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Brown Bag Lecture Series

Spring 2016 Series

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Sponsored by Gender Studies Program and Women’s Center
When: Tuesday, January 26 Noon-1
Where: Women’s Center at the SUB

Marianna Budnikova
Co-Founder Girl Develop it, Hacker at MetaGeek

Carrie Semmelroth
Director of Assessment & Communications, College of Education

Brooke Lacey
Founder & Lead Technician, Tech Savvy

Come. Learn. Network.
Listen to stories of women in Tech. Share your own.

For accommodations please contact the Women’s Center at (208)426-4259. For more information:

Fall 2015 Series

November 12

Speaker: Crispin Gravatt (Pat Dorman Scholarship recipient, 2015)

Title: “One Fear, Two Fear, Red Fear, Blue Fear”

Abstract: He will be exploring fear, culture, politics through a gender analytic.

Date: Thursday 11/12, 11-12:00 -come whenever you can, leave when you need to. Coffee and cookies provided.

Venue: Liberal Arts Building, Room 208 (English Conference Room).

October 26th

Speaker: Dianne Piggot (Pat Dorman Scholarship recipient, 2015).

Title: “Born That Way? Gender Performativity, Lived Experience, and Identity Politics in an Age of Transitions.”

Abstract: Conflict over gender-expansive and trans experience and feminisms are splashed across popular culture. how do we navigate the terrain of gender performativity, transition, and gender certainty in relation to arguments about biological essentialism? Tensions, opportunities in understanding gender and identity in popular culture and in feminism will be our topic for lively discussion. If you have time, check out these websites/video clips beforehand, but come either way!

Also, check these out for more on our topic: Sarah Salih “Crash Course on Performativity”

Interview with Judith Butler:

Date: Monday 10/26, 11-12:30 -come whenever you can, leave when you need to. Coffee and cookies provided.

Venue: History Conference Room, Albertson’s Library, Room 194, just down  the hall from the History Dept Office.

September 22nd

Speaker: Prof. Tara Penry

Title: Marrying North, Marrying South: How Popular Fiction Tried to End the U.S. Civil War.

Abstract: From westerns to women’s domestic fiction to emergent local color, popular genres of American fiction applied themselves after 1865 to resolving the persistent sectional differences that continued to fracture the U.S. after the Civil War. In some marriage plots, North and South became gendered, each one alternately masculine or feminine, depending on who told the story. This brown-bag lecture surveys a selection of American fiction from the 1860s to 1902 to explore the way binary gender came to allegorize the U.S., and the ways that conservative gender binaries and regional tensions mutually reinforced and perpetuated each other.

Date: September 22nd, Venue: LA 208 (A) English Conference Room, Time 12 noon-1 pm

Spring 2015 Series

February 11th

Speaker: Crispin Gravatt, Under graduate student majoring in both Sociology and French, with minors in Gender Studies and Economics.

Title: “The World of Science and Fiction.”

Abstract: Science fiction incorporates elements from every specialization, so it provides common ground to promote interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, and gender equality. Crispin will talk about all these connections in his presentation to incorporate the social elements of literacy with the act of reading. He will also talk about this year’s conference to be held on the 7th of April which coincides with Margaret Atwood’s visit to Boise State in April 2015.

March 11th

Speaker: Dave Mckerracher.

Dave is a junior philosophy major at Boise State University. He is also the Marketing Assistant for the office of Communication and Marketing. Dave’s life revolves mainly around black coffee, dense books, friends, quality conversations, rock climbing, slacklining, and his cat, Rascal.

Title: “Infant Male Genital Mutilation”

Abstract:  Infant male circumcision is no trivial surgery. This paper argues that it is a human rights violation that implicitly denies its victims their right to self-determination regarding something that will permanently damage the natural function of their genitals. Besides being potentially fatal, circumcision guarantees its victims the permanent loss of their genital integrity, and a noticeable decrease in sexual pleasure. Studies has shown that the foreskin is an epicenter of nerve endings, protecting the sensitive glans (which dry up after circumcision). This issue therefore falls into the purview of ethics and law. The purpose of this presentation is to expose the weaknesses of the most common arguments in favor of infant male circumcision, including arguments from tradition, religion, popularity, and poorly conducted yet commonly-cited scientific studies. Parents should definitely have the final say in many aspects of child rearing, but this decision effects the individual’s entire adult life as well. They are not just making a decision for an infant—the decision is being made for the entirety of the individual’s adult life.

April 13th: In Collaboration with Women’s Center

Speaker: Sonya Deakins

Title: Pay Equity Presentation

Abstract: Discover what pay equity could look like. This presentation showcases pay equity research that was conducted by the Women’s Center Pay Equity Intern over the last year. Interviews and literature provide an overview of faculty salary, rank, and the dynamics surrounding pay equity at Boise State University. Refreshments provided.

Place: Simplot C, SUB

Time: 5:00–6:00PM

Speaker: Melissa Winthrow

Title: Why Study Gender Studies?

Place: 208A English Conference Room

Time: 12:30 pm-1:30 pm

Melissa has taught courses in Gender Studies for the past 15 years. This will be an informal discussion about the trends she has seen while facilitating the courses, and why it is important.  She will share a survey that her students created a few years ago and information they collected through interviews with former students.

Melissa Wintrow has worked in higher education for more than 25 years and was recently elected to the Idaho House of Representatives. She was the first full-time director at Boise State’s Women’s Center in 2000. She moved to assistant director for residence life in 2005 and served as the Residential College program director for 10 year.  She currently serves as the Project Manager for NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership, a 6-day institute, which introduces college women to public policy and politics to inspire them to run for office or serve in civic leadership positions.  She is currently the co-owner SAGA Leadership Solutions, which provides consultations on leadership.

Fall 2014 series

September 30th

Speaker: Brianna Cornwall, Under graduate student, department of Sociology, Boise State University.
Title: “Combating Student Debt: Student Perceptions of Term-Time Employment.”

Abstract: This project contextualizes term-time employment as a mechanism employed by Boise State students to diminish the crushing debt required for engaging in higher education. I consider the normalization of student debt a phenomenon in the history of American higher education and show how its prevalence is obscured by fluctuating definitions of education; students’ desires to succeed academically and professionally; and the rhetorical justifications of an unjust requisite by political and financial networks which control the education system. This original, qualitative research project took place over the course of a year-long, intensive research training program implemented by professors in the Sociology Department. I am currently revising it for inclusion in my graduate program application packet.

Time: 12-1
Venue: English Department Conference Room, Liberal Arts Building 208A.
This is a public event and all are invited.

October 21st

Speaker: Rebecca Scofield, PhD candidate in American Studies, Harvard University.
Title of the presentation: “Cowboy Drag: Camp and Masculinity in Gay Rodeo.”

Abstract: Officially organized in 1985, the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) boasted roughly 8,000 members and dozens of local chapters by the early 1990s. Intersecting with a constellation of western dance groups, urban cowboy bars, and gay pride events, gay rodeoers created an extensive network of joyous occasions. Many of these events, including gay rodeo, centered on raising money for AIDS research and raising awareness about other LGBT issues. Facing virulent homophobia in many of the communities in which they operated, however, the IGRA Board of Directors also had to internally negotiate the complex meanings of the words “rodeo” and “cowboy.” Supported by documents from the IGRA Institutional Archive at the Autry National Center, this paper argues that a tension emerged within IGRA over the place of “fun” and the need for “tradition.” In the early 1990s, the notion of “fun” successfully operated against “tradition” in gay rodeo, allowing a greater number of participants the ability to perform cowboyness through rodeo. These performances, however, maintained problematic gender politics as hypermasculinity and the glorification of the American West often rode roughshod over prospective moments of equality and change. While many IGRA members sought to fuse gay culture with the celebration of western heritage, other members articulated their desire for gay rodeo to be first and foremost a rodeo, insisting on traditional events. Camp events, including the wild drag race and goat dressing, became a lightning rod of debate. One frustrated member declared, “Camp events have nothing to do with being a cowboy.” This paper, which seeks to unpack the role of camp in “playing cowboy” alongside “playing gay,” argues that the tension between fun and tradition has been central to the rise and fall of gay rodeo.

Time: 12 noon-1:00 pm
Venue: English Conference Room. Liberal Arts Building 208A
This is a public event and all are invited.

November 11th

Speaker: Heather Gifford, Adjunct in Sociology, BSU

Title: “It’s a Wonderful and Difficult Life”: Filipino Family-Petitioned Migrants and the Diverging American Dream

Abstract: A large portion of research examining the experiences of Filipinos who immigrate to the U.S. focuses on telling the stories of labor immigrants.  This is a result of the historical significance of large numbers of Filipino nurses coming to the U.S. starting in the 1960’s to fill U.S. labor shortages.  However, current immigration data reflects that the majority of Filipino immigrants continue to come to the U.S. through traditional family related visas.  This research asked; are the experiences of Filipino immigrants who come to the U.S. through traditional visas similar to those of Filipino labor immigrants.  The results of this research showed that both traditional and labor immigrants share similar expectations of success in the U.S. rooted in consumerism and material acquisition.  However, beginning with their arrival in the U.S., family petitioned immigrants experiences diverge from those of labor immigrants.  Family petitioned immigrants in this study experienced a harsh wake-up call to the limits of their success and restructured their ideas of success to a level they felt more realistically attainable.  The most detailed information shared by traditional participants in this study was how they felt judged and marginalized by Filipino labor immigrants in their community because of an environment of competition for material acquisition and conspicuous consumption.

Time: 12 noon-1:00 pm
Venue: English Conference Room. Liberal Arts Building 208A
This is a public event and all are invited.

Spring 2014 Series

Panel Bios and Abstracts

Reshmi Mukherjee
Reshmi is a visiting Assistant Professor of English at Boise State University. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. Before coming to the US to pursue her graduate studies, she received an M. Phil in Women’s Studies from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India. She also has the experience of working as a researcher and social activist with various non-profit organizations in India on the issue of human trafficking for various non-profit organizations in India on the issue of human trafficking for prostitution and other issues related to violence against women and children.

“Necropolitics and Suicide Bombing”

In Empire, Hardt and Negri define “biopolitical power as a control that extends through the depths of consciousness and bodies of the population and across the entirety of social relations (p.24).” Taking cues from Hardt and Negri this paper is about the gendered human body as a site for state violence as well as a site of resistance. “Necropolitics and Suicide Bombing,” is a theoretical analysis of the act of suicide bombing by female suicide bombers of Palestine. Without justifying the violent act, it argues that first, the suicide bombers are using necropolitics, the power of death over life, as a form of resistance against Israeli occupation and second, death is a symbolic gesture via which the stereotypical image of the docile, domesticated, and veiled female body transforms itself, albeit through violence, to enter the domain of the public space and discourse.

Madison Hansen
Madison is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in Gender Studies. She grew up in San Francisco and moved to Idaho during high school, and that shift in environment was what first got her interested in learning about gender, sexuality, identity, and culture. She is starting work on her senior research project, which will focus on how mental illness and the construction of madness intersect with gender, sexuality, and class in the lives and works of 20th century women writers. Madison is the current president of BSU’s Gender Studies Club. She plans to go on to do graduate work in rhetoric, composition, and of course, gender studies.

Madison’s paper was written as the midterm assignment for Reshmi Mukherjee’s class Gender, Biopower, and War. It is a response to “To Die in Jerusalem,” a documentary film about a suicide bombing carried out by a Palestinian woman, the Israeli woman she killed, and their mothers’ attempts to understand the bombing and political climate in general. Madison Hansen argues that the forces of biopower and war situate nationality as a primary identity, and that traditional gender roles are either strengthened or dissolved because of this focus on nationality and the state.