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Feminisms Unbound: Intellectual Lives of Feminisms

  • Building E51, Room 095 (map)

The Intellectual Lives of Feminisms

Feminist concerns multiply, as gender and sexuality continue to be ever more significant sites of power and privilege across the academic disciplines and in different social spheres. This inaugural roundtable features interdisciplinary scholars discussing the current stakes of feminist intellectual production and critique: from feminist critiques of racialized sexualities to feminist reinventions of family, from the politics of visibility to the persistent critiques of identity, inclusion, and normative individualism.

Roundtable discussion participants:

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Associate Professor of English and African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman's research interests include 19th- to 21st-century American and African American literature and culture, gender and sexuality studies, and theories of race and racial formation. She is the author of Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race (Duke UP, 2012). She publishes widely on topics ranging from the relation of sexuality and social order in slave narratives to the impacts of Civil Rights retrenchment on black familial formation and function in the current, putatively “post-racial,” moment. A two-time winner of the Darwin T. Turner award for the best essay of the year in African American Review, she has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, among others.  In 2014-2015, she will be a visiting professor at the Graduate School of North American Studies at the Freie Universität of Berlin, where she will undertake research on a new book, tentatively titled Millennial Style: The Politics of Experiment in Contemporary African Diasporic Culture.

Suzanna Danuta Walters, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Northeastern University

Suzanna Danuta Walters’ work is centered on questions of gender, sexuality, family, and popular culture and she is a frequent commentator on these issues for the media. Among her many publications are Lives Together/Worlds Apart:  Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture (U California 1992), Material Girls: Making Sense of Feminist Cultural Theory (U California, 1995), All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America (U Chicago, 2001) and The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality (NYU, 2014).  Additionally, in 2004, Walters founded the first Ph.D. program in gender studies at Indiana University, where she was a Professor of Gender Studies and held positions in Sociology and Communication and Culture.

Jack Halberstam, Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity, and Director of the Center for Feminist Research, University of Southern California

Jack Halberstam works in the areas of popular, visual, and queer culture with an emphasis on subcultures. His publications include: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (U Minnesota, 1995), In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (NYU, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (2012), among others.  In Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), Halberstam argued that female masculinities are forms of social identity and cultural practice whose performances demonstrate the constructedness of masculinity, and which destabilize the relation of masculinity to male embodiment. Halberstam coauthored with Del LaGrace Volcano a photo/essay book, The Drag King Book (1999), with Ira Livingston, an anthology, Posthuman Bodies (1995), and with David Eng and José Esteban Muñoz, a special issue of Social Text, titled What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now? (Duke UP, 2005). 

Moderator: Lisa Lowe, Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University

Lisa Lowe works in the fields of comparative literature, American Studies, Asian American Studies and the cultural politics of colonialism and migration.  She has authored books on orientalism, immigration and globalization. Her current work, The Intimacies of Four Continents, is a study of settler colonialism, transatlantic African slavery, and the East Indies and China trades, as the conditions for modern liberalism, forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2015. 

 About Feminisms Unbound

This Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (GCWS) initiative, Feminisms Unbound, is an annual event series featuring debates that focus on feminist concerns, theories, and practices in this contemporary moment.  This series is intended to foster conversations and community among Boston-area feminist intellectuals and activists. The series, in its open configuration, endeavors to allow the greatest measure of engagement across multiple disciplinary trajectories, and a full array of feminist investments.  

The event organizers, GCWS affiliated faculty Kimberly Juanita Brown, Visiting Scholar in Gender Studies, Pembroke Center, Brown University, Lisa Lowe, Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University, and Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Simmons College, have programmed four topic-based discussions in this series.