Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Gender and Women's Studies program! Please come back often for information on events, programming, academic opportunities, alumni news, student accomplishments, and more! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Theatre of the Oppressed Class: "Hey, Mom and Dad...I'm straight"

Today, Tuesday December 2 at 6:30 PM in Garey Hall, Room 29A an undergraduate Theatre of the Oppressed Class will be performing an interactive theatre experience called "Hey, Mom and Dad...I'm straight." This piece will tackle issues of heterosexual privilege on campus today. 

Please come out to support this great event!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GWS Goes to the Theater

On Thursday, November 13, GWS Graduate Assistant Jess Otterbine organized a group of GWS students and attended Villanova Theatre’s production of Charles Mee’s Big Love. The play focuses on gender issues, as fifty sisters flee forced marriages with their fifty male cousins. The production explored relations between men and women, sexuality, marriage, among other gender-related topics.

The play is based on a Greek play called the Suppliant Women by Aeschylus and was directed by Professor Harriet Powers.  Read a glowing review of the production on Stage Magazine here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gender and Education: Critical Issues, Policy and Practice 28-30 May 2015, Bloomington, IN, United States

International Conference on
Gender and Education
Critical Issues, Policy and Practice

28-30 May 2015, Bloomington, IN, United States

Organising Institutions:
Gender Studies Platform, London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS)
School of Education, Indiana University-Bloomington
Centre for Gender in Global Context (GENCEN), Michigan State University
Department of Law, Gediz University


Call for Proposals
Deadline for Abstract Submissions: Wednesday, 10th December 2014
The International Conference on Gender and Education aims to engage researchers, academics and policy makers in discussions and debates concerning the interplay between gender related issues and educational dynamics. This conference will explore the consequences and reflections of hierarchical structures in organizational settings, societal resistance involving gender issues, the politics of gender inequality, and gender dimensions of laws and gendered aspects of cultural norms and values that intersect with education.
Topics of interest include: 

  • Gender and hierarchy
  • Gender parity
  • Policies and gender inequalities
  • Cultural impacts and gender
  • Gender discourses
  • Gender, education and schooling
  • Gender and mobility
  • Education and the law
  • Ideal society
  • History of gender and education

The conference is organised by the London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS) in collaboration with the School of Education - Indiana University-Bloomington, Centre for Gender in Global Context (GENCEN) - Michigan State University and Department of Law - Gediz University.

Abstracts of up to 500 words are invited for submission with successful abstracts being invited for presentation at the conference. Authors of selected presentations will then be invited for contributions in future publications.

Please click here to submit a proposal

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Patricia Kubow - Indiana University-Bloomington, School of Education & Director, Center for International Education, Development and Research (CIEDR)
Prof. Peter L. McLaren - Chapman University, College of Educational Studies
Prof. Margaret Crocco - Michigan State University,  Department of Teacher Education
Prof. Nadje Al-Ali - The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Centre for Gender Studies
Assist. Prof. Kathryn Engebretson -  Indiana University-Bloomington, School of Education
Prof. Cigdem Balim Harding - Indiana University-Bloomington, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Dates: 28-30 May 2015
Venue: Indiana University - Bloomington, IN, United States
For further information: www.socialstudies.org.uk

10 December 2014  : Abstracts submission deadline (Up to 500 words)
15 January 2015      : Paper notification
27 February 2015    : Earlybird registration deadline
27 March 2015        : Final registration deadline
28-30 May 2015      : Conference

Please click on this link to download the conference flyer.

GWS Co-Sponsored Event: Jonathan Katz

GWS is co-sponsoring an event Tuesday, November 18 at 5 PM. This talk will be given by Jonathan Katz and is titled, "How Not to See Sexuality in Art: A Primer."

Dr. Jonathan Katz is a pioneering academic and gay activist who works at the intersection of art history and queer history. He founded the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association and the Harvey Milk Institute, and has served as the executive coordinator of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University. At present, Jonathan Katz directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

As a specialist in Cold War-era art, Katz is concerned with the question of why the American avant-garde came to be dominated and defined by queer artists (Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, among others) during what was perhaps the single most homophobic decade in this nation’s history. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, and has a forthcoming book on The Homosexualization of American Art.  In 1995, he was actually kicked out of a conference on Rauschenberg at the Guggenheim for mentioning the artist’s relationship with Johns. 

Katz's recent work includes co-curating, with David C. Ward and Jenn Sichel, the exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Art,” at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. This exhibition was the first major museum exploration of the impact of same-sex desire and identity in the creation of modern American portraiture.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

GWS Alum Published Essay

GWS alum Francesca Montalvo was recently published on Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal with her essay entitled “Protecting Fashion: A Comparative Analysis of Fashion Design Copyright Protection in the U.S. and Europe.” Check out the essay here!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

GWS Co-Sponsored Event: The Clothesline Project

GWS is co-sponsoring an event on Monday, November 17 at 4:30 PM. Susan Rose will be discussing the Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women  affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women. With the support of many, it has since spread world-wide.

Susan D. Rose, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology and Director, Community Studies Center. PhD., Cornell University (1984). Professor Rose specializes in the sociology of religion, immigration, family, violence, and race, class, gender studies. She uses a comparative (cross-cultural and historical) approach to the study of family, religion, education, and violence. She has conducted fieldwork in the United States, Guatemala, the Philippines, and South Korea on evangelical movements, education, and gender that has resulted in a number of articles and books. These include: Challenging Global Gender Violence: The Global Clothesline Project (Palgrave, 2013); Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism (Routledge, 1998) and Keeping Them Out of the Hands of Satan: Christian Schooling in America (Routledge, 1986). Her recent work explores sexuality and sexuality education in Denmark and the United States, the impact of the Religious Right on social policy in the United States, and immigration studies.

Please come out to this amazing event!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

GWS Faculty Member Judy Giesberg Distinguished Lecture Series

GWS faculty member Judy Giesberg will be heading the 2014 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series entitled “Know(ing) It When You See It: Pornography and Sexual Culture in the Civil War North” November 6th-8th at Penn State University.

The series is described as: “From 1842 to 1873, American lawmakers passed a series of measures intended to protect youth from the ill effects of pornography, initially in response to similar measures being taken in France and Great Britain.  But the unique circumstances of the U.S. Civil War determined that Americans would have a different experience with pornography and anti-pornography than their European counterparts. With easy and expanding access to photographic technologies, accelerated delivery of the mails, and new customs laws that restricted the importation of obscene materials, the U.S. Civil War made possible the triumph of a thriving trade in domestic pornography—and let loose a spirited morality campaign to stamp it out, culminating in the passing of Comstock Laws.  This lecture series will explore the trade in pornography that came into its own in the Civil War era and the strong reaction it elicited.”

The list of talks is:

·         Thursday, November 6 at 7 pm, NLI Boardroom: “Lewd, Wicked, Scandalous:” American Pornography Comes of Age

·         Friday, November 7 at 7 pm, NLI Assembly Room: “Storming the Enemy’s Entrenchments:” Civil War Courts Martial and the Sexual Culture of the U.S. Army Camp

·         Saturday, November 8 at 4 pm, NLI Boardroom: “Time to Kill:” Anthony Comstock and the Obscenity of War

***Admission is free and open to the public***

The GWS Department congratulates Professor Giesberg on this amazing honor!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

GWS Event: Gabeba Baderoon "Muslims, Slavery and the Making of Race and Sex in South Africa"

Villanova's Gay Straight Coalition LGBT Awareness Week

GSC Will be hosting LGBT Awareness week October 27-30. See below for all of the great events going on!

Monday – Thursday:  Info & expressions of support at the Oreo

Tuesday, October 28:  Student Panel, “That’s So Gay” featuring students from GSC talking about being gay and being an ally on campus.  7:00pm, Tolentine 215 (pizza served)

Wednesday, October 29:  Moving Beyond the Gender Binary: What We Need to Know About Gender Expression Featuring guest speaker Villanova professor, Katina Sawyer, Ph.D..  4:30pm, Tolentine 215

Thursday October 30:  VIGIL.  Meet at the Oreo, 7pm 

Cabrini Conference Keynote Speaker Kate Bornstein

Julia Hart, a graduate student in Professor Lutes’s GWS graduate course, attended Cabrini College’s Body Image Conference Keynote, speaker Kate Bornstein, on October 22. She wrote this in response to the amazing presentation.  

Kate Bornstein: A Message of Affirmation

The first day of Cabrini College’s undergraduate conference on body image culminated with a talk by the keynote speaker, Kate Bornstein. An author, artist, and gender theorist, Ms. Bornstein discussed a range of topics, but all of them tied back to her three primary points of focus: gender, sex, and desire.

Throughout her talk, Ms. Bornstein drew upon her personal experiences as an individual who was born male but eventually received sex reassignment surgery and now identifies as female. However, she also noted that she does not feel entirely like a man or entirely like a woman and talked about how it can be a struggle for others to understand her fluid, shifting relationship with gender and sex. While she related her experiences as a transsexual individual to body image, she also discussed her own personal battle with anorexia and the journey she has undergone throughout her life in pursuit of self-acceptance.

While Ms. Bornstein’s talk also touched on other topics—including the role of religion and spirituality in individuals’ understanding of gender, sex, and desire—the core of her discussion was a message of self-acceptance. Her talk displayed her powerful abilities as a speaker as she held the audience captivated for the entire hour, skillfully encouraging audience members to think about the issues she discussed by posing questions and urging listeners to contemplate their responses individually. She was not afraid to make jokes and drew frequently upon humor in her talk, but neither was she afraid to delve into intensely emotional topics, including rape and suicide, in her discussion of the fundamental roles gender, sex, and desire play in our lives. 

Ms. Bornstein’s talk was equal parts humorous, engaging, informative, thought-provoking and poignant. Her message was one of affirmation, and she called for the need for all of us to put an end to the self-loathing and self-hatred so often imposed by society; to learn to accept ourselves and others, regardless of how we look or dress; and, finally, to stop feeling ashamed of gender, sex, and desire. Instead, Ms. Bornstein suggests, we should start embracing them proudly and fearlessly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GWS Co-Sponsored Event: Freedpeople and Forty Acres: African Americans and Sherman's March

Gender and Women's Studies is co-sponsoring an event on Wednesday, October 22 at 4:00 PM in the Connelly Cinema. Anne Sarah Rubin, Department of History at the University of Maryland, will be giving a talk titled "Freedpeople and Forty Acres: African Americans and Sherman's March."

GWS Co-Sponsored Event: Paying for the Party

GWS is co-sponsoring an event this Tuesday, October 21 at 6:30 PM in Mendel 102. Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong will be discussing her research that is the subject of her book Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. Elizabeth A. Armstrong is a sociologist with research interests in the areas of sexuality, gender, culture, organizations, social movements, and higher education. Her book, “Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality,” is based on five years of interview research. Mapping different pathways available to college students, the authors demonstrate that the most well-resourced and seductive route is a "party pathway" anchored in the Greek system and facilitated by the administration. This pathway exerts influence over the academic and social experiences of all students, and while it benefits the affluent and well-connected, Armstrong and Hamilton make clear how it seriously disadvantages the majority. Eye-opening and provocative, Paying for the Party reveals how outcomes can differ so dramatically for those whom universities enroll.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Internship Opporutnity

Isles, a community development and environmental organization based in Trenton, NJ, will be hiring unpaid interns in the upcoming semesters. Its mission is, “to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities, we design and develop effective services that support this mission and share what we learn with others who can make a difference.” Check out more about the organization on their website.

If interested, contact grants@isles.org for more information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Welcome to a New GWS Faculty Member: Kathleen Grimes!

Gender and Women’s Studies would like to give a warm welcome to new faculty member Kathleen Grimes! Katie received her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Notre Dame and her PhD. From Boston College this past May. Her doctorate is in Theological Ethics. Katie’s academic interests include liberation theologies, calling attention to the pervasive presence of white supremacy in the Catholic church, critically retrieving natural law theory, and sexual ethics. She places Catholic feminist ethics in conversation with Catholic tradition in order to address the challenges of the contemporary Church. Her article Butler Interprets Aquinas: How to Speak Thomistically About Sex has been published in the Journal of Religious Ethics. It can be viewed here. She is also a contributor for the Women in Theology blog, which can be viewed at here the WIT website.

Katie was attracted to Villanova University due to its commitment to the Catholic tradition, while also remaining open to other perspectives. She is teaching Faith, Reason, and Culture this semester.

Emma Watson's Address to the United Nations

Emma Watson, U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, addressed the United Nations in New York City on Saturday, September 20, 2014. She addressed feminism and the HeForShe campaign that aims to get men to pledge a commitment to end gender inequality. Learn more about this initiative here.

Watson spoke about her work to help end gender inequality and what being a feminist means to her. Watch the full video below!

In My Body: Conference at Cabrini College

Cabrini College will host a two-day National Undergraduate Conference focusing on Body Image featuring keynote speakers, a performance from In My Body: The Musical, concurrent sessions, and workshops. Participants are invited to consider questions about what and who defines body image, as well as the significance of body image theoretically and historically.

The conference will be held Wednesday-Thursday, October 22 and 23, from 8:30 AM-9:00 PM (with a break each day between 4:30-6:30 PM).
Our very own GWS minor Sarah Milligan will be presenting “Selfies as a Form of Attention Seeking Self-Objectification” on a panel discussion entitled Language, Images, and the Media. This panel will take place on Thursday, October 23 from 11:05 AM-12:20 PM.
The keynote speaker Kate Bornstein is a transgender author, playwright, performance artist, gender theorist, and activist. She will present on Wednesday, October 22 from 7:00-8:00 PM.

There are many great panels, workshops, and discussions available. See a schedule for the conference here. If you are a Villanova student and are interested in attending, please contact the Gender and Women's Studies program at gws@villanova.edu.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's On Us: White House Initiative Against Sexual Assault

The White House has introduced the next phase in addressing sexual assault on college campuses with the “It’s on Us” campaign. Its aim is to emphasis that all people, including men, have an obligation to end sexual assault. The program will include several PSAs, partner organizations, and a pledge to stop and prevent sexual assault taken by several hundred campus student bodies. Read more about the initiative here.

The campaign organized a group of celebrities to spread the word about the initiative. Check out the video!  

A Woman’s Words: Slam Poetry Performance by Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley is a slam poetry artist. She has touched thousands with her Slam Poetry workshops, lectures, performances and speeches. Gayle has published three books: “Naked”, “Soulfull—A Slam Poetry Study Guide”, and “Passionate—Poems You Can Feel”. Her keynote and lecture series fuses her poetry with the ability to touch her audience through real life experiences, leaving a lasting emotional message. 

Gender and Women's Studies presents Gayle Danley's performance of A Woman's Words. This event will take place on Thursday, October 2 at 6:00 PM in the Driscoll Auditorium.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

GWS Faculty Member Honored

Katina Sawyer, assistant professor of psychology, has been honored by Women's Way, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that has advocated for women and girls for 40 years. 

Women's Way named Professor Sawyer a recipient of a Powerful Voice Award for 2014. Professor Sawyer was celebrated as a "champion for diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance." Her winning combination of scholarship and activism embodies the ethic of GWS, which embraces both intellectual inquiry and concrete action toward social change. Professor Sawyer publishes scholarship on diversity in the workplace, works as a faculty advisor for NovaSVA, and volunteers for Women's Resource Center (women's community resource center), Dawn's Place (home for victims of human trafficking), and the William Way Center (LGBT community resource center). 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

GWS Academic Director Interviewed on NPR and another Nellie Bly Event!

The Gender and Women's Studies program's very own Academic Director, Dr. Jean Lutes, was interviewed on NPR today, Wednesday, September 10th! She discussed the life and legacy of Nellie Bly, which is the topic of the book edited by Dr. Lutes,  Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings. Listen to the interview here.

There is also a Fringe Festival show about Nellie Bly playing this week. Nellie/Nellie is a music-driven dance theater exploration of Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House. It's a highly physical show with live music, with everything from big dance numbers to small, heartbreaking moments. The creators hope to portray Bly as a complicated woman of her time with multi-faceted drives and reactions. The show runs Sept. 11, 12, and 13 at 8 pm at the Broad Street Ministry (in their big historic sanctuary in Center City). Tickets are free and you can reserve them here to reserve a seat. Here's a website with more information about the show: nelliefringe.tumblr.com 

Event: Jill McCorkel on "Breaking Women: Gender, Race and the New Politics of Imprisonment"

GWS is co-sponsoring an event in room 205 of Falvey Memorial Library on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 p.m. for a Scholarship@Villanova lecture featuring Professor Jill A. McCorkel, Department of Sociology and Criminology. Dr. McCorkel will be talking about her recently published book, Breaking Women: Gender, Race and the New Politics of Imprisonment. Dr. McCorkel will discuss how her four years of research in a major U.S. women’s prison helped her to uncover the reasons tougher drug policies have so greatly affected those incarcerated there, and how the very nature of punishment in women’s detention centers has been deeply altered as a result.

This event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Not Alone: Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Examining The White House Report at Villanova

Photo: The Gender and Women's Studies Program presents a panel discussion, "Not Alone: Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Examining the White House Report at Villanova." This panel will discuss the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Stacy Andes will provide information on resources available to Villanova students, Diane Moyer will provide an overview of the status of sexual assault on college campuses, and Theodora Sakellarides will report on her conversations with students at Villanova about the general culture around drinking and gender relations on the Villanova campus. This event will take place on September 24 at 6:00 PM in the Connelly Cinema.

The Gender and Women's Studies Program presents a panel discussion, "Not Alone: Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Examining the White House Report at Villanova." This panel will discuss the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Stacy Andes will provide information on resources available to Villanova students, Diane Moyer will provide an overview of the status of sexual assault on college campuses, and Theodora Sakellarides will report on her conversations with students at Villanova about the general culture around drinking and gender relations on the Villanova campus.

This event will take place on September 24 at 6:00 PM in the Connelly Cinema.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Follow-Up: GWS Major Emily Tifft at the Supreme Court

The first time I argued a case before the Chief Justice of the United States, I lost on a technicality buried in the complex rules of tic-tac-toe. In the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts and his co-counsel of second graders promptly declared that since I cheated in a game of tic-tac-toe, I should, as one “Justice” so eloquently phrased it, serve a life term “in the slammer!” I was only reprieved from punishment when the Chief Justice’s personal secretary interrupted “Court” to announce the arrival of juice boxes for snack time. Such was my life as the Visitor Programs Intern at the Supreme Court of the United States. I spent my summer hosting educational programming events for Court visitors of all ages—including using punishment for breaking the rules in tic-tac-toe as a mechanism for explaining the justice system. My job responsibilities did not, however, end there. Throughout the summer, I also gave public lectures in the Courtroom about the history, architecture, and function of the Supreme Court. I led private tours around the building for family, friends, and personal guests of the Justices. I compiled research for the Court’s Curator on extrajudicial activities of all former Supreme Court Justices, and created scavenger hunts for children through the dozens of Justice portraits in the Court’s main hall. Each day at the Supreme Court was different; whether I was consoling a swarm of angry protestors or entertaining the U.S. ambassador to France, I was never bored. Indeed, my summer was full of learning experiences, all of which shaped me into a better leader, learner, and communicator. Throughout my 12-week internship, I drew on past experiences at Villanova to shape what I wanted to get out of my time in Washington—and I came to fully understand why my GWS degree is so valuable.

On the second day of my internship, I sat in on a private luncheon Justice Sonia Sotomayor hosted with female judges and lawyers from Afghanistan. The women told Justice Sotomayor about the rampant gendered violence in their country, a place where women are killed simply for being women, and girls go to school at the risk of being tortured or raped. Justice Sotomayor spoke eloquently about the importance of female politicians in Afghani government, and expressed her fervent belief that justice will prevail in law, even amid Afghanistan’s struggles. I left the Court that day completely reaffirmed in my plans for the future. Using my English and Gender and Women’s Studies majors, I want to become a lawyer with a focus on gender issues and women’s rights. While I was naive about that area of the law when I first arrived at the Court, I expressed my interest in gender law to my supervisor in the Curator’s Office. Thanks to my supervisor’s influence, throughout the summer I repeatedly spoke with accomplished lawyers and judges from around the world, some of whom specialize in various aspects of gender rights law in places as varied as Bosnia, England, and Russia. I had the privilege of talking to Justice Ginsburg’s female law clerks about how the Justice’s career in gender law inspired them to become lawyers themselves. I gave tours to women who were from a generation when females were not accepted into American law schools, and met inspirational women from parts of the world where females in upper-level classrooms still seems an impossible dream. Each day, the experiences reaffirmed my passion and reminded of a lesson from a Philosophy of Women class or a Gender and the World course. It all showed me how the Supreme Court’s motto, “Equal Justice Under Law,” can apply to my own life. Each of my colleagues this summer worked toward that mission of equality in his or her own way. Luckily for me, through this internship, I rediscovered my own plans—the way I want to contribute to making the world a more just society. I know that my GWS degree will help me get there.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Awards and Honors for our GWS Faculty!

Congratulations to our award-winning GWS faculty!

Two GWS faculty members -- Megan Quigley, Assistant Professor of English, and Catherine Warrick, Associate Professor of Political Science -- won Villanova's Tolle Lege teaching award in May 2014. This award acknowledges excellence in teaching among faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.   

GWS faculty member Katina Sawyer, Assistant Professor of Psychology, received the 2014 Villanova University Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Sawyer was also chosen as a recipient of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology Small Grant for a scale development project, entitled “How does conflict ‘work’ without heteronormative assumptions? Development and validation of an LGB identity-based work-family conflict scale.”

GWS Steering Committee member Sally Scholz, Professor of Philosophy and editor of the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia, was honored with the faculty Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Award for initiating a podcast series for the journal's book reviews and a video interview series with individual authors.  At commencement, Scholz was also honored with the 2014 Villanova University Outstanding Faculty Research Award.

Congratulations as well to GWS faculty member Valerie Joyce, Associate Professor of Theatre, who was recently awarded tenure.

“In my Body: 2014 National Undergraduate Conference on Body Image” hosted by Cabrini College October 22-23

Cabrini College’s Department of English and Women’s Studies Program is hosting “In my Body: 2014 National Undergraduate Conference on Body Image” October 22-23. The conference will be hosted on Cabrini’s campus and will include plenary and keynote speakers.

Students are invited to submit proposals for individual presentations, panel discussions/workshops, and creative submissions. The proposal must be sent to filling@cabrini.edu (Dr. Michelle Filling-Brown) by September 1st.

Possible topics could include (but are not limited to):

-Cross-cultural beauty/body standards

-Connections between body image and changing fashions (e.g. clothing, make-up, hair styles)

-The role of media and advertising in creating, perpetuating, or resisting standards of beauty

-Intersections of gender, race, class, or sexuality and beauty culture

-Representations of body image/physical beauty in literature

-Body satisfaction/dissatisfaction and self-esteem as related to body image

-The objectification of oneself or of others’ bodies

-Sexualization of the female body

-Body work (e.g. steroid use, excessive dieting and/or exercising, cosmetic surgery, body modification)

-Historical discussion or research in psychological disorders that manifest themselves in relation to body image (e.g. body dysmorphia, eating disorders)

Specific details on proposal structures and guidelines can be found here: http://inmybodycabrini.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/in-my-body-national-undergraduate-conference-on-body-image/.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jill Biden: Villanova University 2014 Commencement Speaker

This past May, Villanova University was honored to have Jill Biden, the Second Lady of the United States, speak at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. Biden grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Delaware, Master’s Degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University, and a Doctorate Degree from the University of Delaware. She works to bring attention to the struggles of military families, to stress the importance of American community colleges, and to raise awareness of women’s issues, particularly breast cancer prevention. Currently, she teaches English at a community college in Virginia. She is believed to be the first Second Lady in the nation’s history to have a full-time job while serving this public office.

Below is a link to the transcript of Biden’s commencement remarks as released by the White House, Office of the Vice President.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Faculty News: GWS Academic Director in the Media Talking about Nellie Bly

The Gender and Women's Studies program is excited to announce that our own Academic Director, Dr. Jean Lutes, was interviewed on NPR's national radio program Morning Edition today! She discussed the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nellie Bly, the famous American female reporter. You can listen to the interview on NPR's website.

In addition, Dr. Lutes participated in a podcast of the Great Lady Nerds of American History special, talking about Nellie Bly. The show aired over the Fourth of July weekend of 2014 and is available to listen to here.

To see more on Dr. Lute's writing on Nellie Bly, there is a link to an electronic version of a newspaper article from the Mainline Times here.

Dr. Lutes has also edited a Penguin Classics edition of Bly's new stories that you can see here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Congratulations to our GWS Graduates!

We wish you the best of luck in all you do. Thanks so much for being a part of the Gender and Women's Studies Program during your time at Villanova.

Majors: Tara Lombardia and Kelsey Utter
Minors: Olivia Ferguson, McKenna Hinkle, Elyssa Strickler, Katherine Welter, and Jacqueline Zellman

"As a graduating Gender and Women's Studies Major I can honestly say my outlook on the world has been changed because of my major. My classes have affected me beyond the walls of the classroom. What I have learned is relevant no matter what situation I am in. I've learned most importantly to ask "why?" Why is the world the way it is and why do we accept the world to be what it is? My courses and my professors have opened my eyes to the fact that the world is what we make of it, and sexism is still prevalent in every aspect of life, even if it doesn't seem obvious. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to learn how to think critically. Gender and Women's Studies majors and minors understand that the world could be a better place, and as a Gender and Women's Studies student, I want to be part of that change."-Tara Lombardia
(Interested in declaring a Gender and Women's Studies major or minor? Contact our Academic Director, Jean Lutes, at jean.lutes@villanova.edu. You can also find more information on our website.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Word From a GWS Alum

(By Laura Freeman)
My early educational experiences, probably not unlike many from small town, USA, consisted of rousing conversations about the greatness of our forefathers, the groundbreaking scientific discoveries of Newton and Edison, and countless re-readings of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It’s not, of course, that these subjects don’t have merit, it was just always more of the same.

When I began studying at Villanova in the Fall of 2005, I was astounded at the types of subjects I got to study: Ancient Medieval Renaissance Thought, Poetry and Prose of the 1800s. I read authors I’d never heard of and examined narrative in a deeper way than ever before. In that Poetry and Prose class with Dr. Marylu Hill, I got my first taste (pun intended) of a gendered perspective when we studied Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” I was fascinated by this visceral poem that described a woman being lured into the sleazy and dangerous marketplace and how only her sister could save her using the addictive fruit that called to her in the first place. I would study this poem again in graduate school and rediscover its many layers that centered on the complexity of femininity and what it means to be a woman in the world. I can just picture my 19 year old self sitting in Dr. Hill’s class with my mouth hanging open thinking, “What would my mom say if she heard this?"

The truth is I was never raised to think much about what it meant to be a woman. My mom is one of the most hardworking women I know and I don’t think she has any idea that this is true. She is the quintessential “do-it-all” woman – she works full time, she takes care of her husband and her children and her house – and she never ever questioned this as the path for her. The more I was exposed to feminist studies and a gendered perspective through my classes, the more questions I asked her about why she made the choices she did, whether she felt pressured to be a certain way because she was a woman, and even whether she thought about how she may have raised my sister and I differently from my brothers. Her answers were typically, “I just never thought about it,” which only inspired me to continue applying a gendered lens to practically everything I encountered – both in academia and outside of it – because I wanted to think about it I was fortunate enough to continue my analysis and research of gender and women’s studies during graduate school when I became the GWS graduate assistant (a job that had I been allowed to keep I would have!). It was very early in my two year tenure that my passion for the necessity of gender studies at Villanova and elsewhere was reaffirmed.

During our first appearance at the Majors fair in 2010, I set up our booth and placed on the table a poster collage that some of the current majors had made. On it were pictures cut from magazines of all types of bodies, male and female, in various states of dress and undress, and the poster challenged those looking at it to consider the difference between sex and gender. A Villanova employee setting up her own booth next to me, glanced at the poster and asked, “Why are there men on your poster?” I replied, “What do you mean?” She said “Well, I thought you were Gender and Women’s Studies. Isn’t that just about women?” I explained, “Men have gender, too. You know, masculinity?” And she just shrugged her shoulders. Indeed, there was still work to be done. In my graduate work, I tried to read and analyze almost everything with a gendered lens, my final project tracing motherhood through the waves of feminism – a culmination of my academic interests and the questions I raised to my mom. It had been my goal from the beginning to delve even deeper into the subject that already meant so much to me as an undergrad. Thankfully the English department at Villanova is amazing and my professors supported me every step of the way. So I would plan GWS events during the day – thinking of the best way to reach undergrads who maybe like me hadn’t had any experience with gender, and I would think through these things through literature and criticism at night. It might seem like this would become tiring, but it really didn’t. There was so much to think about! An issue that while growing up may have seemed black and white, now had many beautiful shades of gray. And while this expanded palette did expose more societal injustices and issues that I had not before considered, it was still beautiful since it is only when we see these problems that we can begin to combat and solve them.

And now outside the walls of academia, I can safely say that I wasn’t wrong – gender, in one form or another – plays a role every day. In my position as a project manager at DirecTV’s home security company, LifeShield, I work in an office of about 50 people and I am the only woman. Many days, I feel like I am playing a tug of war with what I was hired to do and what I am assumed to want to do because I’m a woman. Office maintenance tasks not included in my job description often get pushed to me - because surely I want to order the coffee – I’m a woman! I give the credit for my ability to realize that I don’t have to give in and play this part to my GWS education and to the classes that urged me to challenge what was most widely accepted about gender roles. It also taught me that sharing this awareness – even on the small scale of a 50 person office – is worthwhile. In my little niche, I can challenge the gender norms in my office and thwart the idea that “the technology field isn’t for women” by being very good at my job, asserting my authority, and continuing to learn and advance in the company.

It has been extremely rewarding for me to see aspects of my GWS education play out every day – in my work and in my life. It is as if I am shaking my fist at everyone who ever said, “Gender and Women’s studies? What are you going to do with that?” I have a more liberated and fair perspective of how gender affects a workplace dynamic and the understanding that individuals should pursue any field they desire regardless of gender. Both women and men don’t have to fit into pigeon-holed positions that are typically prescribed for them – instead we can cultivate our talents, follow our passions, and let that lead us into the positions in which we will thrive. What will you do with an education in GWS? You will be a thinker! You will be an examiner of life. You will never take somebody else’s word for how things are or should be. We are challengers. We disrupt the commonly accepted conclusions. We make the world a more fair, exciting, and meaningful place to live. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

ECS 2014

GWS majors and minors enjoying the luncheon.
Each spring, Villanova University’s Gender and Women’s Studies program hosts the annual Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference. This year, in honor of its twenty-fifth anniversary, GWS joined forces with the Greater Philadelphia Women’s Studies Consortium to expand the conference and open it to students at area schools including the University of Delaware, Haverford College, Ursinus College, Temple University, West Chester, and others. Students were invited to showcase their work, discuss their interests with fellow students and faculty from the area, and see the broad range of intellectual disciplines that Gender and Women's Studies encompasses. Between the Villanova community and Greater Philadelphia schools, ECS welcomed close to 70 undergraduate and graduate students at this year’s conference!

Students presented on a series of fifteen different panels, and shared work on a variety of compelling topics, including but not limited to, gender and adolescence, women's health, sex and sexuality, representations of masculinity and femininity in pop-culture, pornography, war and the military, gender and economics, queer identity, and women in classical literature. In addition to this work, multiple students also presented creative projects (poetry, visual art, and performance) that engaged a variety of gender-related issues. Dr. Heidi Rose and Dr. Shauna McDonald (Communication) organized a performance showcase entitled "Embodying Text," which featured an interactive Q&A with the student performers.

Student presenters at ECS!
We are happy to announce that much of the amazing student scholarship presented at ECS will now be available to the Villanova community through our recently established Elizabeth Cady Stanton Student Research Proceedings website—a public online journal that archives each year’s collection of ECS papers. Our hope is that this site will encourage students and faculty to continue celebrating and engaging the important work of Gender and Women’s Studies. While ECS is a single day here at Villanova, the interdisciplinary work of this field is unfolding in departments, classrooms, and faculty and student scholarship, every day of the year.

The GWS program and the ECS committee would like to thank the Greater Philadelphia Women's Studies Consortium for joining Villanova University this year and helping us make this day a very memorable twenty-fifth anniversary. We would also especially like to thank the GWS steering committee and all GWS faculty and students who have contributed to the ECS conference over the last twenty-five years. The conference would not exist without your continued support, enthusiasm, and participation!

 CJ Pascoe giving her Keynote presentation, "BULLIED:
Youth, Gender, and Homophobia."
You can see more photos on our Facebook page! ("Villanova's Gender & Women's Studies")

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post: "Human Trafficking Panel Brings Issue Close to Home"

Guest Post: "Human Trafficking Panel Brings Issue Close to Home"
by Marie Bouffard
(This article was also published in Vol. 102:5 of The Villanovan)

When most people think about human trafficking, they conceive of it as an international problem, not something close to home. The reality, however, is that labor and sex trafficking goes on right in this country, in this city, and in this area. A panel on human trafficking took place February 12th as part of the One Billion Rising campaign. The event sought to open up a dialogue in the Villanova community on such a pressing matter.

Several panelists who are experts in the topic of gender violence and human trafficking presented during the event, including faculty member and area coordinator for rhetorical studies Billie Murray, anti-labor trafficking attorney John Rafferty, Dawn’s Place Executive Director Sister Michelle Loise and “Project Dawn” graduate Anne Marie Jones. Two of the featured panelists, Loise and Jones, represented Dawn’s Place, a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia that provides support for women who have been victims of trafficking.

Although sex trafficking is often the first form of human trafficking to come to mind, it is not the only one. Labor trafficking is also prevalent and could be going on in any house in any neighborhood. Trafficking in the labor industry can occur anywhere including domestic workers, warehouses, construction, agriculture, dishwashing and landscaping. Basically anywhere there are people who need jobs and cannot afford to be picky about their employment, labor trafficking can be a problem. Traffickers lure people in by promising them valid employment opportunities and then yanking them away, leaving people trapped and exploited. The case is often that people will bring in someone from their home country under the promise of employment and once they are here, simply not pay them. The victims are then trapped in a foreign country where they do not speak the language and are afraid or unable to get help.

Such a complex problem requires a multifaceted solution, and health care professionals are not the only people who can make a difference in the lives of people suffering under human trafficking. Among trafficking victims there is a great need for legal assistance, so that law professionals like recent Villanova Law School graduate John Rafferty make their career helping exploited workers. Rafferty works as an attorney at Friends of Farmworkers where he focuses on human trafficking. Rafferty works to identify cases of human trafficking in Pennsylvania and to empower victims of labor trafficking. As to solutions to the problem of human trafficking, all the panelists agreed that this is a complex structural problem, and there is no quick fix. Human trafficking is a systematic problem, which means that solutions will have to interdisciplinary and will require everyone to look at the part we play in the system. It is not just labor traffickers, pimps or prostitutes who are implicated. Everyone is involved in this system.

There are many people who do not understand that sex trafficking and prostitution are not victimless crimes, so these issues are not investigated properly. Pornography is closely linked with sex-trafficking because of the differences in the way it portrays men and women and because what starts out as being voluntarily filmed can easily turn into sexual exploitation. Things like glorifying pimps, victim-blaming, and joking about prostitution all contribute to the rape culture that allows this system of exploitation to exist.

The key to fixing these structural issues is awareness. The panelists all expressed the importance of understanding the problem, especially for those in power such as police officers, judges and prosecutors. This system of violence against people who can’t speak up is prevalent in our culture. It is vital to help these victims, seeing as they often do not have the means to help themselves. In order to change the system, people must first change their own behavior by being aware of a culture that perpetuates  harmful views on subjects like relationships, pimps, prostitution and what it means to be a man or woman.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New GWS Grad Class

Villanova's Gender and Women's Studies Program is offering a new interdisciplinary graduate course during the Fall 2014 semester.

Course Code: GWS 8000-001
Course Title:   Critical Perspectives on Gender
Professor:  Dr. Jean Lutes
Schedule: Wednesday 5:20-7:20 PM

An interdisciplinary study of gender, women, and sexuality, this course surveys contemporary developments in feminist, gender, and queer theory. It also applies those theories to a variety of topics, such as the representation of gender, the history of sexuality, the science of sexual difference, gender in the workplace, and gender in the digital age. Throughout the semester, we will consider how ideas about gender are bound inextricably to ideas about race and class. Likely theorists include Sandra Bartky, Karen Barad, Simone de Beauvoir, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Michel Foucault, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Alison Jaggar, Chandra Mohanty, and Eve Sedgwick.

Email Jean Lutes at jean.lutes@villanova.edu for more information! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage in Pennsylvania

Please make note of an important upcoming GWS event! On Wednesday, March 12th at 4:30 p.m. in Driscoll Auditorium, GWS will host a panel discussion on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, many gay couples have been challenging analogous state laws, claiming that they too are unconstitutional. This panel will explore same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania through a variety of perspectives, including John Culhane, Associate Director of Pastoral Care Education, Campus Ministry; as well as several local Philadelphians who have a stake in same-sex marriage laws in the Commonwealth: Isabella Barker, a litigant who filed a law suit against Pennsylvania; Jessica Streeter, visiting professor of Sociology at Villanova; and, Ken Oakes, a disability rights activist member of the vestry at Christ Church.

 The panel co-sponsored by GSC (Villanova's Gay Straight Coalition).