This coming weekend, two HWS professors will be speaking at separate events in Seneca Falls, N.Y. On Saturday, July 15, Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies Etin Anwar will present a dialogue and accompanying show of Islamic fashion titled “Show and Tell: Cross-Cultural Dialogue Through Islamic Fashion” at 2 p.m. in the Women’s Rights National Historical Park’s Guntzel Theater. On Sunday, July 16, she will lead a workshop titled “Islamophobia and Cross-Cultural Dialogue” at 9 a.m. in the Park’s Wesleyan Chapel.
Also on Saturday, Associate Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth will give a talk titled “Plays as Propaganda: The Role of Suffrage Drama in the Campaign for the Vote.” Her presentation will be at 6:30 p.m. at Corning Glass Barge, 1 Canal St. It will include staged readings of passages from suffrage plays such as “A Woman’s Influence” by Gertrude Jennings and “How the Vote Was Won” by Cicely Hamilton and Christopher St. John.
Anwar’s events invite audiences to participate in cross-cultural dialogues about diversity in Muslim women’s clothing as a way to bridge cultural differences and foster dialogue, collaboration and friendship. The clothing collection will honor suffragist colors of white, purple, gold and green. Associate Professor of English Laurence Erussard, Mackenzie Hafner, Grace Hefner and Nadia Shahram will model the clothing.
Anwar has written extensively on the Islam faith including her book “Gender and Self in Islam” (Routledge, 2006). She is currently working on a manuscript titled “Genealogy of Islamic Feminism: Patterns and Trends in Indonesia.” She was featured in the WXXI TV documentary “Muslim Women in Our Midst: The Path to Understanding” in conjunction with America at the Crossroads.
Woodworth’s presentation will trace the two histories of suffrage drama in the U.S. and the U.K. Originally presented in private homes, suffrage plays moved to more public venues in the early 20th century as the tactics of suffrage activists became more radical. An organization called the Actresses’ Franchise League, according to Woodworth, worked with writers, mostly women, who wrote short plays promoting suffrage that could be quickly mounted for production. “For my talk I will address the connections between Geneva, Seneca Falls, New York City and London in terms of suffrage drama,” she says. “Men and women performed in these productions and men and women attended these productions.”
Woodworth’s presentation will include dramatic readings of excerpts from three of these plays, two of which were performed in New York City in 1910 at a “Suffrage Matinee.” Actors joining Woodworth will be Casey Cady ’18, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Maggie Werner and staff member Carrie Massey. The other performers are Geneva community actors Eric Duchess and Kathryn Snyder.
“The event was organized as a benefit for the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, a suffrage activist organization founded by Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and cousin of Elizabeth and Anne Miller of Geneva,” says Woodworth. “At this Suffrage Matinee, three plays were performed, poems were recited, speeches were delivered, and many famous British and American actresses of the time were involved.”