Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

This weekend the Sarah Lawrence community will be celebrating Women’s History Month with our 13th Annual Women’s History Month Conference, Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference.  Friday, the conference opens with a plenary featuring Marilyn Wann (author of Fat! So?) then a Night of Spoken Word featuring Maria James-Thiaw and Lara Frater, plus other artists: Ms. MaDonna Awotwi a.k.a. Sankofa the Poet, Jennifer Bartlett, Andrea Baker, Sheila Black, Shaashawn Dial, & David Wolach.

flier by Kate Wadkins | illustration by Cristy Road

A full conference schedule can be found here.

— Kate Wadkins

Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities

women-who-rock-e-flyer1

Jamie Varriale Velez and I are participating in this great conference this week in Seattle. We’re on a “DIY Media” panel at the University of Washington/Seattle University’s Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities conference. Here’s a blurb about what we’ll be talking about:

“Disassemble it and dialogue with me”: Communication as Punk Feminist Cultural Activism

Using our experiences within the New York City DIY/Punk feminist community, we argue that learning to communicate effectively, both interpersonally and through media like music, blogs and zines, is the activism that produces the change that we want. Learning to communicate requires us to listen to each other and expand our cultural vernacular, bringing previously marginalized voices into a new narrative and changing the way we think. This process of learning to dialogue respectfully and productively does more than merely facilitate our feminist work; it is our feminist work.

Our presentation shares how this work has enabled us to organize and contribute to our communities, and create feminist art and spaces.

Facilitators: Jamie Varriale Velez, Kate Wadkins

DIY MEDIA panel
10am – 12noon

at Seattle University
901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Bldg/Room: Administration 321

For more info: University of Washington & Women Who Rock Research Project

We are among other great folks, too, so please see the full conference schedule here.

— Kate Wadkins

BREAKING BOUNDARIES conference schedule announced

BREAKING BOUNDARIES: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference
A Conference at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York (15 minutes north of Manhattan)

Friday – Saturday March 4 – 5, 2011
Free and Open to the Public
Keynote Speaker: Marilyn Wann Fat Activist and Author of Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty.

What are the dominant narratives and perceptions about beauty and bodies? How do these perceptions affect public policy around issues of health, civil rights, education, and accessibility? How do those whose bodies do not fit into the “proper” cultural norms challenge attitudes, laws, and perceptions? How have they negotiated for and found power in unwelcoming environments, both now and in the past? How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and disability complicate prevailing ideas about embodiment? Are there and have there been communities and cultures that have welcomed those whose bodies are currently perceived as deviant in dominant popular discourse? And what is the relationship between promoting and continuing the dominant discourse and capitalist consumer culture? This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies.

Preliminary Schedule
(subject to change)
Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center. Continue reading

Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck

illustration by Cristy Road

by Kate Wadkins

In sync with Sarah Lawrence’s recent call for papers for 2011’s Women’s History Conference, I am syndicating my review of the plenary panel from this year’s The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More with RE/VISIONIST (it is also currently published in this year’s Women’s History newsletter). Specifically Ngo and Nguyen’s papers, in the context of the Conference at large, really inspired me to pursue my thesis work on masculinities in punk rock. Watching other scholars dare to take on pop culture subjects like music gave me hope and certainty that cultural production is worthy of an historical treatment.

This article is also timely as it preempts the publication of International Girl Gang Underground, a compilation zine about the way riot grrrl has influenced punk feminist cultural production over the past twenty years. Nguyen’s early iteration of her paper, “Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy” or “Race, Riot Grrrl, Bad Feelings” will be included in the zine, nestled in among scene reports and personal stories from all over the world.

“I quit punk like 8 times,” Mimi Nguyen confessed to a full auditorium at Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference: The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More, recollecting her contentious relationship with punk rock. As the first panel of the morning opened up, the groggy, packed audience, comprised of women of all ages and ilk, quickly awoke to Nguyen’s sharp wit and powerful presence. For the plenary panel, Fiona Ngo and Mimi Nguyen, both assistant professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, discussed grassroots punk scenes and their internal racial dynamics. A third panelist, Sarah Lawrence alum Christa D’Angelica, presented on what she termed a “second wave” of riot grrrl that traversed from zine[1] pages to dial-up modems in the late 1990s. Continue reading

Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Breaking Boundaries:
Body Politics and the Dynamics of Difference

a Conference at Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York
March 4-5, 2011

Keynote Speaker:
Marilyn Wann
Fat Activist and Author, Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty. This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies. Continue reading

For the Birds Collective Presents: The 5th Annual BIG SHE-BANG

Many of us RE/VISIONIST staffers are excited to announce our involvement in the 5th Annual BIG SHE-BANG. Editor Rosamund Hunter and myself (Web Editor) are both active members of For the Birds, the organizing collective that presents the Big She-Bang. Public Relations Manager Nydia Swaby will be speaking on a panel about Youth & Media, regarding her experience teaching young girls African-American history at Girls for Gender Equity. Even contributors Lauren Denitzio and Stephanie Land are part of it! Click through for a press release with all the information on the event. Continue reading

Carmen Ashhurst Discusses the Music Industry

Photo by Rosamund Hunter

This year’s keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Women’s History Conference was Carmen Ashhurst, former president of Def Jam Records and Rush Communications.  Ashhurst’s invaluable perspectives on the music industry gave her an eager audience for the conference’s theme, “The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music, and More.”

Ashhurst worked alongside Russell Simmons before the commercial explosion of hip-hop in the early 1990s.  A former political activist in Grenada, she began working in the music industry at a time when it was more radical and subversive.

Ashhurst’s talk was rooted in the belief that hip-hop’s most popular acts now foster sexist, racist images and that much of the successful rap music today represents a “profound racial self-hatred.”  She emphasized that she and other women executives lost control as hip-hop became more popular and marketed to a mass audience.  Ashhurst asserted, “The music business is about selling music, not making music.” Continue reading