2020 Session 1

1A: Pyle TBA ~ Gendered Perspectives in Educational Policy and Assessment

We Need to Talk About Gender: Women, Men, k12 Schools and Leading Beyond the Binary

Achievement gaps in k-12 schools persist, with African American children overrepresented in special education and truancy rates, students with disabilities kept out of mainstream classes and access to bilingual education still unusual. Research on secondary school leadership remains thin on how gender impacts who gets access to positions where meaningful change can be made. This paper, through a systematic look at the literature on k-12 school leadership and gender, law, medicine and business leadership and gender; and critical feminist and queer theory will show that a new way to consider educational leadership is needed and that leaders who do not adhere to patriarchal, white supremacist norms are needed to do critical work in schools. Secondary education is a gender-segregated field, and yet the push for a gender diverse leadership framework has stalled. This paper will offer a solution for a new framework that could bring in a new and more diverse generation of educational leaders.

  • Sarah Odell (She/Her/Hers), Graduate Student, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, UW-Madison

Feminist Approaches to Assessment: Undergraduate Experiences with Self-Reflection in Women’s and Gender Studies

A core component of feminist pedagogy is providing students with ample opportunity for self-reflection. From Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies to Feminist Theories, students are asked to reflect on their social location, epistemologies, learning processes, and learning outcomes. In this roundtable discussion, I will lead several University of Wisconsin-Whitewater undergraduates in a conversation about self-reflection. Questions we will address will include but not be limited to: to you, what is the purpose of self-reflection? How has self-reflection aided your learning process in Women’s and Gender Studies? When were you first introduced to self-reflection as a learning tool? What courses employ self-reflection at UWW and why? As you advance in your Women’s and Gender Studies education, how has your reflection work changed? What type of feedback do you want from instructors who ask you to reflect? The aim of this roundtable is to explore student understanding and use of self-reflection, rendering the student perspectives on this valuable learning tool more visible.

  • Moderator: Ashley Barnes-Gilbert (She/Her/Hers), Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Whitewater
  • Student Panelists TBA

1B: Pyle TBA~Spaces of Muslims’ Creative Production in Milwaukee: Confronting Borders, Making Belonging

From music to poetry to graphic arts, Muslims in Milwaukee are engaging in creative production as they struggle for self-expression, face Islamophobia, and negotiate belonging in their multiple communities. This presentation draws on several years of research in collaboration with Muslim community leaders in the Milwaukee area, to highlight the creative production of Muslim artists. We build on recent studies of Muslims in the West that call for nuanced understandings of the ways Muslims understand their own identities, and engage in place making in communities where they are often constructed as “Other” (Mansson McGinty 2015). We suggest that one way for scholars to convey the nuances and complex identities of Muslims in the West is to study the many subcultures to which they contribute, including artistic subcultures. This presentation is based on interviews with mostly young Muslim artists residing and making art in Milwaukee. We examine art as a form of political commentary and activism without ignoring the profound aesthetic contributions of the artists. These artists express intersectional identities; their art practice presents a transformative space of self-articulation against racism, sexism and other forms of oppression.

  • Kristin Sziarto (She/Her/Hers & They/Their/Thiers), Associate Professor, Department of Geography, UW-Milwaukee
  • Anna Mansson McGinty, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and Geography, UW-Milwaukee
  • Caroline Seymour-Jorn, Associate Professor, Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature , UW-Milwaukee

1C: Pyle TBA~Profiles in WGS Graduate Student Research

BDSM Stigma, Non-Urban Kinksters, and Disclosure to Healthcare Providers

People who engage in BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) have genuine healthcare needs related to their BDSM activity. Studies show that due to the stigma associated with BDSM, most kinksters (i.e., individuals with an interest in BDSM activities) have concerns about disclosing their BDSM interest and/or BDSM activities to healthcare providers. These concerns are warranted, given that less than half of therapists feel qualified to offer competent treatment to kinksters, and both therapists and clinicians have serious misconceptions about BDSM. However, the studies that have produced these results have focused on kinksters who reside in major-metropolitan areas, leaving a significant gap where the healthcare experiences of non-urban kinksters ought to be considered.

This project asks: What are some themes among self-identified kinksters’ experiences that shed light on ways to improve interactions with healthcare providers? The objective of this project is to contribute to an exploratory foundation that allows for improvement of the healthcare experiences of kinksters. It will do this by investigating the ways in which stigma related to BDSM affects the healthcare experiences of non-urban kinksters.

  • Liz Fansler (they/them), Graduate Student, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Queer of Color Cannabis Embodiments

In this paper, I suggest queer cannabis communities and socialities, through the art of infused culinary creations, create modalities of resistance to the erasure and marginalization of LGBTQ+ folks of color. I employ critical visual analytics of the episode, “Roll ‘em Up,” in the Netflix show “Cooking on High”–the only occurrence in the season to host a Black, gender non-conforming judge. In situating queer of color cannabis subjectivities as a point of departure, I render gestures of cooking and being “high” as queer performativity resisting structures and systems of oppression. I locate potentialities of cannabis embodiments as a utopian project disrupting mainstream media representations of people of color, queer and non-conforming folks, and cannabis users. This project is guided by Jose Esteban Muñoz, Juana Maria Rodriguez, and Claudia Garcia-Rojas’ engagements with queer of color critique toward interrupting homonormativity in cannabis cultural productions. In prioritizing a queer stoner of color positionality at the intersection of race, gender, and cannabis imaginations, I render collective alterations to hegemonic capitalist notions of cannabis.

  • Magaly Ordonez (they/them), Graduate Student, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, UM-Twin Cities

Feminism: Perception and Evolution of Feminism in Uganda

Feminism has been used to challenge masculine privilege and power in many societies, and Uganda is definitely no exception. Using a feminist and de-colonial theoretical lens, this paper investigates perceptions of feminism as a theory or practice of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes and how it affects the positionality of gendered bodies in Uganda’s heteronormative society. I will address how this perception is intercepted by patriarchal control, and ethnic cultural restraints within Uganda and, their influence on people’s awareness of or interpretation of feminism. Through an analytical study of three feminist organizations in Uganda, I seek to understand the role these organizations play in changing gendered discourse, influencing positive feminist change, addressing patriarchal privilege and challenging culturally motivated gender stereotypes reinforced through Uganda’s established policies and their impact on people’s perceptions and practices. In so doing, I establish why those perspectives exist and how understanding feminism as a concept or lack there of influences positionality of these same gendered bodies.

  • Agnes Phoebe Muyanga (She/Her), Graduate Student, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Beyond “Representation”: Training Audiences to See “Diversity”

“Economies of visibility do not describe a political process, but rather assume that visibility itself has been absorbed into the economy. The visibility of identities becomes an end in itself, rather than a route to politics” (Banet-Weiser, “Keynote Address: Media, Markets, Gender: Economies of Visibility in a Neoliberal Moment” 2014).

Art has long been assumed to have resistive properties: to comment on a cultural moment, to make the political tangible, to turn poetry into activism. The rhetorical potential of art-as-politics seems to hinge, at least these days, on the liberal idea of representation: diversifying the bodies on stage, screen, or print. However, simply showing bodies that are fatter, older, queerer, browner, more disabled, more femme etc. than the able cis-hetero white male norm can lead performers and subjects to feel tokenized, rather than empowered.

Sarah Banet-Weiser, in speaking about feminist “empowerment” rhetoric in mass media and communication, defines this impulse toward representation as an end in itself as an “economy of visibility.” In this talk, I would like to build on her call to return to a “politics of visibility” whereby representation actually does the work of valuing diversification on the stage. By turning the focus from the stage to the audience, I will discuss how we can create safer spaces for performers to engage in the political work of representation by preparing, exposing, and training our audiences to see diverse performances. I will use the presence of the assigned-female-at-birth and trans female body on the typically cisgender male drag stage as a case study and teaching opportunity.

  • Kaila Prins (she/her or he/him), Graduate Student, Department of Communication Arts, UW-Madison

1D: Pyle TBA~Colonial Roots and Contemporary Legacies of Sex-Trafficking

Exposing the Colonial Roots of Policing Gender and Sexuality in Tanzania

Drawing from archival research, critical discourse analysis, and process tracing, I show how the historical, colonial policing of gender and sexual minorities in Tanzania continues to inform contemporary policing. This project is committed to finding pathways for decolonization and LGBTQ+ liberation through uprooting violent colonial legacies such as the policing of gender and sexuality by asking the following questions: How is contemporary state violence shaped by the colonial institutions, policies, and goals of policing? Specifically, how is the British colonial police system connected to violence against gender and sexual minorities and other colonially constructed “criminals” today in Tanzania? I argue that the police are central to identity-based subjugation, state violence, authoritarianism, exploitation, and other continuing forms of colonization. I analyze the development and contestation of the British police system in Tanganyika to uncover how it was designed to regulate heterosexuality and binary cisgender roles. This analysis not only calls for decolonization to end gender- and sexuality-based violence, but it may also suggest ways forward for challenging other legacies of colonization manifested in the modern state itself.

  • Kaden Paulson-Smith (they/them/theirs), Graduate Student, Department of Political Science, UW-Madison

Decolonial Feminist Resistance in the Island of St. Croix

The first documented encounter of Columbus and aboriginals occurred on the shores of St. Croix. This marked the beginning of the story of colonialism in the Caribbean, a story of a civilization’s history and culture being dismantled. Colonialism has shaped modern inequality in several distinct ways. The history of this island and its neighboring islands is a powerful one that involves several colonies battling over, raiding, enslaving, uprooting and claiming right to the homeland of the people of St. Croix, then buying and selling the land. Even today, the people of St. Croix are held as a territory of the U.S and lack full rights of a citizen, despite their citizenship. Based on my experiences traveling to and meeting St. Croix’s people, I will outline the policies that still inflict inequalities on the people of St. Croix, and afro-Caribbean’s alike. We need to engage in indigenous decolonization, fight to give the people of St. Croix and their homeland’s ancestors back their voice; and reframe the narrative in a way that highlights their perseverance through suffrage over foreign colonies.

  • Hannah Eichorst (She/Her/Hers), Undergraduate Student, Women’s Gender and Sexualities Studies, Winona State University

Knowledge of and Practice with LGBTQ+ Individuals at Risk of Sex Trafficking: Perceptions from Social Service Providers in a Midwest Region

Despite growing evidence suggesting that LGBTQ+ individuals are at risk of sex trafficking, the ways in which social service providers address this population remain understudied. This study uses a directed content analysis approach to understand providers’ perceived knowledge of and practice with LGBTQ+ individuals at risk of sex trafficking. We conducted 24 semi-structured, in-depth interviews social service providers who knowingly encounter sex trafficked individuals in a Midwest region. Findings suggest that providers have a range of knowledge and practice strategies regarding identifying and providing inclusive and affirming services to LGBTQ+ individuals at risk of sex trafficking. Some challenges include using outdated terminology, lack of recognition of sex trafficking risk among LGBTQ+ individuals, and assumptions of identity as a result of trauma. Social service providers have an important opportunity to provide inclusive and affirming services to all individuals that both recognizes the unique strengths as well as risks of LGBTQ+ individuals at risk of sex trafficking. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

  • Lara Gerassi (She/Her/Hers), Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, UW-Madison
  • Anna Pederson, Graduate Student, UW-Madison

1E: Pyle TBA~Interrupting Ableism in Performance Arts

Nourishing Theatre: Engaging Accessibility, Sustainability, and Feminism in Theatre Practice

Recognizing the impacts stories have on individual and community wellness and transformation, Polizzi’s transdisciplinary research aims to intervene in oppressive structures that deeply influence the perspectives of those contextualizing our world through theatre and other collaborative storytelling mediums. Using real-world theory-to-practice examples from the world premiere production of Let’s Eat Mary, a delightfully biting feminist comedy opening in Madison in May 2020, Polizzi shares tools and techniques intended to emphasize the intrinsic value of each unique bodymind, webs of relationships built with generosity and interdependence, and living in the present in ways that allow us to imagine and build more just futures.

Attendees are asked to help increase accessibility by refraining from using fragrances and dryer sheets, if possible. The primary language will be spoken American English. Please email ckpolizzi@wisc.edu in advance with questions or for accommodations.

  • Cyra K. Polizzi (They & She), Graduate Student, Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison

Broad Ideas – The Creation of an Inclusive Feminist Arts Show in Rural America

This is the story of how a rural community in NW Illinois created a wildly popular, honest, diverse, feminist arts show called Broad Ideas. Officially launched in March 2018 (Women’s History Month), planning started a year earlier, and was partially inspired by the Women’s March. Broad Ideas takes place at the Galena Center for the Arts and is a month-long visual art show with a series of connecting events. We are now in our third successful year. Broad Ideas’ success is evidence of a need. People are hungry to participate in and support a space that values women’s stories. Each year over 100 artists participate and between 500-1000 people attend. All events are free and include onsite childcare. The planning committee is 100% volunteer, the show is completely funded by donations, and our events fluctuate. There is no cost to submit work and all abilities are encouraged. Artists range in ages 5 – 95. Their stories are displayed with their artwork. Content is diverse, although consistently covers topics of LGBTQ+ identity, cancer, violence, solidarity, and empowerment. In this presentation, we will share our process, resources, and tips for planning your own inclusive feminist arts show. See www.broadideas.org for more info.

  • Irene Thraen-Borowski (She/Her/Hers), Broad Ideas
  • Carole Sullivan (She/Her/Hers), Galena Center for the Arts and Broad Ideas
  • Cathie Elsbree (She/Her/Hers), Broad Ideas
  • Cindy Tegtmeyer (She/Her/Hers), Broad ideas
  • Jen Nottrott (She/Her/Hers), Broad Ideas
  • Connie Warnsing (She/Her/Hers), Broad Ideas

1F: Pyle TBA~Alternative Spaces of Belonging, Community, and Knowing

Invitational Rhetoric in the Vernacular Discourse of Feminist Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction

In the Petaybee Series of Feminist Science Fiction, authors, Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, and in the Parable Series of Speculative Fiction, author, Octavia Butler, create worlds where the protagonists resist the exploitative social and economic conditions and work to build more egalitarian communities. They write characters that employ a vernacular discourse that creates strategic, invitational discourse and feminist heroics, which emphasize understanding, cooperation, and freedom. The invitational discourse in these texts creates a pastiche, an assemblage, of fragments from, for example feminist and environmental politics, Inuit and Irish cultures, or a variety of philosophies and religious viewpoints. This rhetorical analysis elucidates the tensions between safety and passion, personal experience as knowledge and essentialism, and freedom and responsibility in invitational rhetoric and attends to the discourse that explicates immanent value and examples of “re-sourcement,” “offering,” safety, and cooperative action that provides the foundation for the characters’ culturally syncretic blend of feminism and traditional heroism signified by the balance of care for self and others in the natural worlds.

  • Emilie Falc (She/Her/Hers), Associate Professor, Communication Studies, Winona State University

Crowd funding for Community Activism and Creative Activities in Wisconsin and Worldwide: Empowering or Constraining

The crowd funding of projects has emerged in the past two decades as a significant mode of support for creative and social justice communities as well as for other civic and educational groups (Porter & Veenswijk, 2018; Saunders-Hastings, 2018). This presentation explores the roles that crowd funding initiatives are playing in philanthropy, with an emphasis on ways in which crowd funding can support as well as undermine efforts in creative production and community activism. The impacts of crowd funding in Wisconsin and across the globe are expanding, with the metrics collected in crowd funding and the subsequent construction of individuals’ and groups’ reputations influencing the initiatives produced. Crowd funding can indeed help when funding cannot be obtained from traditional philanthropic sources. For instance, projects with themes of gender and environmental justice often turn to crowd funding, though with some constraints in terms of their scope and timing.

  • Jo Ann Oravec (She/Her/Hers), Professor, Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, UW-Whitewater


My presentation is a program I coded titles “Exoplanets.”* This interactive computer program allows the artist to explore a variety of planets in the universe and their unique properties. This piece is an interactive, educational program that is both a tool and a game. I created this program to open the viewers mind to the vast and diverse nature of the universe. This piece will awaken the viewer to how truly unique our planet is and how improbable and incredible it is that life exists on this small rocky planet. This piece brings the viewer out of their day-to-day life and worldview into something bigger and inspires change through presenting alternative realities. In this way, despite the exoplanets and facts about them being real, they can be thought of as a surreal or alternate reality to our life on Earth. By gaining this new understanding of our place in the universe, we are one step closer to having a more humbled and long-term perspective of this world and our own lives.

*Exoplanets are planets that exist across the universe outside of our solar system

  • Madison Golden, Undergraduate Student, Art, UW-Madison

1G: Pyle TBA~Wisconsin Women Artists Forward Fund: Innovative Project Attracts Private Philanthropy

Two artists —Brenda Baker and Bird Ross — created Wisconsin Women Artists Forward Fund with the goal to increase support and recognition for women artists. Inspired by women in the 19th century who gave money for the Miss Forward statute at the top of the Wisconsin capitol — created by a woman artist — Baker and Ross propelled their project as a modern miss forward of sorts. Their dream was to establish an endowment fund that provided funds to make annual awards to two outstanding women artists. With no expertise in securing money but great motivation, they went to a small group of advisers who recommended they dream big.

This session will tell the compelling story about a vision of two women artists who secured more than $500,000 from women to benefit women artists. The first recipients will be named November 2019. The Wisconsin women artists forward fund is an outstanding example of how creative women can secure philanthropy for the arts.

Speakers will be Brenda Baker, cofounder of the Wisconsin Women Artist Forward Fund; and Martha A. Taylor, director of women’s philanthropy leadership, 4W Initiative, School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison.

  • Martha Taylor, Director of Women’s Philanthropy Leadership, 4W Initiative
  • Brenda Baker, Co-founder of the Wisconsin Women Artist Forward Fund

1H: Pyle TBA~Deploying Art-based Activist Strategies to Address Environmental Justice Issues

This panel shares four art-based strategies that address current environmental and social justice issues, including often-gendered creative approaches that speak to the broadest audiences possible. A panelist will discuss her arts activism in reaction to the Enbridge line 5 intrusion into Tribal Sovereignty and lands. Vantage Point is 111′ feet of embroidered cloth panels depicting simplified cautionary landscape depicting the impact of human activities in consumption of food, oil, and power. The Tar Sands Storytelling Project launched in April 2019, is a traveling exhibition highlighting the injustices of tar sands oil and pipeline infrastructures. This visual storytelling project is comprised of individual artworks created by ten Wisconsin artists, representing aspects of the cradle to grave story of tar sands oil. Wisconsin is currently home to the world’s largest tar sands oil pipeline outside of Russia – and is threatened by a proposed second line. The Flowers Are Burning Art and Climate Justice Project is a collaborative effort of an exhibition of incandescent watercolors inspired by the scientific realities of climate change caused by human activities, and a website offering information linking organizations and thinkers inspiring individual and collective actions necessary to mitigate the impacts we can no longer deny.


  • Abby Ross, project organizer of the The Tar Sands Storytelling Project https://tarsandsstorytellingproject.wordpress.com/. The Tar Sands exhibit is on display in the Lee Lounge of the Pyle Center during both days of the conference).
  • Helen Klebesadel, artist, Emeritus Director of the UW Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, and co-facilitator of The Flowers Are Burning Art and Climate Justice Project (currently in exhibit at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI). http://TheFlowersAreBurning.com(A digital exhibit of The Flowers are Burning is on display in the AT&T Lounge of the Pyle Center during both days of the conference. The full exhibition is at the Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Hwy M, Middleton, WI 53562).

Additional Panelists:

  • Valaria Tatera, a member of Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, a visual artist whose work investigates the intersection of ethnicity, gender, commerce, and the environment, Milwaukee, WI
  • Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, artist, Red Lodge, Montana, creator of the Vantage Point Project. (Vantage Point is on display in the Lee Lounge at the Pyle Center during both days of the conference).

1I: Pyle TBA~Growth Starts at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Our panelists hail from Cameroon, South Africa and from South Korea. We also have a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Ecuador and a Jewish woman who lives in a Christian community. We will start with an explanation of the three zones of comfort level. Each panelist will describe their experiences including the manifestations of discomfort. Then, we will present strategies that we have used to make healthy adaptations in the unfamiliar environment.
We will ask the audience to visualize a time when they stepped out of their comfort zone and had a personal growth experience as a result. Participants who choose to may share (as much as they are comfortable) their experiences, and strategies that they have found effective.
Participants and panelists will then construct a communal paper quilt that lists the effective strategies to navigate uncharted waters. Through this sharing of our collective strength, hope and experiences, we will validate the courage that it takes to step outside of your comfort zone and commit to further personal growth.

  • Rea Kirk, School of Education, Professor, UW-Platteville (Jewish)
  • Julie Phillips, Associate Professor, Education, University of Dubuque (IA) (White, American-born)
  • Josephine Gurira, Librarian, UW-Platteville (African)
  • John Nkemnji, Professor Emeritus, UW-Platteville (African)
  • WoNim Rose (her preferred name is Rose) Son, Professor, UW-Platteville (South Korean)
  • Frank King Jr., Assistant Professor UW-Platteville (African-American)