Book Salon with Stephen Dillon on Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State

Wed, Feb 13 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: 
Five College Women's Studies Research, 83 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075
Event Flyer for Book Salon with Stephen Dillon

Join us for a discussion of Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State (Duke University Press) by Stephen Dillon (Assistant Professor of Critical Race and Queer Studies, Hampshire College). During the 1970s in the United States, hundreds of feminist, queer, and antiracist activists were imprisoned or became fugitives as they fought the changing contours of U.S. imperialism, global capitalism, and a repressive racial state. In Fugitive Life, Stephen Dillon examines these activists' communiqués, films, memoirs, prison writing, and poetry to highlight the centrality of gender and sexuality to a mode of racialized power called the neoliberal-carceral state. Drawing on writings by Angela Davis, the George Jackson Brigade, Assata Shakur, the Weather Underground, and others, Dillon shows how these activists were among the first to theorize and make visible the links between conservative "law and order" rhetoric, free market ideology, incarceration, sexism, and the continued legacies of slavery. Dillon theorizes these prisoners and fugitives as queer figures who occupied a unique position from which to highlight how neoliberalism depended upon racialized mass incarceration. In so doing, he articulates a vision of fugitive freedom in which the work of these activists becomes foundational to undoing the reign of the neoliberal-carceral state. Discussants: Cameron Awkward-Rich (Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst), Jen Manion (Associate Professor of History, Amherst College) and Britt Rusert (Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst)

Campus: 
Mount Holyoke College
Directions and parking info: 
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Accessibility info: 
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Spring 2019 Events


****For any event accessibility needs, please contact the Center at 413-538-2275 or fcwsrc@fivecolleges.edu in advance****


Wednesday, March 6th 

FCWSRC Works in Progress Faculty Seminar 

“Querying 'China-in-Africa': Gender, Sexuality, and Interracial Intimacies"

Mingwei Huang, Mellon Faculty Fellow, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Dartmouth College

As Chinese commodities, infrastructure, and communities expand across the African continent, the mainstream “China-in-Africa” story unfolds as a tale of 21st century neocolonialism. Gender and sexuality animate geopolitical imaginaries yet are rarely examined. Drawing from the analysis of popular texts and extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Johannesburg, this paper theorizes how gender, sexuality, and race mediate representations of China-Africa, and also everyday encounters between Chinese and African actors as new China-Africa flows engender normalizing projects. As this paper argues, the color line of Chinese capital and African labor relies on the daily reproduction of racial boundaries between Chinese and African bodies. These boundaries acutely manifest around interracial desire and anti-miscegenation logics. And yet they are inevitably porous through the public intimacies of exchanging money, sharing toilets, and rubbing up in narrow aisles and cramped warehouses, and the realities of African domestic labor in Chinese households. As is shown, the geopolitics of China-Africa are intimately bound to gender and racialized sexuality.

Mingwei Huang is a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Dartmouth College, where she will transition to Assistant Professor in 2020. At the University of Minnesota, she received a PhD in American Studies with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies. She is working on her book The Intimacies of Racial Capitalism, an ethnography of Chinese migration in South Africa. She has published and has forthcoming work in Scholar & Feminist Online, Radical History Review, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Anthropology News, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Discussants: Kiran Asher (Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst) and Laura Briggs (Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst)

**Dinner provided - RSVP HERE**

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Monday, March 25th 

Book Salon with Jade Sasser on On Infertile Ground: Population Control and Women's Rights in the Era of Climate Change

Join us for a book talk and Q&A with Jade Sasser (Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside) on her new book On Infertile Ground: Population Control and Women's Rights in the Era of Climate Change (New York University Press).

Since the turn of the millennium, American media, scientists, and environmental activists have insisted that the global population crisis is “back”—and that the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change is to ensure women’s universal access to contraception. Did the population problem ever disappear? What is bringing it back—and why now? In On Infertile Ground, Jade S. Sasser explores how a small network of international development actors, including private donors, NGO program managers, scientists, and youth advocates, is bringing population back to the center of public environmental debate. While these narratives never disappeared, Sasser argues, histories of human rights abuses, racism, and a conservative backlash against abortion in the 1980s drove them underground—until now.  

Using interviews and case studies from a wide range of sites, Sasser demonstrates how population growth has been reframed as an urgent source of climate crisis and a unique opportunity to support women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. ­Although well-intentioned—promoting positive action, women’s empowerment, and moral accountability to a global community—these groups also perpetuate the same myths about the sexuality and lack of virtue and control of women and the people of global south that have been debunked for decades.  Unless the development community recognizes the pervasive repackaging of failed narratives, Sasser argues, true change and development progress will not be possible.  

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Wednesday, March 27th 

Anti-Colonial Feminisms Faculty Reading Group 

The reading group will be facilitated by Kiran Asher (Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst) and Michelle Joffroy (Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American and Latina/o Studies, Smith College). 

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley


Wednesday, April 3rd 

Book Salon with Fumi Okiji on Jazz as Critique: Adorno and Black Expression Revisited

Join us for a discussion of Jazz as Critique: Adorno and Black Expression Revisited (Stanford University Press) by Fumi Okiji (Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst).

A sustained engagement with Theodor Adorno, Jazz As Critique looks to jazz for ways of understanding the inadequacies of contemporary life. Adorno's writings on jazz are notoriously dismissive. Nevertheless, Adorno does have faith in the critical potential of some musical traditions. Music, he suggests, can provide insight into the controlling, destructive nature of modern society while offering a glimpse of more empathetic and less violent ways of being together in the world. Taking Adorno down a path he did not go, this book calls attention to an alternative sociality made manifest in jazz. In response to writing that tends to portray it as a mirror of American individualism and democracy, Fumi Okiji makes the case for jazz as a model of "gathering in difference." Noting that this mode of subjectivity emerged in response to the distinctive history of black America, she reveals that the music cannot but call the integrity of the world into question.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Monday, April 8th 

"Women, Money, Death and Patriarchy: The Kenyan Experience"

Public Lecture by Mary Njeri Kinyanjui, FCWSRC Research Associate and Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi

Sharon Otieno was a second year student at Rongo University in Kenya. She was raped, brutally murdered, and deposited in a bush in Uriri, Migori County, on September 3, 2018. Okoth Obado, her rich boyfriend and governor of Migori County, was arrested and accused of the murder. Sharon was thought to be involved in a phenomenon locally known as "sponsorship" where rich men sponsor young girls’ expensive lifestyles. Sharon’s story provoked Kinyanjui to interrogate the issue of women, money, death and patriarchy in Kenya in the context of women's financial uncertainty. Kenyan women are excluded from global financial circuits and have been struggling to earn money in difficult and dangerous terrains, including engaging in precarious work in domestic services, quarrying stones, picking tea, coffee and flowers or spending time in fish markets to make money. This is a contradiction to the lived experiences of girls in sponsored relationships where beauty, youth and sex play a role in accessing money. In this talk, Kinyanjui will trace the reality of Kenyan women's financial precarity from its introduction during the colonial time to the present day Kenya. Kinyanjui will aim to answer the following questions: How were women incorporated into the global money culture? What were the women’s reactions to the introduction of money? What are the emergent male female relationships in relation to money? How has money affected women’s lived feminists’ lives?

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Wednesday, April 10th 

FCWSRC Works in Progress Faculty Seminar 

"'No girl ever thinks of weights or rings or miscellaneous exercises': The Genesis of Physical Education Programming"

Frances Davey, FCWSRC Research Associate and Assistant Professor of History, Florida Gulf Coast University

College women debated evolving ideologies of reproductive agency, vocational aspirations, and other forms of independence through fitness programming. Frances Davey will present a paper that focuses on physical education programming implemented at the founding of women’s colleges and coeducational universities which examines the relationship between institutions’ missions and their fitness curricula. In so doing, this paper will explores the role that women’s collegiate physical education played in shoring up or diluting provincial notions of respectable womanhood and feminine weakness.

Discussants: Mary Renda (Professor of History, Mount Holyoke College) and Nanci Young (College Archivist, Smith College)

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Wednesday, April 17th

Works in Progress Film Screening: The Independent Films of Patricia Montoya                                     

Join us for a film screening of two works in progress by Patricia Montoya (FCWSRC Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor of Video and Film, Hampshire College):

Take Me to Yr Borderlands (Love Song to Gloria E. Anzaldúa) - Remixed: A Pilgrimage Music Video Documentary

In the form of pilgrimage, this film follows the late scholar, poet and social critic Gloria Anzaldúa’s path from childhood, as described in Borderlands / La Frontera, the development of her theories about the creative process in her dissertation Light in the Dark/ Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality, edited after her death by theorist and friend, AnaLouise Keating, her house, everyday life and last days in Santa Cruz as narrated by collaborator and roommate, Irene Reti in The House of Nepantla, to her burial back in the Rio Grande Valley and the celebration of her legacy at the Mundo Zurdo Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Cuando La Rumorosa Calla (When La Rumorosa is Silent) 

Cuando la Rumorosa Calla is the provisional name of an experimental narrative short film based on the play, El Lobizón de la la sierra, written by Gilda Bona and Hugo Ramos (Argentina, 2011). The film tells the story of a female journalist on the way to investigate a series of femicides in the town of La Rumorosa, located on the border between the United States and Mexico and where she wakes up naked at the end of a night bus trip. With an intricate dialogue, the woman confronts the driver and discovers a plot between him, the man who assaulted her and the policeman called to investigate. The bravery of her struggle offers an open ending that suggests that whether she escaped or succumbed her fighting spirit lives on in the defiying stance of the women and the youth creating a world of hope and beauty in the streets of the city.   

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College


Thursday, April 25th 

Anti-Colonial Feminisms Faculty Reading Group 

The reading group will be facilitated by Kiran Asher (Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst) and Michelle Joffroy (Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American and Latina/o Studies, Smith College)

6:00-8:00pm, FCWSRC, 83 College Street, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley