Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Founded in 2010, the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop seeks to advance and energize transnational feminist research in the 21st century by promoting interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration among feminist scholars locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Our convivial meetings offer opportunities for faculty and graduate students to discuss their research, explore key texts of classic and emerging feminisms, and develop research and teaching collaborations. The workshop also provides chances for graduate students and junior faculty to meet potential committee members or mentors beyond the boundaries of their home departments. 

All events are free and open to the public.


SPRING 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014:  Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, Anthropolgy
"The Potency of Francisca Kolipi‘s Words: Gendering Mapuche Shamanic Literacy and Historical Consciousness in Chile"
12:30- 2:00 PM
, 207 UB Commons, Gender Institute, North Campus
Scholars often see indigenous Mapuche women shamans as lacking a historical consciousness because their oral narratives and ritual performances appear irrational and ahistorical relative to Western-style, linear historical narratives, official texts, and masculine forms of authority. These scholars often conceive of texts only as repositories of meaning, underestimating their potency as ritual objects that communicate across time and space.  I argue that in the constitution of indigenous women’s Mapuche shamanic identity and power and history, a non-Mapuche textual object, the “bible,” has come to play a central role. I analyze why Francisca Kolipi, a nonliterate Catholic Mapuche shaman, charged me to write about her life and practice in the form of a bible—the physical manifestation of herpower—within a larger set of engagements that center on temporality, text, biography, and shamanic force. I argue that the written word, “shamanic literacies,” and women’s shamanic biographies play central roles in the creation of indigenous historical consciousness and the production of indigenous history. The potency and transcendental authority of Francisca’sentextualized shamanic power make her bible a ritual object with inherent force and the ability to speak to an audience in the distant future. When shamans smoked and chanted over it, the realities and powers it stores can be extracted, transformed, circulated, and actualized for a variety of ends, even to bring about shamanic rebirth.

 

Thursday, February 27, 2014: Dianne Avery, UB Law
"Resisting the Breast as Brand: Law, Community Standards, and the Selling of Embodied Labor"
12:00 - 1:30 PM, 207 UB Commons, Gender Institute, North Campus

This talk will examine the forms of community resistance to the branding of the female body—particularly the female breast—as a marketing tool in the restaurant business.  This discussion also has implications for the commercial use of sexualized workers—and sexy workplace uniforms—in other low-wage customer-service jobs such as selling coffee, cutting hair, or shining shoes, but Avery will focus primarily on the so-called breastaurant industry.  Here Avery explores the discourses about the secondary effects that these “sex plus” enterprises have—or are believed to have—on their surrounding communities.  In other words, what is the legal and social context of the local disputes that have arisen as breastaurants have moved into new communities, seeking a place in the public square?

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014: Beata Kowalska, Prof. of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Fulbright Senior Fellow, New School for Social Research, New York, 2014

"Women’s Touch In The Arab Spring: The Struggle of Jordanian Women for Equality in Citizenship"
12:00- 1:30 PM, 207 UB Commons, Gender Institute, North Campus

The Arab Spring has opened new channels for expressing political demands. Under the liberal surface covered by the international media, a number of political struggles of different citizens’ groups are hidden. The women’s groups  are often the main actor backstage. The main subject of this talk is the new grassroots groups which started own struggle at the beginning of Arab Spring, the Jordanian mothers struggling for equality in the citizenship law. Motherhood is an inspiration for their political activity that challenges authoritarian government and exclusion politics. It allows women to enter public areas reserved for men and transform the political domain.

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014: David Squires, Ph.D. Candidate in English & Gender Institute Dissertation Fellow
"Pan-American Futures: Muna Lee Tells The American Story"
12:00 - 1:30 PM, 207 UB Commons, Gender Institute, North Campus

In 1943, modernist poet and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish began corresponding with fellow poet Muna Lee about a broadcast series for NBC. Over the course of the next year, Lee provided the research that MacLeish used to compose a series of multilingual radio plays dramatizing the history of the Americas. Yet her marginal presence in the publicized project highlights the gendered and ethnic paternalism that often marks attempts to universalize or disembody histories. This talk will demonstrate that, by appropriating Lee’s vision of inter-American cultural exchange, MacLeish’s radio plays model an imperfect future for life in the Western hemisphere after World War II.

 

Friday, April 25, 2014: "What is Sex?" UB Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Culture Symposium
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM, 120 Clemens Hall

The symposium will feature five invited speakers who will each give a full-length presentation followed by Q&A. The symposium’s title, “What Is Sex?” figures its topic as a question to which the answer might not be as self-evident as popular opinion would suggest. Our speakers have been invited to address the tension between “sex” as sexual difference and “sex” as sexual practice—that is, to examine how psychoanalysis might think erotic practice without always framing it via the heterosexualizing lens of sexual difference. The intellectual aim is to generate more varied accounts of gender/sexuality outside the orbit of heteronormativity, and to consider how a psychoanalytic emphasis on sexual difference de-prioritizes other forms of embodied difference, such as race or dis/ability. The invited speakers represent an international and interdisciplinary group who promise to engage these questions with rigor and gusto.

 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Marion Werner, UB Geography
"Global Displacements: The Making of Uneven Development in the Dominican Republic and Haiti"
1:00 - 2:30 PM, 109 O'Brian, UB North Campus

Based on more than a year of ethnographic work with workers and managers of export garment firms as the industry drastically re-structured in the mid-2000s, retrenching thousands of Dominican workers and shifting some operations to Haiti, this study draws on feminist and post-colonial approaches to make sense of experiences of work, unemployment, gender and race in the face of these dramatic global shifts in production.  

 

 

FALL 2013

Thursday, September 12: Patrick Bellegarde-Smith,Univ. of Wisconsin & Oungan Asogwe
“Entwined Spirits: Cosmological Truths, And Natural Order: Ideas of the “Feminine” in Vodou and Cultural Erasures”
4:00- 6:00 PM, 207 UB Commons, North Campus
Spirits, non-sexed by definition, in the Lwa of Haitian Vodou, are gendered emanations of an ideal societal construct, and provide elements for a social contract in which gender parity is extant in all creation.  The sophisticated metaphysical intricacies tied to the pedestrian approach of daily existence, reveal millennial wisdom yet untapped in schemes for nationald evelopment and in (re)construction efforts. And while patterns of thought make a difference, one also has to account for an obdurate international system that yet seeks to control, to define, and to punish at will. Would the Lwa provide ready answers for what ails us, as persons of primary African descent, and as a collective?

 

Friday, October 25: Stevie Berberick, Penn State
"Shouting Through Skin: Re/envisioning Re/markable Bodies"
4:00 p.m., 112 Norton Hall, North Campus

BBonoCentered on hyper-visibly tattooed white women living in New York State during 2012, "Shouting Through Skin" engages concepts regarding whiteness and white femininity, seeking to explain the ways in which decorated forms come to complicate these constructions and thus fall subject to a number of violations against their persons. As such, certain conditions are explored in order to locate and explain the nature of said violations; these conditions include overall physical appearance, tattoo design, tattoo location, age and geographic place.  Engagement with these topics is completed through analyses of primary and secondary sources. “Shouting Through Skin” is a highly intertextual project that speaks not only of the body politic, but also of the society in which forms are problematized and eroticized while also being reclaimed by the subject as a site of personal awareness and power.

 

Wednesday, November 6: Marta Marciniak, American Studies
"The Gendered Architecture of the Polish Street: A Punk View”
12:00-1:30 p.m., 207 UB Commons, North Campus

As Marshall Berman stated, the street is "a primary symbol of modern life.” The apparentlysimple construct of the street is in reality a complex and fascinating environment in which individuals and cultures may thrive or, both metaphorically and literally, die. It is also anessential space for urban subcultures. The danger and romanceof streetlife appeal to bothguys and girls engaged in subculturalactivities. How does it feel for a punk girl to walk down the street? What does she see and hear?  How does she interact with the street environment? This examination of the gendered architecture of Polish streets will offer insight into the lives of young Polish women and men and will illuminate how street culture organizes the dance, the chase, the fight and the flight.

UB Graduate Students Interview Feminist Faculty

 

Kamaria Busby, an M.A. student in American Studies,
interviewed Professor Alexis De Veaux (Global Gender Studies) on February 8, 2011. 
alexisdeveaux
An internationally acclaimed artist-activist-scholar, Professor De Veaux is the author of a major biography of Audre Lorde and several award-winning works of fiction.   In this interview, she highlights a few aspects of her life and work from her childhood in Harlem to her scholarly specialization in Black diasporic women’s literatures.  She says she teaches “out of my passion, because what I want my students to come away with, particularly, is a sense of the centrality of black women’s literary production, black women’s intellectual production, to larger discourses about what it means to be human, what it means to live in one’s time, what it means to be able to transgress time, what it means to be central to the project of social justice.”
Click here for a transcript of the interview.


Rachel Snyder
 Lockman, an M.A. student in UB’s English Department, interviewed 
Lucinda M. Finley, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Frank Raichle Professor of Law,
on March 2, 2011. 
lucindafinley
Professor Finley’s research into how the male serves as the normative has led her to look at “tort law from a feminist perspective.”  She asks:  “To what extent are they [laws] not objective?  To what extent are the laws framed to male needs?  I found that, although there were not intentional biases, the laws didn’t fit women’s needs as well as men’s.  This is especially true with tort law and what constitutes damage.”
Click here for a transcript of the interview.


Christine Ditzel, a Ph.D. student in American Studies,
interviewed Lois Weis, SUNY Distinguished Professor of
Educational Leadership and Policy, Graduate
College of Education,on February 1, 2011.
LoisWeis
In this interview Professor Weis illuminates key issues in the underfunding of
American schools at the same time that she exemplifies an empowering
feminist praxis as a mentor of graduate students.
Click here for a transcript of the interview.

 

Beth Kuberka, a doctoral student in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, interviewed Carrie Tirado Bramen, Associate Professor of English and Executive Director of UB’s Humanities Institute on February 4, 2011. 
carriebramen
In this interview, Professor Bramen describes the awakening of her passion for critical theory and archival research.  She challenges each new generation of scholars to value the humanities as “a living archive of knowledges that have to be sustained . . .  . The humanities have to challenge the market economy rather than try to assimilate to its rules.”
Click here for a transcript of the interview.

 
Jennifer Loft, an M.A. student in Global Gender Studies,
interviewed Susan Cahn, Professor of History, on February 8, 2011. 
susancahn
In this interview, Professor Cahn describes the emergence of her interests in women and sports, southern women's history, and feminist studies.  She urges emerging feminist scholars to work hard, be true to themselves, and love what they do.
Click here for a transcript of the interview.


Kayla Chan
, an M.A. student in Global Gender Studies,
interviewed Dr. Kush Bhardwaj on February 24, 2011.
kushb
Dr. Bhardwaj's research and teaching interests include Afro-diasporic cultural retentions in the United States vis-à-vis Ghana, resurrecting the socio-political significance of radical abolitionist John Brown and hip hop culture. In this interview, Dr. Bhardwaj describes what it means to him to be a male feminist.
Click here for a transcript of the interview.

 

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Archive of FRA Workshops:

Spring 2013

 

Wednesday, January 30: Laura Garofalo, Architecture & Planning
“Messing with Eden”
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
Addressing historical and contemporaneous perceptions of pristine wilderness and Arcadian landscape as well as current analysis of what we recognize as our socio-ecological context, this talk highlighted the garden as a generative construct. The architecture of the garden makes it into an interface where the boundaries between nature and the man-made are negotiated. Prof. Garofalo focused on the design of a group of contemporary gardens physically set in a site known for both the 18th century Romantic garden constructed by Canadian landscape matriarch Elyse Reford, and its adjacent nature preserve untouched since colonial times. The confluence of these three diverse insertions in the landscape, the wilderness, the romantic landscape, and the temporary garden proposes an alternative ecological imagination for design and a counterpoint to the nature/culture dichotomy underpinning not only architecture practice, but the construction of most econarratives.

Wednesday, February 6: Krishni Burns, Classics
"Meetings at the Temple:  Locating Women in Ancient Rome’s Urban Landscape"
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
The women of Republican Rome, with a few notable exceptions, supposedly lived extremely cloistered lives.  They were confined exclusively to the domestic sphere and their identity was dependent on either their fathers or husbands.  This presentation offered an expanded view of women’s public lives during the mid to late Roman Republic by exploring to possibility that women used the courtyard of the temple to the Goddess known as the Magna Mater to conduct public business such as planning political protests and holding meetings of women's social organizations.

Tuesday, February 19: Jess MacNamara, Sociology
"Rearticulating Beauty Norms: Gender Transition, Appearance, and Family Acceptance"
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
Family has been mostly absent from studies on transgender issues, yet their influence is undeniable. Beauty is central to trans narratives about families accepting, supporting, and rejecting gendered physical changes. Appearance is the crux of gender transition, with the goal of aligning the physical with a powerful sense of inner self. This presentation drew from 30 in-depth interviews with self-identified transgender women and men to highlight the role of physical appearance in shaping familial acceptance.

Wednesday, March 6: Leah Benedict, English
"Performing Impotence"
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
From the convergence of law, medicine and popular culture, male sexual failure emerged as a defining characteristic of masculine subjectivity.  "Impotence" was an idea rapidly exchanged through the marketplace of ideas in the long eighteenth century, creating a slew of new anxieties, inhibitions and confessional modes. While divorce trials demanded that husbands demonstrate their potency before a jury, accredited physicians and quack doctors peddled a range of sometimes-deadly cures for sexual dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, playwrights, poets, novelists and pamphlet-writers incorporated the legal and physiological markers of impotence into their works to create a new "type" of substandard man. "Performing Impotence" considered bodies obliged to enact their own failure on the stage and in the courtroom.

Wednesday, March 27: Carrie Tirado Bramen, English
"On the Racial Politics of Niceness: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Plantation"
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons

 

Fall 2012

 

Wednesday, September 12: Jane E. Fisher, Director of Women’s Studies & Assoc. Professor of English, Canisius College
"Disease's Power to Expand Subjectivity: Representing the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Buchi Emecheta's The Slave Girl and Elechi Amadi's The Great Ponds"
12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons

Tuesday, September 25: Victoria Wolcott, UB History
“Anatomy of a Hunger Strike:  Eroseanna Robinson and Radical Nonviolence”
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons

Tuesday, October 16: Molly Ranahan, UB Urban Planning
“Interrogating the Notion of Queer Spaces: An Examination of Urban Spaces, Queer Users, and Urban Planning and Design Practices”
4:00-5:30 p.m. at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
The built environment expresses values concerning sexuality through its design, composition, and management. The ways in which these spaces are created and controlled impact the way users feel and act. To understand the implications of heteronomormativity on the construction and management of space, it is important to observe and understand user experiences. The “sexing” of the built environment is a concept through which to begin developing a greater understanding of queer users and queer space and the impact that planners and designers have on these communities and environments in urban settlements.

Thursday, October 18: Robert Pogue Harrison, Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Stanford University
“Landscape and Sanity”
4:00 p.m. Clemens 120

Wednesday, October 31: Jean Dickson, UB Libraries
"Felicita Vestvali and Transatlantic Feminism in the 19th Century"
12:00 to 1:30 at the Gender Institute, 207 UB Commons
Felicita Vestvali (ca. 1830-1880), despite her Italian stage name, was a Polish-German opera singer and actress who was known in North America as "Vestvali the Magnificent."  Although a major attraction wherever she performed, she is nearly forgotten today. This presentation focused on her life as a self-described "man-hater" and an ambitious theatrical star, as well as her direct and mostly indirect links with the feminist movement, the nascent movement for gay and lesbian rights, and the movements for racial and religious emancipation.

 

Spring 2012


Wednesday, February 15: Stacy Hubbard, English
“Marianne Moore's National/Natural Histories”
Noon to 1:30,  Clemens 1004
The modernist American poet, Marianne Moore, was an avid student of natural history whose reading and lecture notes reveal wide knowledge of ornithology, zoology, botany, garden design, and art historical depictions of plants and animals. In her poems about American places, she often raises questions of national history and politics through descriptions of nature. This talk focused on the ways that Moore's poems invite reconsideration of the sexual and racial politics of America's founding through depictions of restored gardens and grounds at national historical sites such as Jamestown and Williamsburg.


Friday, February 24

Roundtable on Early Modern Masculinities
Noon - 5:00 p.m., Park 532

Organized by Christian Flaugh (Romance Languages and Literatures)
Cosponsored by the Early Modern Research Workshop

This round-table discussion investigated the struggles and the anxieties generated by the attempt at constructing a successful model of manhood and selfhood through an interdisciplinary analysis of representations of masculinity. The presenters explored the ambivalence around representations of masculinity as located in various spaces and discourses in the early modern period. They addressed paramount questions of early modern selfhood such as what constituted the period’s notion of male identities, what practices and narratives were designated as masculine, and ultimately the real stakes of constructing masculinity in the various realms of the early modern world.


Thursday, March 8: Presentations by Gender Institute Dissertation Fellows
Katie Grennell
(American Studies) on gender, disability & American popular music
Michael Hurst (English), “Heroic Slave Bodies: Epic Masculinity and Transcendence in Frederick Douglass”
12:00 to 1:30p.m., UB Gender Institute, 207 The Commons

Friday, March 23, Regina Mason and Rhonda Brace

“Searching for Ancestors: Extraordinary Discoveries”

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

After years of searching for her family roots, Rhonda Brace of Springfield, Massachusetts discovered that her ancestor, Jeffrey Brace, had published a memoir of slavery in 1810. Ms. Brace then worked with Professor Kari Winter, the editor of The Blind African Slave; or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005) to gather more information about the Brace family’s history in New England from the Civil War to the present. After years of searching for her family roots, Regina Mason of San Francisco, California discovered that her ancestor, William Grimes, had published a memoir of slavery in 1825. Ms. Mason formed a partnership with Professor William L. Andrews anddevoted years of research to produce a new edition of Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave (Oxford University Press, 2008). Meeting each other for the first time, these two women shared their unique stories of genealogical research and academic collaborations.

Respondents: Barbara Nevergold, Uncrowned Queens Institute
Christopher Lee, University of Western Ontario
Candice Reynolds-Lee, sculptor and Brace descendant


tghousing
Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Gender-Neutral Housing at UB: Breaking Through the Binary of Traditional Campus Living"
Gender Institute, 207 The Commons


Trey Ufholcz, the 2011-12 M.S.W. intern with the Gender Institute
Ethan A. Gibson, Ph.D. Candidate Electrical Engineering and
Anderson Starrantino, first year student and future Nursing major

In January, UB decided to implement a Gender-Neutral
Housing Policy, starting in Fall 2012.




Fall 2011


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Victoria Wolcott
(History) will introduce
Toni Pressley-Sanon
(African and African American Studies) 
"Bloodline/Bloodlust: Reading Race and Gender in Octavia Butler's Fledgling"
12:00 to 1:30 p.m., 207 UB Commons, North Campus

 


BBonoWednesday, September 28, 2011
Carine Mardorossian (English) will introduce Margarita Vargas (Romance Languages and Literatures) 
"From Body to Voice and Back: 20th- Century Mexican Theatre"
12:00 to 1:30 p.m., 207 UB Commons, North Campus

THIS PAPER WILL BE RE-PRESENTED:

Saturday, October 15, 2011
Casa de Arte
141 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo


BBonoTuesday, October 25, 2011:Rae Muhlstock, English
"This Text Which is Not One: A Unity of Fragments in the Works of Shelley Jackson"
12:00 to 1:30 p.m., 207 UB Commons, North Campus

 



 

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