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Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Martin Segal Theater


Nothing to do on Valentine’s Day? How about joining us for an unconventional celebration of the publication of Precarious Work (edited by Alyson Cole and Victoria Hattam), WSQ (Vol. 45, Nos. 3-4, Fall/Winter 2017)?


Inspired by Kathi Weeks’s article in the issue, “Down With Love,” we will stage a late afternoon performance of anti-love letters to work, precarity, and whatever else those gathered want to disavow on February 14th. Resembling more of a poetry slam than an academic panel, a variety of artists, activists and scholars will perform. The prose and poetry will be followed by a performance by Lady Aye, “sweetheart of the sideshow.”


The Graduate Center, Segal Theater @ 365 Fifth Avenue, 4-6.


Come Slam Precarious Work! Confirmed “slammers” include: Kathi Weeks, Celina Su, Anne LeGoff, Kellie Jackson,Sean Hill, Elena Glasberg, Estelle Ferrasse, FashionPraxis, Victoria Hattam, Alyson Cole, & David Brody.


Co-sponsored with The PhD/MA Program in Political Science; The Humanities Center, GC; The Women’s Gender Studies Program, GC; the Politics Department, New School for Social Research; WSQ; Feminist Press; SPTSA.


BOOK SALON: Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology

Deirdre Cooper Owens

With Jennifer Morgan and Sasha Turner Bryson


Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Skylight Room


Deirdre Cooper Owens wrote Medical Bondage:  Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology to reveal the historical connections of slavery to the development of professional American women's medicine. She explores how concepts like blackness, health, and biological sameness and difference were shifting as well as being defined by white medical men intent on advancing their careers and "fixing" women's ailments.  As some doctors repaired so-called broken bodies, categories that confined black women to only being thought of as strong were cemented in antebellum medical thought and practice. Cooper Owens is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, CUNY.


Co-sponsored with the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC), the CUNY Graduate Center PhD Pro-gram in History, and the Feminist Press.


SSWR TALK: "If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep, / Untied I still my virgin knot will keep. /Diana, aid my purpose!": Virginity as Autonomy in Shakespeare's Pericles

Katharine Goodland


Thursday, February 15, 2018


Room 9207


In this talk I explore a perspective on female virginity that emerges in Pericles in the associations of Thaisa, Marina, and Pericles with the goddess Diana. The final recognition scene re-unites Pericles, Thaisa, and Marina at the temple of the Goddess Diana, which as F. Elizabeth Hart, shows, embodies a long history of potent goddess figures in this ancient city. I am particularly interested in exploring the power of the Virginal Maternal embodied in pre-Christian goddesses, defined, not as a mode of patriarchal oppression, but rather as an expression of female autonomy: as the woman’s power and freedom to choose her mate. In Pericles, both Thaisa and Maria choose their husbands. Pericles, in turn, remains loyal to Thaisa, and in his long period of mourning grows his hair long while praying to the goddess Diana in a way that recalls the male followers of earlier manifestations of the goddess. In the talk I consider as well other plays in which women choose their mates and conclude by suggesting another perspective on cuckoldry—one that emphasizes female social power and control rather than submission. My goal is to suggest additional ways of thinking about how Shakespeare represents female power within the patriarchal structure of his age.


Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.


TALK: Poor Queer Studies Mothers

Matt Brim


Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Room C205


In his talk, titled “Poor Queer Studies Mothers,” Brim will address the urgent problem of class stratification in higher education through the lens of a specific academic formation: queer studies. How might the field of queer studies be an exemplary site of intervention for redistributing resources and advancing “epistemic equality” in the academy? Further, how might queer studies at CUNY, an institution dedicated to educating the “working poor,” offer viable strategies for that queer-class intervention across higher ed? To answer these questions, Brim reflects on the pedagogical, disciplinary, and institutional opportunities created by the presence of a particular CUNY student population in his queer studies courses: “poor queer studies mothers”—those low-income and working-class women in queer studies courses at CUNY who are pregnant; who have children; who bring their kids to a queer studies class when child-care falls through; who live at home with—and become student-teachers of—their own mothers. Instructors who have experience teaching queer studies and women’s/gender studies at CUNY are especially encouraged to attend to share their expertise.


Co-sponsored with the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS).


TALK: Women Building Châteaux in Early Modern France: Mademoiselle de Montpensier and her Self-Construction Strategies

Sophie Maríñez


Thursday, March 8, 2018


Room 9205


Dr. Sophie Maríñez is an Associate Professor of French and Spanish at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) and the author of Mademoiselle de Montpensier: Writings, Châteaux, and Female Self-Construction in Early Modern France (Brill/Rodopi, 2017), which is based on the dissertation she completed in the Ph.D. Program in French at the Graduate Center. This monograph examines female self-construction strategies through the interplay between writing and the symbolic import of châteaux. This book is the recipient of an NEH award, two PSC-CUNY grants, the Marandon Fellowship, the Carole & Morton Olshan Dissertation Fellowship, and the 2010 Carolyn G. Heilbrun Dissertation Prize awarded by the Women's Studies Certificate Program.


Co-sponsored with the Ph.D. Program in French.


SSWR TALK: Out of Bounds: Female Spectacle in the Shakespeare City

Cristine Varholy


Thursday, March 15, 2018


Room 9205


Description Forthcoming.


Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.


WWWL TALK: P(l)athography: Sylvia Plath and Her Biographers

Heather Clark


Monday, Wednesday, March 19,2018


Rooms 9204/9205


Heather Clark’s biography of Sylvia Plath, will be published by Knopf in 2019.  In her talk, she will give a brief overview of the role Plath biographies have played in pathologizing their subject, and argue that their illness-centered narratives have diminished Plath’s intellectual and creative legacy. She will also discuss the challenges she has faced writing about this iconic poet and novelist, and the wealth of new material she has drawn upon.


Heather Clark is the author of two award-winning books on twentieth-century poetry: The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast 1962-1972 and The Grief of Influence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, both published by Oxford University Press. She received a 2017-18 NEH Public Scholar Fellowship for her work on Plath, and has been a Biography Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, CUNY.


Co-sponsored with The Leon Levy Center for Biography, CUNY Graduate Center’s PhD Programs in History and English, MA Program in Liberal Studies, The Center for the Humanities, and The Feminist Press.


BOOK SALON: The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism

Bianca Williams

With Deborah Thomas and R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy


Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Skylight Room


Williams traces the experiences of African American women as they travel to Jamaica, where they address the perils and disappointments of American racism by looking for happiness, girlfriendship, and intimacy. Through their encounters with Jamaicans, the women construct notions of racial, sexual, and emotional belonging. While the women require a connection to Jamaica in order to live happily in the United States, their notion of happiness relies on travel, which requires leveraging their national privilege as American citizens. Williams's theorization of "emotional transnationalism" attends to the connections between race, gender, and affect while highlighting how affective relationships mark nationalized and gendered power differentials within the African diaspora.


Co-sponsored with the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC), the CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program in Anthropology, and the Feminist Press.


SSWR TALK: Family Matters: Gendering the Labor of Early Modern Science

Alix Cooper


Thursday, April 19, 2018


Room 9205


In early modern Europe, the pursuit of natural knowledge was, in great part, a family enterprise.  In the course of researching women's contributions to science, and more broadly issues of gender in science, historians of science have begun, over the past several decades, to uncover the numerous ways in which the actual practice of science in fields ranging from astronomy to botany depended on women's unpaid (and often unrecognized) labor.  As a number of scholars have shown, wives and daughters frequently made the observations or performed the calculations required to sustain their male relatives' scientific projects.  This talk will explore the ways in which, during the early modern period, research projects seem to have become the collective responsibility of entire households across generations, and the ways in which gendered divisions of labor emerged in the process.


Alix Cooper teaches early modern European history and the history of science, medicine, and the environment at SUNY-Stony Brook on Long Island.  Her first book was Inventing the Indigenous: Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2007); she is currently working on a book-length project on the role of homes and households in the shaping of early modern science and medicine.


Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.


TALK: Islamophobia in the Name of Women’s Rights

Sara Farris


Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Room 9206


Description Forthcoming.


Co-sponsored with CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program in Sociology.


BOOK SALON: The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in a Digital Age

Valerie Francisco

With Premilla Nadasen and Lorena Sanchez-McRae


Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Skylight Room


Anchored in the experiences and lives of Filipina migrants and their families in the Philippines, the main objective of this book is to make visible all of the forms, roles and definitions of social reproductive labor and care work required in the maintenance of the transnational family; demonstrating just how many people are uniquely affected by migration and separation. A second aim is to critically explore current neoliberal moment under which families are forcibly separated and the reconfiguration of the functions, operations and definitions of family in and through the very neoliberal mechanisms that disperse them around the globe—labor migration and technology. Although a significant literature on transnational families exists, this book brings the scholarship up to date on the technological advances that enables intimacy for transnational family members. Additionally, the sociological analysis in this book delves into the emotionality that comes with care work in migration and separation. The transnational Filipino family, as the unit of analysis, shows that care work is shared between migrant and the family they left behind, albeit unevenly. Further, it considers the shifts in gendered work and expectations (for men and women) and it includes fictive kin and extended family to redefine the membership and function of a socially relative dynamic of “family”. Broadly, this book is about the labor of care engaged by families who are enduring and thriving in conditions of forced migration and separation.


Co-sponsored with CUNY Graduate Center PhD Program in Sociology and the Feminist Press.




Friday, May 11, 2018


Room 5318.05


Please join in recognition of CUNY Gender scholars who have published books on women and gender topics within the last year. Faculty members are welcome to come and speak about their work; we especially request the presence of WGS and WSCP students and faculty.