Oberlin Celebrates Women’s History
This year’s Women’s History Month encompasses a broad scope with lectures sponsored by the gender and women’s studies and African- American studies departments as well as by the Multicultural Resource Center and students.
The events reflect a desire to explore not only what female identity is, but also the extensive factors that shape it.
“We are delighted to promote events during Women’s History Month, sponsored by a variety of programs and departments, that address the complex interplay of factors that shape experiences of gender and sexuality,” said Wendy Kozol, associate professor of gender and women’s studies.
“In recent decades, feminists have come to challenge the notion of a collective experience of women and instead focus on how gender is always shaped in dialogue with other factors of identity such as race, class, sexuality and nation,” said Kozol.
This divergence from traditional ideas of identity permeates this year’s events in lectures. Examples are the student-organized lecture delivered by poet-activist Leroy Franklin Moore, Jr. titled “From Police Brutality to Sexuality: People of Color with Disabilities in the Mix;” “The History of the National Association of Colored Women,” sponsored by the African American Studies department; and “The Bible, Postcolonialism and Gender” lecture series.
The combined effort among departments also extends to faculty and students in the form of research and activism.
“There are a lot of exciting projects about gender, sexuality and feminism on this year’s calendar of events,” said Kozol.
The International Women’s Day main event on Wednesday, March 8, a roundtable titled “Feminist Activism in the Age of U.S. Empire,” presented a forum for discussion on the many issues relating to women’s history and identity.
“[It is an opportunity to] explore not only what some questions are but also to raise questions about the possibilities and challenges for feminist activism,” said Kozol.
“I also consider this an opportunity to discuss with students and others feminism and activism in the current context of unending war driven by greed, fed by fear, racism, arrogance and ignorance,” said Frances Hasso, associate professor of gender and women’s studies and sociology.
Student collaboration, including GAWS Winter Term projects, has played a large role in this year’s Women’s History Month celebrations.
“This conference demonstrates the vitality and energies of students on
campus concerned with issues of access to reproductive rights, other health care
issues and concerns about sexual violence,” said Kozol.