Continuing with this year’s theme of “Campus War Machine: Sex and Debt,” The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men resumes its series of performances, lectures and dialogue sessions in February and continues with various guest speakers throughout the spring semester. All of the speakers will add to the campus’ ongoing discussion exploring the ways in which gender figures into the wars being waged on, by, or in the name of higher education.
“I’m excited about the speakers,” says Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean, who is the director of the Fisher Center. “They will continue to provoke the audience to think about how we think, that is, about how colleges and universities participate in forms of violence, albeit unwittingly. Each of the speakers demonstrate the Fisher Center’s commitment to a rigorous inquiry into gendered, raced, and classed forms of power.”
Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Alabama Nirmala Erevelles kicked off the spring series with her lecture, “Empire’s Other’s Other: Crippin’ the Political Economy of Erasure in the Academy” on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center. Erevelles’ discussion took an intersectional approach that foregrounds the dialectical relationship between disability and the other constructs of difference, namely race, class, gender, and sexuality and its brutal implications for (disabled) students in U.S. public schools and (disabled) citizens in transnational contexts.
Erevelles’ teaching and research interests lie in the areas of disability studies, critical race theory, transnational feminism, sociology of education, and postcolonial studies. Erevelles has published articles in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Theory, Studies in Education and Philosophy, the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Disability & Society, and Disability Studies Quarterly, among others. Her book, “Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Towards a Transformative Body Politic,” was published by Palgrave in November 2012.
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, Martha Biondi will give a lecture titled, “The Black Revolution on Campus: Re-envisioning Higher Education,” also at 7:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center. Biondi is a professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University, where she currently serves as chair of African American studies. Her discussion will focus on the success of Black students and their allies on campuses in the late 1930s and early 1970s as they organized to transform higher education in the U.S. in the face of intense resistance.
Biondi is a scholar of Black radicalism and postwar social movements. Her book, “To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York,” won the Thomas J. Wilson Prize from Harvard University Press, and her 2012 book, “The Black Revolution on Campus,” won the AHA’s Wesley Logan Prize for an outstanding book in the history of the African diaspora.
Lori Marso, professor of political science at Union College, will continue the conversation with her discussion on sexual violence in film, “Inverting Sexual Violence: Representations of Women’s Agency in Film,” on Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center. She will explore recent films such as Catherin Breillat’s “Fat Girl” and David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” to ask how the representation of women’s agency – depicted as stemming from a range of affects – might be considered one, if not a key factor in complicating the “victim” narrative around sexual violence.
Marso teaches courses in feminist film, African-American political thought, post-colonial theory, feminist theory and political theory. The author of numerous articles, Marso’s books include: “Simone de Beauvoir’s Political Thinking,” “(Un)Manly Citizens: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s and Germaine de Staël’s Subversive Women” and “Feminist Thinkers and the Demands of Femininity.”
The Fisher Center 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. Building upon their long-held commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education for men and women, both separately and together, Hobart and William Smith Colleges established the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men in 1998 to support curricular, programmatic and scholarly projects which address the question: How do we more nearly realize, through our educational program, scholarship, and presence in the larger community, our democratic ideals of equity, mutual respect, and common interest in relations between men and women?