In conjunction with the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, a lecture by Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet will shed light on an historical, heroic figure who successfully led a 30-year war and remains unheard of by most of the civilized world. Gallouet’s research focuses on how resistance and revolt of Africans and slaves are represented during the French Enlightenment. Among the figures whom she has studied is N’Zingha, queen of Angola, historical heroine in her native Angola but little known throughout the rest of the world.
Queen Nzinga was the monarch of the Mbundu people in what is now Angola. A resilient leader, she led Angola’s fight against the Portuguese, who at the time were quickly expanding their slave trade in Central Africa. Through skillful negotiations and conversion to Catholicism, she led her country’s resistance until eventually leading her army in a 30-year war against the Portuguese. According to Galloutet, Nzinga was “a sensational woman nobody has heard about: an icon of resistance to colonialism and an African heroine, resisting the colonial Portuguese advance and still on the battlefield at the age of 80.”
Her talk, “Meet N’Zingha, queen of Angola (1583-1663): ruler, soldier, cannibal, legend,” will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, and is part of the “Sentiments & Declarations,” series co-sponsored by the Colleges and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The series kicked off in the fall and this year will explore everything from suffrage to nuclear disaster. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park was established on the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in July 1848.
Gallouët recently published on Nzingha in a special issue on Africa of the 18th century French journal, Dix-Huitième Siècle. The article reviewed in Angola and in Brazil, where Nzingha is a historical heroine, is considered a breakthrough in European studies of the African queen. In addition, Gallouët is also completing a volume of collected essays, which will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2014.
A member of the HWS staff since 1986, Gallouët received her doctorate and master’s from Rutgers University, her B.A. cum laude from Hope and her Bacalauréat, with honors, from Académie de Grenoble. She was the initiator of HWS’s French study abroad programs.
The “Sentiments & Declarations” series continues this semester with the following discussions:
Thursday, March 27, 5-6 p.m.: “Eternal Novices? Professionalism and American Women Monastic Composers” by Assistant Professor of Music Charity Lofthouse. Were contemporary nun composers “professionals” or “amateurs”? And, why is this distinction raised? Lofthouse’s talk explores nun composers’ many works for how they illuminate attitudes about women composers, sacred music, feminism, and professionalism.
Lofthouse joined the Colleges in 2011 as an instructor of music. She received her B.M. from Oberlin College and is now a Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she is working on her dissertation “Sonata Theory, Rotational Form, and Deformation in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Early Symphonies.”
Prior to joining the Colleges, Lofthouse served as a visiting assistant professor of music theory at Oberlin College Conservatory, where she taught courses such as “Music Theory II” and “Music Theory III.” She also acted as an adjunct instructor at Hunter College. Lofthouse has performed extensively in operas and scene programs in Oberlin, Philadelphia and Italy, has performed solos at a number of churches and has played as a collaborative pianist.
Thursday, April 24, 5-6 p.m.: “Why feminists care about funerals: the politics of public mourning,” by Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron. What do state funerals, AIDS activism, 300-year-old remains of former slaves, and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act have do with each other? This talk will use a feminist approach to explore what each of these examples can tell us about public mourning practices in the United States.
Martin-Baron is a feminist performance studies scholar with specialization in feminist and queer theories, visual and material cultural studies, theater history and criticism, critical race studies, and performance theory. She earned her B.A. in theater arts and English from Brandeis University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in performance studies with a designated emphasis on gender and women’s studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines large-scale public mourning rites as performances of national belonging through a queer and comparative ethnic studies framework.
Among her latest publications are: “(Hyper/in)visibility and the Military Corps(e)” Queer Necropolitics (Routledge Press, 2013); and “Funerals,” Encyclopedia of Latina/o Folklore (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2012).
“We have not only been honored to have the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ lecture series at Women’s Rights National Historical Park but have been thrilled with the public’s response to the programs,” says Ami Ghazala, superintendent of the Park. “Attendance has been high and the various topics spurred discussion and debate with visitors and rangers alike. We are looking very forward to continue working with HWS on the upcoming spring lecture series.”
The lectures, which are open to the public, will be held Thursday evenings, once a month, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Guntzel Theatre at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.
Events are co-sponsored by the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Women’s Studies, the Offices of the President and of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and Vice President for Student Affairs, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
The photo above features Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet teaching a class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.