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Feb. 28, 2007
CONTACT: Pam Young
pyoung@emich.edu 734.487.4400
Complete information on Women's History Month events at EMU

Women's History Month goes international

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University goes international with this year’s Women’s History Month (WHM) celebration. The schedule of movies, lectures, activities and discussions will highlight the trials and successes of women’s rights movements cross-culturally.

“EMU’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program is pleased to serve as the organizing point for our campus month-long celebration of Women’s History Month” said Carol Haddad, interim director of the WGST program. “Thanks to the vision and dedication of our faculty and graduate student planning committee, and to the many faculty, students, and artists who are conducting activities, we have an exciting, diverse array of events this year.”

Documentary filmmaker Kum-Kum Bhavnani is the Women’s History Month keynote speaker. Bhavnani is a professor of sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Her research has covered racism, feminism, women in prison and development studies—focusing mostly on Third World countries.

Bhavnani will show and discuss her award-winning film, “The Shape of Water,” Thursday, March 8, 7-9 p.m., Student Center Auditorium.

The film depicts the grassroots social change work of women activists around the world. The women in her movie are abandoning female genital mutilation (Senegal); tapping for rubber to protect the rainforest (Brazil); protecting the biodiversity of the planet (India); and opposing military occupations (Jerusalem).

Bhavnani’s presentation exemplifies the theme of this year’s WHM celebration: “The Commonality of Difference: Women’s Lives in the Global Community.”

“We have chosen this theme in order to draw attention to women’s experiences across cultures and nations, at a time when the world is in great

need of dialogue and common purpose,” said Haddad. “We are particularly grateful for the strong support received from various campus offices, colleges, departments and other co-sponsors.”

Other Women’s History Month events include:

  • Show off your artistic side in the WHM 2007 Poster Contest, now through March 26. Participants will create a poster related to this year’s WHM theme. Various artistic media may be used (paint, ink, mixed media, computer graphics, etc.) to create a poster between 11”x17” and 18”x24.” Contestants need to submit a hard copy of the poster to be shown in a gallery setting. The first place winner’s poster will be duplicated and sold for WGST fundraising purposes. All levels of artistry are welcome. For more information and specific contest guidelines contact Katherine Anderson at kander23@emich.edu or stop by 714 Pray-Harrold.
  • The Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association (WGSSA) will show popular cultural films that introduce main characters from varied cultural backgrounds. A moderator-led discussion of feminist themes shown in the film will follow to enhance the viewing experience. “Bend it Like Beckham” will be shown Monday, March 5, 6-8 p.m., room 300, Halle Library. “Real Women Have Curves” will be shown Monday, March 19, 6-8 p.m., Halle Library Auditorium.
  • “Feminism in Bangladesh,” a report of a conversation with the director of the women’s and gender studies program at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, will be presented Tuesday, March 6, 11 a.m.-noon, room 330, Student Center. The report will be followed by a discussion of how the experiences of the EMU WGST program compares with the program at Dhaka, and the commonality and differences between feminists involved with each of the programs.
  • Observant Jewish and Muslim women will share differences and commonalities of their respective religious cultures at “Under One Roof: Jewish and Muslim Women Coming Together,” Tuesday, March 6, 7-9 p.m., room 310-B, Student Center. The goal of the program is to put aside political differences and come together under the universal feeling of being minority women in a culture that does not always promote modesty. EMU Hillel and the EMU Muslim Student Association sponsor this event.
  • The EMU Library faculty will host a series of films set in foreign countries on the theme of women and courage. The following movies are scheduled: “Signs of Our Time: The Story of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas,” Tuesday, March 6; “Whale Rider,” Tuesday, March 20; and “Sisters in Law,” Tuesday, March 27. All films will be 4-6 p.m. in 300 Halle Library.
  • “Women Making a Difference: Gender and the Millennium Development Goals” will discuss women’s roles in global efforts to reduce poverty and promote development worldwide, Wednesday, March 7, 10-11 a.m., Halle Library Auditorium. The workshop will focus on women as global partners in the context of the Millennium Development Goals, which form a blueprint agreed to by all of the world’s countries and leading development institutions.
  • A cross-cultural luncheon, entitled “Women’s Histories and Challenges Around the World,” is scheduled Thursday, March 8, noon-1:30 p.m., room 301, Porter Building. The luncheon will feature a panel discussion by women from a broad range of countries who will describe the challenges facing women in their respective homelands, and the organizations and methods women use to overcome those challenges. The emphasis will be on identifying commonality and differences in women’s experiences and feminist movements cross-nationally.
  • Linda S. Anderson, owner of Sew Elegant Quilt Shoppe, will show her collection of historical quilts, discuss the history of women’s artistic expressions via quilting, and provide machine and hand sewing lessons at “WHM Quilt 2007: Piecing Together Identity.” Participants will receive a pre-cut piece of fabric on which they can paint, glue or stitch representations of themselves. All blocks will be quilted together to create a quilt that is a diverse expression of what it means to be a woman. Stop by Thursday, March 8, 1:30-4 p.m., room 330, Student Center; Monday, March 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Center Lobby; or Tuesday, March 13, 1-4 p.m., room 300, Student Center.
  • A 40-year retrospective of Ruth Weisberg’s work will be shown at the University Art Gallery March 12-April 27. Weisberg was one of the first American artists to take a self-consciously feminist approach to art. A Jewish artist, her work treats such subjects as the Holocaust and Jewish rituals in an attempt to build cross-cultural understanding with non-Jewish viewers. The internationally recognized painter/printmaker will visit EMU Monday, March 12, for a reception, 5-7 p.m., and a lecture, 7 p.m., in the Student Center Auditorium.
  • “Black Women on the Front: Michigan Welfare Rights” presents the work of Sylvia Ordeino and Karen Schaumann-Beltran, who collected oral histories from activists around Michigan. Their video on the Welfare Rights Movement in Michigan will be shown Thursday, March 15, 2-3:15 p.m., 204 Pray-Harrold. Viewers will glimpse the struggle over a 40-year time span.
  • “Crossing Boundaries in the Fight for Civil Rights” includes the 75-minute film, “Home of the Brave” and a discussion Thursday, March 15, 6:30-9 p.m., Halle Library Auditorium. The film tells the story of Viola Liuzzo, the only white woman murdered in the civil rights movement. The 39-year-old mother from Detroit was killed in 1965 after participating in the third Voting Rights March, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Professor Haddad will moderate a discussion on how gender and racial stereotypes discredited her contribution to social justice, and the implications for today. Professor Solange Simoes will present information on how the U.S. civil rights movement has inspired liberation movements in Brazil and other countries. Representatives from student organizations are invited to contribute to the panel discussion.
  • The film, “The Bandit Queen,” will be shown Friday, March 16, 2-5 p.m., Halle Library Auditorium. A roundtable discussion on the theme of the woman as a warrior (the participation of women in armed conflict) will follow.
  • “Zeitouna,” a film documenting the work of a local Arab-Jewish women’s dialogue group of the same name, will premiere at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Sunday, March 18, 7 p.m. The group is devoted to cross-cultural understanding and common work for peace and justice at home and abroad.
  • In “The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Women’s Physical Education and Athletics Before Title IX,” a panel of women who worked at EMU in women’s physical education and/or athletics before 1972 will tell their personal stories Tuesday, March 20, 9:30-10:45 a.m., room 330, Student Center. Topics discussed will include: program description and “specialness;” relationship of women’s and men’s physical education and sports; how resources were allocated; how decisions were made; opportunities and challenges; and disappointments and high points. The panel will include a current women’s sports official and four-to-six former EMU women in physical education or athletics.
  • “Sporting Women in the Middle East” will highlight the gains/losses that women in the Middle East have experienced. It also will compare some of these gains and losses to what women in the U.S. have experienced. This lecture is scheduled Wednesday, March 21, 1-3 p.m., room 310-A, Student Center,
  • “The Concept of Sexual Harassment in Turkey” will explore the influence of the United Nations and the European Union on the development of sexual harassment law in Turkey. This lecture is scheduled Thursday, March 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., room 302, Halle Library.
  • A multi-ethnic cast of Muslim women explore the “mysterious” lives behind the veil through the dramatic performance of poems, narratives and ensemble pieces in “Unveiled: Stories from the lives of Muslim Women,” Thursday, March 22, 8-9:30 p.m., Student Center Auditorium.
  • A round table dialogue, entitled, “Technology Degrees: Expectations & Challenges in Global Job Market,” will feature female students engaged in technology-related educational programs, Thursday, March 29, 11 a.m.-noon, room 320, Student Center. The discussion will focus on expectations and challenges facing those seeking to enter the global job market in technology fields.

For more information about Women’s History Month, or any of these events, contact the EMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program, 487-1177, or visit www.emich.edu/wstudies. Complete information on Women's History Month is here: www.emich.edu/wstudies/whmonth.html.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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