Fisher Center Reflects on the Commons – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center Reflects on the Commons

The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men will bring its yearlong exploration of Gender, Collectivity and the Commons to a close in the coming weeks, with talks from four speakers and a roundtable discussion with the Fisher Center fellows.

On Wednesday, April 17, join members of the Fisher Center Faculty Research Group Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Hannah Dickinson and Fisher Center Predoctoral Fellow Alex Pittman in a conversation on “Speaking the Commons,” at 7 p.m. in Stern 203.

Dickinson will draw upon interviews with undergraduates to present, “Shared Violence: Complicating the Personal in Personal Writing.” In her exploration, Dickinson will consider social relations and affects that shape student writing about violence. “While the genre of the personal narrative compels students to depict their experiences with violence as individually and uniquely injurious, study participants’ talk constructs violence as structural, socially constituted, and held in common,” says Dickinson.

In addition, Pittman will contribute to the evening’s dialogue, presenting on “Untimely Demands: or, the Recitations of Sharon Hayes.” Focusing on the works of artists Sharon Hayes, Pittman’s lecture seeks to consider how “untimeliness” – or that which does not coincide with the present – impacts the sense of the social in feminist and political theories. Pittman’s work examines Hayes’ recitations and performances organize – and disorganize – political imaginaries of commonality in contemporary times.

The following week, on Wednesday, April 24, noted author and scholar Bonnie McCay will give a talk, “Whither thou goest? How fishermen and fish are coping with climate change,” at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room. The lecture will cast a critical eye on the affect of climate change on fish, shellfish and the fishing industry, and will cover in part how the warming of the Atlantic Ocean along the northeast U.S. is affecting fish and shellfish, and how fish distributions and ranges have distinctly changed over the past two decades.

In pursuing her studies, McCay has conducted extensive field research, including work in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada, in the Middle Atlantic region of the U.S., and in Baja California, Mexico, with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Sea Grant College Program, the National Park Service, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Currently, McCay works in the Department of Human Ecology of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers where she teaches graduate students in the anthropology, geography, and ecology and evolution programs. At Rutgers, she is a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor. McCay earned her Ph.D. in environmental anthropology in 1976 from Columbia University. Her books include, “The Question of the Commons” (1987), “Oyster Wars and the Public Trust” (1998), and “Enclosing the Commons” (2002).

Assistant Professor of Art Christine Chin will also reflect on the commons in an open studio of her new work on Friday, April 26. The public showing of these works in progress will be held at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Carriage House. Chin will use the informal studio setting to discuss her work as it relates to the commons, and to talk about her process as an artist and her visual interpretation of biotechnology.

The Fisher Center’s yearlong program will conclude on Monday, May 6, in a roundtable discussion with the 2012-2013 Fisher Center Fellows. The dialogue, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center, will provide a forum to reflect upon the themes researched throughout the year, and will evaluate the impact of this study of gender, collectivity and the commons. Those attending are encouraged to participate in a question and answer session – providing insight into how to define the common, how thinking about these themes has influenced the study of their own discipline, and how this year’s program expanded your understanding of these terms.

The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men, which is hosting the lecture as part of its series, brings together faculty, students, and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. The 2012-2013 theme for the Fisher Center is “Gender, Collectivity and the Common.”