undergraduate Student, School of Human Ecology, 4W STREETS
  • Kelsey Mullins, Staff Attorney – Underserved Populations (JD and MSW), End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin

Sharing Realities: Incarceration, Inspiration, and Learning

Denny Jackson was given a life sentence by an all-white jury for second-degree murder and assault even though he was not at the scene of the murders. Denny is half-Indigenous and half-Black.

Despite very different lived experiences — Denny being incarcerated and Rea (a white middle-class Jewish woman) being free — saw their friendship grow through an over 20-year letter-writing conversation. They both agree they grew in understandings of education, spirituality, equity, and justice as seen through each other’s eyes.

The ping pong nature of their correspondence, across over 1000 miles and more than two decades dovetails with the intersectionalities of race, religion, gender, and social class. This presentation reflects the potential growth we all have by crossing many of the socially accepted boundaries to learn about and understand not just how others live, but the reasons for their life choices.

This talk speaks of hope and strength doubled when shared with another, and with the realization that we are all part of a greater unifying oneness.

  • Denny Jackson (he/him), Activist, Chicano Studies, California State University at Northridge (CSUN)
  • Rea Kirk, Professor Emeritus, UW-Platteville

Exploring Systemic Inequities in Elementary School Art Class through Stop Motion Animation

I am a current PhD student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) and a former elementary art teacher and GSA advisor. Social justice, critical thinking, and problem-solving were central to my teaching philosophy. The pandemic forced some creative thinking around art lessons, especially with limited time and opportunity for natural collaboration.

In this workshop, I will show parts of collaborative student stop motion animation videos created last school year by my 3rd through 5th grade students at Randall Elementary School. The main topics chosen were based on the students’ own social justice passions and life interests. Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights topped the social justice list with other interests falling into six main categories: family, voting, sports, entertainment, Covid-19, and climate change. I will provide information on the logistics and outcomes of the lesson. I hope to spark ideas about how to incorporate meaningful age-appropriate discussions on how social justice work is intertwined with important current events. Though this lesson was implemented with 3rd through 5th grade students, the idea could be adapted to a wider K-12 audience.

Because we will only have time to watch one video at the most, feel free to preview the videos or enjoy them after the presentation.  Video Link.

  • SJ Hemmerich (they/them), Graduate Student, ELPA, UW-Madison

Sexual Violence Among Adolescent Girls: A Feminist Policy Analysis of New York State Social Emotional Learning Guidelines

Educators are on the frontlines of intervening against violence affecting youth, and trauma-informed practices increasingly are common in K-12 public schools. However, concern about student trauma does not always operationalize into appropriate policy and programming to address and prevent it in these spaces. Given the linkages between structural conditions, student adversity, and social-emotional learning (SEL) – and how COVID-19 has exacerbated systemic inequities – we examined how state educational policy reform efforts, designed to improve SEL, can increase wellness for students and schools overall. Specifically, we focused on how sexual violence, which disproportionately affects adolescent girls, is addressed as a concern within New York State (NYS) SEL policy guidelines. We also introduce a feminist educational policy analysis heuristic to determine the extent to which this policy centers adversity and violence experienced by girls and de-centers white heteropatriarchy and misogyny – so to foster school level programming and practices that are more equitable for all students. We conclude our analysis with recommendations for research, policy, and practice.

  • Melinda Lemke (she/her), Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy, University at Buffalo, SUNY
  • Kate Rogers, PhD Student, Community Health & Health Behavior, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Women in Medicine: Issues We Face

Women physicians have been shown to be more likely to provide preventive care and psychosocial counseling than their male counterparts, as well as spend more time with their patients. Some studies have shown improved clinical outcomes with women physicians. However, women physicians face gender bias in promotion, salary inequity, professional isolation, lack of recognition, sexual harassment, and bullying. They also face considerable barriers to promotions and placement in leadership positions in medical systems and in academic medicine. These issues are even more serious for women from marginalized groups.

The stress from these biases leads to burnout and attrition of women from the medical workforce. The continuing Covid-19 pandemic has put exceptional strain on medical staff, exacerbating these issues. In addition, women who are parents of school-aged children face additional struggles with childcare, school closings, quarantine periods, and online education. Overall patient care would improve if the diversity of physicians is increased, and if women physicians had more support and equal opportunities.

A panel of physicians and physician assistants will discuss how being female impacts our relationships with patients, with colleagues and peers, and with administration; and how these relationships have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as where we see growth for the future.

  • Amy Kvidera, MD (she/her), recently retired
  • Kris Lindblom, Family Nurse Practitioner 

COVID-19 and Latinas living in California’s Central Valley

Statistics show that Latinx communities have received the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Central California. The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities that exist in Latinx communities including overcrowded living conditions, poor access to health care, and the fact that a large percentage of the Latinx communities fill the ranks of our nation’s essential workers.

In my presentation, I will examine the impact that COVID-19 has placed upon the Latinas living in California’s Central Valley, a region where the rate of COVID-19 infection remains widespread. In this area, a high percentage of Latinas work in the agricultural industry and in jobs that require them to be present at the worksite. Many Latinx have expressed hesitancy about being tested for COVID-19. In addition, many are still reluctant to receive the vaccine. I will also examine the cultural and linguistic barriers that Latinas face while living in the Central Valley as related to the pandemic.

Finally, my presentation will cover the organizations and resources that are currently available to help Latinas cope with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and how they can best access those resources, especially in the small, rural towns of the Central Valley.

  • Jeanette Pucheu, Professor, Writing, Language, and Literature, UW-Superior