This Real Issue with Mommy Porn

By Erin Hagen For the last few weeks, editorials criticizing 50 Shades of Grey turned feature film have been popping up all over my newsfeed. Perhaps it’s because I have been reading them while thinking ahead to our Women’s History Annual Conference, Worn Out: Motherwork in the Age of Austerity, but I have finally pinpointed the reason I cannot get on board with the 50 … Continue reading This Real Issue with Mommy Porn

FRIDAY MARCH 1st: Opening Night & Keynote Speaker ALICE KESSLER-HARRIS

Friday March 1, 2013 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Registration in Heimbold Lobby — Pick up your conference materials and mingle with other passionate women’s historians! 6:00 p.m. HEIMBOLD AUDITORIUM: THE MAIN EVENT! Welcome Address: Rona Holub, Director, Women’s History Graduate Program, Sarah Lawrence College Keynote Address: Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History, Columbia University Alice Kessler-Harris earned her PhD from Rutgers in 1968. … Continue reading FRIDAY MARCH 1st: Opening Night & Keynote Speaker ALICE KESSLER-HARRIS

PANEL: Education and Activism

Saturday March 2, 2013 10:00 AM This panel will be moderated by Dr. Kathryn Hearst of Sarah Lawrence College.  Feminist Pacifism and Gendered Nonviolence in the Age of New Media Amy Schneidhorst The Sixties anti-nuclear and anti-war group, Women Strike for Peace was known for its media savvy. Their creative direct action attracted broad media attention and created a space for moral and ethical critiques of realpolitik policy … Continue reading PANEL: Education and Activism

PANEL: Women and Cultural Activism

Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:45 PM This panel will be moderated by current SLC Women’s History student, Robert Leleux. Out South of the Salt Line: Lesbians in the Court of Public Opinion Debbie Hicks Tourists recall images of the Gulf South port of Mobile, Alabama: teen Azalea Trail Maids as a pastel curtsy of antebellum hoop skirts; maskers rocking Mardi Gras floats; hurricane flooded … Continue reading PANEL: Women and Cultural Activism

PREVIEW: 15th Annual Women’s History Month Conference in Honor of Amy Swerdlow

Hello women’s history enthusiasts and loyal readers! It’s the most wonderful time of the year– namely, WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! To kick off the month of March, Sarah Lawrence College’s Women’s History graduate program hosts an annual conference, centered around a theme in women’s history and activism. This year, our conference honors the late Amy Swerdlow, historian, activist, member of Women Strike for Peace, and former … Continue reading PREVIEW: 15th Annual Women’s History Month Conference in Honor of Amy Swerdlow

WELCOME TO THE 2012 WOMEN’S HISTORY CONFERENCE ISSUE!

Well Hello There! March is Women’s History Month which means it’s time for the 14th Annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College {home to first-ever women’s history program and the subsequent founders of Women’s History Month}! To celebrate this year’s conference, R/V decided to profile some of this year’s most buzz-worthy presenters and performers! And, in spirit of the conference theme, “Women, the Arts … Continue reading WELCOME TO THE 2012 WOMEN’S HISTORY CONFERENCE ISSUE!

Black Women Defining Themselves in the Music Industry

by Monica Stancu

Editor’s Note: In light of this year’s Women’s History Conference, “Breaking Boundaries,” we are happy to present this previously unpublished work from last year’s conference.

In Check It While I Wreck It, Gwendolyn D. Pough, a Women’s Studies scholar, argues that many scholars have ignored the achievements of black female rappers and limited themselves to criticizing the sexist portrayal of black women in hip hop culture. The author claims that although hip hop is indeed dominated by men, black female singers use this type of music to disrupt dominant masculine discourses.

At the Women’s History Conference hosted by Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York) on March 5-6 2010, scholars explored the ways black women expressed politics through music. The theme of the conference, “The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music and More,” reflected Pough’s belief in the potential social and political influence of hip hop. The presenters argued that although hip hop can be problematic at times, female artists are not just marginalized or victimized by it: they use hip hop to offer counter narratives.

The scholars present at the panel “Love, Sex and Magic: Hip Hop Feminism as a Tool for the Creative Renegotiation of Black Female Desire” on March 6, argued that hip hop is not unique in its use of sexist representations of women and its commodification of black women’s bodies. The exploitation of these bodies for the privileged is one of many shameful relics of slavery, when they were used as cheap labor and objects for sexual relief. Continue reading “Black Women Defining Themselves in the Music Industry”

Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

This weekend the Sarah Lawrence community will be celebrating Women’s History Month with our 13th Annual Women’s History Month Conference, Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference.  Friday, the conference opens with a plenary featuring Marilyn Wann (author of Fat! So?) then a Night of Spoken Word featuring Maria James-Thiaw and Lara Frater, plus other artists: Ms. MaDonna Awotwi a.k.a. Sankofa the Poet, … Continue reading Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

BREAKING BOUNDARIES conference schedule announced

BREAKING BOUNDARIES: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference
A Conference at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York (15 minutes north of Manhattan)

Friday – Saturday March 4 – 5, 2011
Free and Open to the Public
Keynote Speaker: Marilyn Wann Fat Activist and Author of Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty.

What are the dominant narratives and perceptions about beauty and bodies? How do these perceptions affect public policy around issues of health, civil rights, education, and accessibility? How do those whose bodies do not fit into the “proper” cultural norms challenge attitudes, laws, and perceptions? How have they negotiated for and found power in unwelcoming environments, both now and in the past? How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and disability complicate prevailing ideas about embodiment? Are there and have there been communities and cultures that have welcomed those whose bodies are currently perceived as deviant in dominant popular discourse? And what is the relationship between promoting and continuing the dominant discourse and capitalist consumer culture? This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies.

Preliminary Schedule
(subject to change)
Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center. Continue reading “BREAKING BOUNDARIES conference schedule announced”

Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck

illustration by Cristy Road

by Kate Wadkins

In sync with Sarah Lawrence’s recent call for papers for 2011’s Women’s History Conference, I am syndicating my review of the plenary panel from this year’s The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More with RE/VISIONIST (it is also currently published in this year’s Women’s History newsletter). Specifically Ngo and Nguyen’s papers, in the context of the Conference at large, really inspired me to pursue my thesis work on masculinities in punk rock. Watching other scholars dare to take on pop culture subjects like music gave me hope and certainty that cultural production is worthy of an historical treatment.

This article is also timely as it preempts the publication of International Girl Gang Underground, a compilation zine about the way riot grrrl has influenced punk feminist cultural production over the past twenty years. Nguyen’s early iteration of her paper, “Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy” or “Race, Riot Grrrl, Bad Feelings” will be included in the zine, nestled in among scene reports and personal stories from all over the world.

“I quit punk like 8 times,” Mimi Nguyen confessed to a full auditorium at Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference: The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More, recollecting her contentious relationship with punk rock. As the first panel of the morning opened up, the groggy, packed audience, comprised of women of all ages and ilk, quickly awoke to Nguyen’s sharp wit and powerful presence. For the plenary panel, Fiona Ngo and Mimi Nguyen, both assistant professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, discussed grassroots punk scenes and their internal racial dynamics. A third panelist, Sarah Lawrence alum Christa D’Angelica, presented on what she termed a “second wave” of riot grrrl that traversed from zine[1] pages to dial-up modems in the late 1990s. Continue reading “Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck”