The “Sentiments & Declarations” lecture series returns for the 2014-2015 academic year to explore such diverse topics as activism, manufacturing, the family farm and international women’s rights, among others. In its inaugural year, speakers provided unique perspective during discussions of suffrage, composers, national leaders, nuclear disaster and the politics of public mourning.
“To have our faculty showcase their scholarship as public intellectuals is a vital step in building community and in continuing the debate and discussion kicked off in 1848 by the Declaration of Sentiments,” says Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer.
Bayer, along with Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Jessica Hayes-Conroy and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron helped establish the series, which follows in the tradition of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s landmark treatise on women’s civil liberties, “The Declaration of Sentiments.”
“Last year’s series was an exciting experiment – one which was received warmly both by the HWS community and the wider Geneva and Seneca Falls community,” says Martin-Baron. “It provided a platform for engaging scholarship beyond the classroom, and opened up exciting debates. We’re building on the legacy of feminist debate and discussion that shifted national conversations about gender and equity back in 1848, which is both an honor and a privilege.”
Ami Ghazala, superintendent of Women’s Rights National Historical Park, believes it is fitting to have the thought-provoking topics explored at the sight of the first women’s rights convention. “We welcome women and men, alike, to add their voices to these stimulating discussions,” Ghazala says.
“What I was struck by was the significance of using the venue–a community space with such rich history–to bring together people affiliated with the monument, people from the Colleges, and people from various communities around the area,” echoes Charity Lofthouse, who presented on women monastic composers as part of the series in March. “It was a joy to share my research and passion with people from all kinds of backgrounds and to hear their stories, thoughts, and experiences.”
Assistant Professor of Theatre Christine Woodworth, another of last season’s presenters, was also moved by the opportunity the series offers both speakers and attendees alike.
“It was humbling and awe-inspiring for me to speak in Seneca Falls, in that sacred space which echoes with the audacious voices of legions of women (and men) who bravely fought for equality and justice,” says Woodworth.
The series is cosponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the offices of the President, Provost and Dean of Faculty, and Vice President of Student Affairs at HWS.
“Key to this series is its audience from surrounding communities, and they have conveyed their whole-hearted appreciation of our speakers with good questions and discussion. We hope to have other institutions and public intellectuals join us over the years to come,” says Bayer.
The lectures, which are open to the public, will be held on Thursday evenings, once a month, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Guntzel Theatre at Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, unless otherwise noted. A van leaves HWS at 4:30 p.m. to bring faculty, staff and students to the lectures.
The schedule for the fall and spring lectures follows:
Thursday, Sept. 25: “Trust, Activism, and Social Media,” by Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies Karen Frost-Arnold.
Thursday, Oct. 23: “Hearing the Voice of the Subaltern: the Case of Mayotte Capécia,” by Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies Marie-Hélène Koffi-Tessio.
Thursday, Nov. 20: “Demystifying the Bricks and Mortar of Main Street: An Early Story of Prefabrication,” Assistant Professor of Architecture and Chair of Urban Studies Kirin Makker.
Thursday, Jan. 29: “Down on the Family Farm: Gender Inequality in an Iconic American Institution” by Assistant Professor of Economics and Women’s Studies Elizabeth Ramey.
Thursday, Feb. 26, Wesleyan Chapel: “Slippery Identities and Broken Boundaries in Performance for Social Change,” by Associate Professor of Theatre and founder of Mosaic NY Theatre Co. for Social Change Heather May.
Thursday, March 26: “Feminism and Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1910-1920),” by Associate Professor of Spanish and Women’s Studies and chair of Spanish and Hispanic Studies May Farnsworth.
Thursday, April 23: “Machinic Intimacies and Mechanical Brides: Love in the Era of New Media,” by Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies Alla Ivanchikova.