Juniors Take Women’s Studies Abroad – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Juniors Take Women’s Studies Abroad

At HWS, students’ scholarly passions don’t end when they leave the classroom. In fact, they aren’t even limited to Geneva or the United States. Juniors Emma Kelly and Julie Isaacson have taken their passion for women’s studies to Mendoza, Argentina.

While studying abroad this semester, Kelly and Isaacson presented the results of their independent study projects at the third annual conference on Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies. The two students were part of a session titled “Women Finding Their Own Voice” and presented a comparison of the advancement of women in Argentine politics and the advancement of women in U.S. politics. Both the conference and the presentation were in Spanish.

“We chose to focus our research on gender roles, politics and history — especially the implications of the ‘Dirty War’ on Argentine society–, and class divides through observations, research, and field work,” Kelly and Isaacson explained.

“Because of the topic of our studies, we were selected by a Spanish teacher at Universidad Nacional de CUYO to participate in the conference in order to share with Argentine peers and professors our perception of gender roles here in Argentina as students abroad, as well as our personal experience with gender roles in the United States.”

Kelly and Isaacson began organizing and researching their independent study projects at the end of last spring semester. They have since further explored the Argentine women’s culture by reading about the society and through their own observations and personal interviews conducted while in Argentina.

“The Argentine people we have interviewed have been very accommodating in providing for us information and thoughts on the subject,” they said.

“Speaking in Spanish was definitely a challenging aspect to our presentation, but we were greatly aided by the professors we have met at Cuyo as well as by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter and his wife, Lisa,” Kelly and Isaacson explained. “Although intimidating at first, presenting in Spanish was not as difficult as we initially thought. The audience was friendly and showed great interest in listening to new cultural perspectives.”

“I really can’t emphasize what a tremendous accomplishment this was,” said Salter.  “Not only was this a presentation at a professional conference, but it was in Spanish-a language Julie and Emma are currently studying.”

Kelly is a sociology major, an international relations and political science minor and is an America Reads tutor.

Isaacson is a sociology major who minors in international relations and Latin American studies.  She is a member of William Smith Congress, the Judicial Board, the Sexual Harassment and Grievance Board, was First-Year and Sophomore Class President and is a Writing Colleague at CTL.