Eastern Michigan University
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Lecture Series 2018–2019

White woman sitting outdoors in the sun smiling. 5 p.m., Tuesday, November 13 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Kira Dallaire (Women’s and Gender Studies Master’s Student), “Feminist Methods in Domestic Violence Advocacy: Reflections From the Field”

Feminist activism and theory have been cornerstones in the movement to end gendered violence. Feminists and anti-violence activists have begun to call for solutions to gender violence that resist the involvement of carceral systems. In this presentation, Dallaire will discuss her work with Community Advocacy Project (CAP), a domestic violence advocacy program and highlight how feminist theory informs my experiences as a domestic violence advocate.

White woman with dark curly hair in front of a blue background looking at the camera and smiling.

5 p.m., Tuesday, November 27 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Laura McMahon (Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies), “‘The Separation That is Not a Separation but a Form of Union’: Merleau-Ponty, Winnicott, and Feminist Object Relations Theory in Dialogue”

McMahon engages closely with Merleau-Ponty's descriptions of perception, creativity, and love in order to flesh out Winnicott's claim that “transitional space” is at the heart of profound adult experiences. She draws out the gendered implications of conceptions of childhood development, which, as Jessica Benjamin and Evelyn Fox Keller have argued, associate masculinity with separateness and femininity with relatedness. She argues that the mature capacity for objectivity requires the development of integrated selves capable of honoring both relatedness and separateness.

Photograph of a 1950s ad featuring a scantily clad woman and the caption "Anything goes in HAVANA."

5 p.m., Tuesday, January 22 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Susana Peña (Bowling Green State), “Erotic Havana?: Historicizing Transnational Sexuality”

Before the 1959 Cuban Revolution, many U.S. visitors to Cuba understood the island to be their playground, one where sexual and racial boundaries could be temporarily crossed. This representation of Cuba was intricately linked with sex work industries on the island, representations of Cubans, and tourism to the island.  Peña will discuss the representation of erotic Cuba in U.S. magazines and newspapers in the late 1950s and the response publications. Her analysis reveals how US authors depicted Cuba’s sexualization of its difference, while Cuban authors saw this sexualization as an unavoidable aspect of modern urban life.

5 p.m., Tuesday, February 12 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Brown skinned woman sitting in front of a bookshelf looking at the camera and smiling.

Aliyah Khan (University of Michigan), “Fashioning the Pious Woman in the Muslim Caribbean”

Khan examines how the changing norms of Muslim women’s fashion are read in the 21st-century Caribbean, where religion is historically linked to race. Khan focuses on Trinidad and Guyana, and uses court cases and fiction to argue that a regional increase in the wearing of hijab, niqab, and other forms of conservative Muslim female and male dress is framed as obstructing postcolonial creolization projects and confusing bodily markers of ethnicity and culture.


5 p.m., Monday March 11 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard (University of California, Irvine), "M/othering and Other Things That Will Get You Killed: Meditations on Black Motherhood"

Alexis Pauline Gumbs and her comadres are associated with a queer-feminist-black way of talking about revolutionary m/othering that compels black women and their allies to consider the political work that it involves. Gumbs' invocation of m/othering does not erase the bloody promises carried by black mothers and m/others who face everything from disproportionate risks of maternal death to a profoundly normalized risk for being criminalized while rearing Black children. Rather Gumbs reminds us of the actions and reactions to keep black children alive. Willoughby-Herard works with a short story by South African black feminist sociologist Fatima Meer, “Amaphekula/ The Terrorist” (1987) to reflect on the enduring costs of m/othering and how to identify it as a practice. Meer crafts the short story in the aftermath of publishing “Special Report: Unrest in Natal 1985” and coming to understand her own incarceration in 1976 as a political prisoner. Gumbs and the formation that she is part of enables black women to read, hear, and amplify Dorothy Roberts, Jennifer Morgan, Oyeronke Oyewumi and Fatima Meer in new ways vital to our ability to keep the promises that black mothers and m/others have made.