SBAI Stories: “Studying gender and sexuality abroad: from Quito to Amsterdam” by Emily Radford

After my first gender studies course, I went through a sort of self-awakening about my gender, sexuality, race, class, and the variety of other identity factors that construct who we are and how we interact with the world and those around us. Although the University of Rochester offers a diverse and in-depth gender studies program, I decided to investigate a multitude of cultures to not only learn about my major, but to live it.

First Stop: Quito, Ecuador

Studying in Quito was unique for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I needed a language requirement of at least 4 semesters of college level Spanish for my program as an IES Abroad student. Because of this language barrier, what seemed to be just a class on gender and society became a complex web of listening closely and contemplating how I construct my language. Language barrier aside, the most intriguing thing about living in another culture and studying gender studies was the opportunity to see studies in a real-world context. During my gender studies class, which centered around gender, sexuality, the patriarchal structure of Latin American society, religion, and the concept of Ecuadorian feminism, I was surprised to discover that a lot of progressive practices were built off the feminism movement in the United States. Although rereading bell hooks in Spanish was entertaining, what intrigued me the most was delving into the current feminist Ecuadorian movement. Ecuador and a large portion of South America struggle with femicides. That is, killing a woman purely because she is a woman. During my time in Quito, I witnessed and discussed a political rally that raised awareness of this phenomenon which created solidarity for those who had been affected, and for those wanting to end violence against women.

During my gender studies class we also delved into the term machismo. This is essentially the Latin American version of hypermasculinity. As machismo is a common occurrence that endures even today, I unfortunately got to experience my lectures in a real-world setting. As a blonde, white woman, my appearance was evidently foreign and drew much male attention and unsolicited comments. Throughout discussing my experiences with others, I learned that a lot of the attention I received was because of my intersection of race and gender, and other students of different ethnicities or genders didn’t receive the same treatment. In combination with real world experience and lectures, I’ve grown to self-analyze my identity and conflicting privileges and oppressions, and how the combination of my race, gender, sexuality, social class, etc. affected my surrounding, and vice versa.

In all, Ecuador offered me a chance to combat stereotypical views of South American culture with academic lectures and real-world experiences. I had the opportunity to challenge fellow classmates in their viewpoints, and to challenge myself to analyze and strengthen my opinions and beliefs concerning the variety of topics that genders studies encompasses. Although taking classes abroad was rewarding, the most insightful part of living in Ecuador was experiencing the culture, observing others behavior, and realizing that people and cultures oftentimes do not align perfectly with your textbook.

 Current Stop: Amsterdam, Netherlands

This spring semester I am studying abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Before I left, I idealistically thought of Amsterdam as a liberal and essentially perfect city. Now that I’ve been through my first few weeks of classes and have delved into some of the realities of the city, I’ve found a variety of miscalculations within the utopia I previously assumed.

From my personal experiences as a queer woman, I’ve discovered that differing sexualities and genders are accepted, but the community for LGBTQ+ individuals in Amsterdam is more hidden. Since LGBTQ+ rights have been established since the early 2000s, many who identify as LGBTQ+ are integrated into the community, and don’t feel the need to publicly fight for their rights. I’ve met many people from the LGBTQ+ community that embrace this sense of normalcy. But after delving into readings and lectures from my favorite class (Intersectionality and the politics of difference) I’ve realized that this concept of “normal” is based off the heteronormative, white, cisgender, and privileged, sense of the word. I plan to further explore this notion of acceptance of sexuality and gender fluidity and the concept of wanting to fit into the cultural and often heteronormative construct of a “normal life” in my gender studies classes concerning intersectionality and the politics of difference, and gender studies in the context of Amsterdam.

Another interesting expression of sexuality resides in the red light district, where prostitution is legal and regulated. I’m aware most people view the concept of prostitution on opposite scales, as either oppressive or liberating. Yet I think these contrasting perceptions are based off illegal prostitution, which is unregulated and oftentimes dangerous. Later this semester I will tour the district with a former sex worker later in the semester and am thrilled at the opportunity to acquire knowledge and insight via hearing real world experiences instead of just reading a textbook.

I’ve also noticed I feel safe here because I am white, female, and queer, and those are accepted forms of identity. The most important factor in this equation is my whiteness—as the stereotypical European citizen is white and I do not stick out as someone who is “different”. On the other hand, I imagine Turkish and Moroccan immigrants here experience discrimination and a sense of othering, as there is a strong anti-immigration mindset in the Netherlands especially with the abovementioned groups, correlated with racism and the fear that other cultures will tarnish the Netherlands sense of utopia. Although my classes are mostly composed of all white students, I’ve noticed a lot of us check each other on making comments that are problematic or discriminatory. Today we had a discussion in which our professor made a comment about the gaze of an African American woman in an advertisement, calling her gaze passive. One student corrected her on her bias, stating that she may view a white woman as “stoic.”

Although it’s sometimes disheartening to examine inequalities and to break Amsterdam from the pedestal of perfection that I once held it to, it’s an important factor in uncovering truth and moving towards equality. I’m eager to learn more and challenge my sense of feminism, intersectionality, and gender studies as a whole. Thus far, my classes seem to be full of other students with strengths in different areas of gender studies, and this exposure to differing viewpoints will challenge us all to grow while experiencing the topic within a differing cultural background.

Emily Radford is an undergraduate student from the University of Rochester majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. You can read more about Emily’s experiences abroad in a blog for The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) study abroad website and, Emily’s personal blog on issues of intersectionality abroad

Posted in SBAI Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Message from the Directors

A Message from the Director and Interim Director of SBAI:

We, along with many of our colleagues, are deeply disturbed and dismayed by the allegations presented in the original EEOC complaint against the University of Rochester. Also disappointing, however, were some of the responses from the administration that suggested a lack of concern for both the systemic causes of the complaint as well as the processes with which to address them. Last week, members of the U of R faculty circulated a letter about governance and transparency, which was sent to President Seligman and the Campus Times. Through our teaching, research, and advocacy, SBAI will continue to work to address injustice and foster positive change at the U of R and in the broader community.

John Osburg, Interim Director of SBAI, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology
Nora Rubel, Director of SBAI, Jane and Alan Batkin Professor in Jewish Studies, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion & Classics

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SBAI Stories: “The Torso in Between Cultures” by Jiangtao (Harry) Gu

My first encounter with China’s gay community happened in a strictly non-academic setting. In the summer of 2010, when visiting with my family in Shanghai as a rising college sophomore, I was introduced to the city’s emerging gay scene by some American expats. On Saturday nights, we would go to Shanghai Studio, a dance club/art gallery converted from an underground shelter located at the intersection of Huaihai Zhong Lu and Xingguo Lu.There, we would find ourselves being surrounded by a mixed group of patrons conversing in English, Chinese, and sometimes French. Even though there had always been a strong presence of Westerners in Shanghai for as far as I could remember, especially in the area known as the former French Concession, the density of Studio’s international patrons made me wonder how exactly gay life and desires in Shanghai were influenced by its Western residents as well as the legacy of the city’s colonial past.

1950s Sino-Soviet Poster, Text reads ‘Long live the friendship between China and the Soviet Union.’

In anthropologist Lisa Rofel’s 2007 book Desring China, Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture, she links the “desiring subject” of gay men and lesbians in China with the country’s effort to overcome its socialist past in an ongoing search for what she calls “a novel cosmopolitan humanity.” According to Rofel, Chinese citizens’ enthusiasm in such desiring practices traversed the state, business, and everyday life, to “piece together disparate experiences of their transnational encounters to make themselves and China appear as if they were entering a wholly new, coherent era.” This identification with the post-Cold War world, however, was often ironically rejected by Westerners through their racially-charged distaste for the Chinese male body. Whereas the white male body is very much idealized in contemporary China as the prototype of masculinity and sexual attraction, the Chinese male body is thought to be weak, feminine, and unattractive.

Based on these initial observations, I conducted ethnographic research in Chinese urban centers such as Shanghai and Hong Kong in the summer of 2014 through a travel grant from the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. During my research, I obtained a residency at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and studied with Dr. Katrien Jacobs, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies, whose research interests include China’s internet culture and sexuality. The case of Hong Kong is interesting because unlike Shanghai, the city is arguably even more Westernized due to its century-long history of being a British colony. From my conversation with members of the local gay community, it seems many Hong Kong gay men are not only aware of the post-colonial discourses on body and sexuality but also devised ways to resist the colonization of their bodies and desires.

Jiangtao (Harry) Gu

At the time of my research, gay hookup apps such as Grindr and Jack’d just started to become popular in China. By looking at how users have represented themselves in such a digital space, I identified the torso shot to be a dominant genre of profile pictures used by both white and Chinese users. Aside from its anonymity, the torso also directs the viewer’s attention away from the face as the locus of one’s identity. I argued, by focusing on the chest and abs, the torso shot fragmented the body in the same way that the architectural features of public bathhouses such as glory holes and cruising maze have broken up gay men’s bodies into sensuous and pleasurable parts. Precisely because it is difficult to distinguish the Chinese from the while body without the face pic, the torso shot not only offered privacy to those who do not feel comfortable coming out in such a digital space, but also constructed a common queer body in between cultures and mitigated the racial differences experienced in every aspect of social and intimate life. Even though I eventually came to doubt the possibility of building solidarity and political alliances around the queer body, my research experience in Hong Kong nonetheless gave me the opportunity to put my initial interests in context.

Jiangtao (Harry) Gu is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. His research sits at the intersection of Chinese visual culture and postcolonial historiography. He also holds an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Digital Humanities. His dissertation, entitled China in Prospects:Photographing Empire to Nation State, 1856-1912, probes the early history of photography in China, and examines the medium’s relation with Chinese nationalism. He has received multiple awards and grants including a fellowship to attend the Flaherty Seminar, a Dissertation Proposal and Development Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, a best student paper prize from the Association for Asian Studies, and research fundings from the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as Fisher Center for the Study of Men and Women. 

Posted in SBAI Stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

SBAI Stories: My SBAI research grant by Serenity Sutherland

Scientist and reformer Ellen Richards (1842-1911) worked during the early Progressive Era in the sciences. She was the first woman to graduate from and teach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Interested in chemistry, Richards practiced science prolifically, including mineralogy, hydrology, sanitary science, nutrition and home economics. Richards also worked tirelessly to bring scientific opportunities to women, ranging from professional women with careers to housewives and mothers. For Richards, science – particularly chemistry – was the best tool for understanding life both in and outside of the home. At a time when science was becoming institutionalized and departmentalized in academic and research institutions, Richards published pamphlets, self-help books and how-to manuals to educate women and encourage their professional and educational development outside of institutional boundaries. Her attention to scientific principles established home economics within politics and culture by instituting home economics classes in schools and universities. In her published writings where she argued for the importance of home economics in day schools and Universities, Richards emphasized the home as a perfect laboratory for daily scientific work.

Richards’ work in home economics offers a glimpse into the culturally conceived boundary of public and private as what counted as “scientific” passed porously through public and private spaces. My dissertation explores this overlap between public and private by looking at Richards’s personal letters, published books and articles,  and the papers of organizations Richards’s helped to start and/or contributed to, such as the American Collegiate Association (ACA), today the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Women’s Educational Association.

Unfortunately, there is no single comprehensive archive of Richards’s letters, although there are small collections at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vassar College and Smith College. In order to find a significant amount of material on her life, I had to triangulate multiple archival holdings of her friends and acquaintances who often held letters from her to them, and sometimes their responses. These included the Marion Talbot papers at the University of Chicago, the Isabel Bevier papers at the University of Illinois-Champaign, the Melvil Dewey papers at Columbia University, the Edward Atkinson papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the ACA Papers at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard.

Having the resources to travel to these collections was one of the main reasons why I was successful in finishing the project. On nearly every research trip I was able to receive partial or full funding from the Susan B. Anthony Institute’s research grant. Having access to the multiple collections helped me delve into the many aspects of Richards’s life – her role as an academic, a wife, a scientist and a reformer. Beyond research money, SBAI employing me as an adjunct for the course “Feminism, Gender and Health.” Working with SBAI students and faculty also helped enrich my dissertation. If it wasn’t for all the support I received – both financially and intellectually – I am certain I would not have been a recipient of a 2017 SBAI Dissertation Award.

Serenity Sutherland is a former PhD from the University of Rochester’s History Department. She has a B.A. in History & English/Creative Writing from Binghamton University and a B.S. in Environmental Management & Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from SBAI and was granted with the SBAI Graduate Research grant in several occasions during her time at the University of Rochester. Her dissertation Discovering Science for Women: The Life of Ellen Swallow Richards, 1842-1911, was awarded the Susan B. Anthony Dissertation Award in 2017. She is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at SUNY Oswego


Posted in SBAI Stories | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

William Cheng to present SBAI’s 2017 Rainbow Lecture

Poster for Rainbow Lecture "Locker room talk: pussies, guns, and video gaymers". The poster features a screen shot from a video game in which we have a first person view of a hand holding a rainbow bat inscribed with the text "I like men" in a dingy, artificially lit space with a locker, and with a calendar on the wall with a pin-up-esque woman pictured.The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (SBAI) at the University of Rochester welcomes Dr. William Cheng, Assistant Professor of Music from Dartmouth College, to present our 2017 Rainbow Lecture on Thursday, April 13th at 5:00pm in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. Free parking is available in Library Lot. Follow our Facebook event page here for updates and details.

The Rainbow Lecture was inaugurated in 2012 by the SBAI to address LGBTQ+ topics from an academic perspective. It is presented annually during LGBTQI Awareness Month at the University of Rochester and has been funded by the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The Rainbow Lecture is always open to the public and each year our fantastic speakers help us strengthen support for further LGBTQ+ programming at the University.

Image of William Cheng, 2017 speaker for SBAI's annual Rainbow Lecture

William Cheng (Dartmouth)

Cheng’s lecture is titled: “Locker Room Talk: Pussies, Guns, and Video Gaymers”, and will offer critical reflections on how verbal barbs and virtual barbarities in online gameworlds scramble the fieldworker’s moral compass. With an ear toward matters of masculinity, surveillance, shame, and activism, Cheng asks whether a video game ethnography—maybe any ethnography—activates a queer ethics, a flux of guiding principles defined precisely by their playful indefinition

Cheng was chosen to present the 2017 Rainbow Lecture by a group of faculty associates of the SBAI. Cheng is Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College where he teaches music, media, and ethics, with a focus on sound, politics, and power. Drawing on a wide range of influences, including queer theory, disability studies, and affect theory, Cheng offers scholarship that is innovative, accessible to multiple audiences, and that blends the critical with the personal.

His books include “Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2014), Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good (University of Michigan Press, 2016, recipient of the AMS Philip Brett Award and named a 2016 Book of the Year by Times Higher Education), All the Beautiful Musicians (f. Oxford, supported by Harvard’s William F. Milton Fund), Touching Pitch: Dirt, Debt, Color (f. Michigan), and the edited volume Queering the Field (f. Oxford, with Gregory Barz).”

Past Rainbow Lecture speakers are:


Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
“State Secrets, Gay Marriage, and The Morning-After Pill: Conscience in the Age of Corporate Religious Freedom”

Ann Pellegrini, New York University
“Protesting Death, Queer Mourning”

Kristen Renn, University of Michigan
“Creating Environments for LGBTQ College Student Success”

Rev. Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
“Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit”

William Eskridge, Jr., Yale University Law School
“The Long Road to Marriage Equality, 1970-2012 and Beyond”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SBAI’s 24th Graduate Conference: On the Voice

Join us for the 24th Annual SBAI International Graduate Research Conference “On the Voice: Identity, Difference, Expression” on Friday, March 31, 2017.

This conference asks: “what is voice and in what ways does it shape our identity?”, and will discuss the nature of voice in relation to issues of gender, sexuality, race, disability, and will featuring SBAI’s annual Susan B. Anthony Keynote lecture at 1:45pm.

Our 2017 Susan B. Anthony Lecture will be delivered by Tavia Nyong’o, Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater Studies at Yale University.

The lecture is titled: “Decrypting Blackness: Assotto Saint with Gilles Deleuze”. Amidst current controversies over the re-circulation of images of black suffering and death in social media and in the public sphere, the activist and aesthetic strategies of black gay men during the first wave of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s increasingly stand out as a potent historical lesson. These strategies of activist art in poetry, music, video and film, performance, and protest anticipated contemporary polemics around social death and structural antagonism, while offering an alternative queer lineage and futurity for the necropolitics that dominates our contemporary moment. Through a contrapuntal reading of the black queer visual and video strategies of Assotto Saint (1957-1994) and Marlon Riggs (1957—1994) on the one hand, and a strand of “dark” Deleuzean theorizing, on the other, this talk will propose a model of “decrypting blackness” that attends the radical force of negativity that is immanent to all forms of black social practice.


****MEDIATING VOICES 9:05–10:15****

“Puppet Voices: Transforming Everyday Relationality in Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Anomalisa'”
Amy Skjerseth (University of Chicago)

“Speak for Yourself: Representation in Ethnography and Art”
Gwendolyn Shaw (CUNY)

Moderator: Santiago Morice, English, University of Rochester

****FIGURING THE VOICE 10:30–11:50****

“A Point of Resistance: Discourse and Voice in Alison Bechdel’s ‘Fun Home'”
Caitlyn Parker (Radford University)

“Gender on West African Stages: The Embodiment of Female Voices in New Theater”
Heather Denyer (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

“Disability, Voice, and Autobiographical Exclusion in J.M. Coetzee’s ‘Foe'”
Valerie O’Brien (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

Moderator: Harry Gu, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester

****KEYNOTE LECTURE 1:45-3:15****

****VOICING HISTORY 3:25–4:45****

“Beyond Choice to Reproductive Justice: Abortion Narratives as Objects of Feminist Attachment”
Emily O’Brien (Miami University Ohio)

“The ‘Elsewhere’ of Women’s Writing: Critical Responses to the Discourses of Female Conduct in Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar'”
Kelley Nickell (Radford University)

“The Modern Odalisque: Portraiture, Identity, and Art Collecting ”
Tobah Aukland-Peck (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

“Since I Have Turned Authorness: Print Culture and Personal Narrative in Mrs. J. W. Likins’s ‘Six Years Experience as a Book Agent in California'”
Adam Q. Stauffer (University of Rochester)

Moderator: R.E. Fulton, History, University of Rochester

Sponsored by: the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Department of Art and Art History, University of Rochester Film and Media Studies Program, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Rochester, University of Rochester – AS&E Graduate Student Association, Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, University of Rochester Philosophy Department, Musicology Department, Eastman School of Music

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WHM Film Series: “Born in Flames”

We are proud to co-sponsor the visit to Rochester of filmmaker Lizzie Borden as part of our Women’s History Month celebrations.

Her visit will include both a screening of BORN IN FLAMES (1983) at The Little Theatre and an artist talk at University of Rochester Humanities Center.

BORN IN FLAMES (1983) will be screened at The Little Theatre on Sunday, March 26th at 6:00pm as the closing film of our Women’s History Month Film Series 2017.

Lizzie Borden’s legendary feminist science-fiction film will be sreened in 35mm with a gorgeous recently preserved print by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

This 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy. The plot concerns two feminist groups in New York City, each voicing their concerns to the public by pirate radio. One group, led by an outspoken white lesbian, Isabel (Adele Bertei), operates “Radio Ragazza”. The other group, led by a soft-spoken African-American, Honey (Honey), operates “Phoenix Radio.” The local community is stimulated into action after a world-traveling political activist, Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), is arrested upon arriving at a New York City airport, and suspiciously dies while in police custody.

This screening is presented with community partners ImageOut andWAYO 104.3 FM. It will be inrtoduced by Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Gender and Women’s Studies at the College of Brockport and a discussion will follow the screening with with:

• Filmmaker, Lizzie Borden
• Almudena Escobar Lopez, PhD student from the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester, Board member at Girls Rock! Rochester.
Shermeeka Mason, Science Fiction Author, Creator of Black Girl with Glasses (Black culture and politics blog), and Programmer at WAYO 104.3 FM.

Tickets will be $5 for the general public and FREE for students with ID, available at the box office and

The series is sponsored by Humanities New York Action Grant and is co-presented by The Little Theatre, WXXI, and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 Distinguished Visiting Humanist: Wendy Doniger

The University of Rochester’s Distinguished Visiting Humanist for the 2016-17 academic year is Professor Wendy Doniger, who will be in residence from Wednesday, March 22 through Friday, March 24, 2017.

As a humanist whose longtime work sits at the crossroads of religion, anthropology, linguistics, and gender studies, Wendy Doniger has influenced generations of scholars over the past 45 years. Her work has highlighted the often messy collision of religion, science, and politics–an intersection that is of immediate concern for scholars today. During her time here, Doniger will discuss this intersection and will share insights about her professional pursuits and her personal life as a scholar. She will also talk about her experiences relating to the publication of her controversial book: The Hindus: An Alternative History (2009).

*Events are free and open to the public. Follow the Facebook event page here.*

—————-WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017—————

• 5:00 pm
The Subversion of Religion by Science in Ancient India, and The Subversion of Science by Religion in Contemporary India (Hawkins-Carlson Room)

• 6:15pm
Reception (Humanities Center)

—————-THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017—————-

• 11:00 am
Office hours (Humanities Center Conference Room C)

• 4:00 pm
Life of Learning: How My Mother (who died in 1991) Prepared Me to Confront Hindu Fundamentalists in 2010 (Hawkins-Carlson Room)

More about Doniger:
Wendy Doniger has taught at the University of Chicago since 1978 in the Divinity School, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. She is an extremely accomplished scholar of Sanskrit texts, mythology, and Hindu religious traditions who has particularly explored sexuality in myth and religion. Her work addresses literature, law, gender, and zoology, as well as cross-cultural themes such as death, dreams, and evil.

Wendy Doniger is the author of seventeen interpretive studies and many more translations and other publications, including the prize-winning The Hindus: An Alternative History (2010), as well as the acclaimed Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva (1973). Doniger holds seven honorary degrees, including one from Harvard, where she received her undergraduate and graduate training. She also holds a DPhil from Oxford University. She has been president of the American Academy of Religion and the Association for Asian Studies. Among her many honors and awards, the 2008 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion is especially notable.

More about the Distinguished Visiting Humanist Program:

These events are supported by: the Humanities Center, the Office of the President, and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Women’s History Month Film Series 2017

Join the Susan B. Anthony Institute in celebrating Women’s History Month with a collection of five $5.00 documentary and narrative films about trailblazing women during the month of March! All films are free for students with an ID. The series runs from 3/5/2017-3/26/2017.

Special speakers, including local educators and women’s right advocates, will lead audience discussion after most of the films. See individual film details below, by visiting our website, or by following the Facebook event page.

The series is sponsored by Humanities New York Action Grant and is co-presented by The Little Theatre, WXXI, and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

SONITA (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, 2015)

If 18-year old Sonita had a say in things, Michael Jackson would be her father and Rihanna her mother. She captures her dream of being a famous rapper in her scrapbook. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. There, Sonita, a refugee from Afghanistan, gets counseling for the traumas she has suffered and guidance in shaping her future. Her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she’s worth $9,000. What’s more, women aren’t allowed to sing in Iran. How can Sonita still succeed in making her dreams come true?

This screening is presented with community partner Girls Rock! Rochester.

CITY OF JOY (Madeleine Gavin, 2016)

This documentary tells the story of center for healing called City of Joy, in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where women who have suffered violence and the most unimaginable abuse are cared for and learn to rise above their circumstances. The film also explores the relationships between Dr. Denis Mukwege (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), radical playwright and activist Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monolgoues”) and human rights activist – and Director of “City of Joy” – Christine Schuler-Deschryver as they create a place of peace amidst the civil war of Eastern DRC.

This screening is presented with community partner Willow Domestic Violence Center of Greater Rochester and a discussion will follow the screening lead by Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Gender and Women’s Studies at the College of Brockport.

SUNDAY, MARCH 12th at 3:00PM

With a blast of brassy jazz and a spin through the glitz of modern Las Vegas, award-winning director Rama Rau’s documentary League of Exotique Dancers sets the stage for a provocative and eye-opening “backstage tour” of the golden age of Burlesque through the colorful lives of unforgettable women who made it glitter. It peels off the layers of glitter to expose the sexism, racism and widespread stigma faced by Burlesque striptease performers and, indeed, the wider array of working women in that tumultuous era. Illuminated by rare, never-before-seen, archival material, League of Exotique Dancers is all about its characters. Intimate interviews—held in homes and former haunts, filled with humour and heartbreak, reveal what keeps these formers stars busy today: driving a hearse, running marathons, designing flannel nightgowns, a hypnotherapy practice . . . they’re still full of surprises!

This screening is presented with community partners Pretty Kitties Burlesque and Skylark Lounge. A discussion will follow the screening with Linda Moroney, Documentary Filmmakers and film series programmer, Rama Rau, director of “League of Exotique Dancers” and Ed Barreveld, producer of the film.

After party with a performance by Pretty Kitties Burlesque at Skylark lounge starting at 6pm.

SUNDAY, MARCH 19th at 3:00PM

This seminal film tells the story of two women with opposing political views fighting for their different versions of a democratic future for Tunisia, the country that sparked the Arab Spring. Over the course of Tunisia’s critical post-revolution years, we follow journalist Emna Ben Jemaa, who envisions a country governed by free speech and without the corruption of the former regime.

In contrast, Jawhara Ettis of the Islamist party Ennahda works towards a Tunisia guided by Islamic principles. On a public level, both women must navigate how females are treated in their society, while in their own homes they must make difficult choices to balance their public political roles with marriage and motherhood. Both know the stakes are high. The ever-present threat of Islamic extremists means their fragile political process could break down and all they’ve worked for could be lost.

A discussion will follow the screening moderated by Ilka Datig, Head of Instruction and Outreach at the Lorette Wilmot Library at Nazareth College.

BORN IN FLAMES (Lizzie Borden, 1983)
SUNDAY, MARCH 26th at 6:00PM

We are proud to screen a 35mm print preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

This 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy. The plot concerns two feminist groups in New York City, each voicing their concerns to the public by pirate radio. One group, led by an outspoken white lesbian, Isabel (Adele Bertei), operates “Radio Ragazza”. The other group, led by a soft-spoken African-American, Honey (Honey), operates “Phoenix Radio.” The local community is stimulated into action after a world-traveling political activist, Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), is arrested upon arriving at a New York City airport, and suspiciously dies while in police custody.

This screening is presented with community partners ImageOut andWAYO 104.3 FM.

The film will be introduced by

Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Gender and Women’s Studies at the College of Brockport

and a discussion will follow the screening with with

• Born in Flames Director, Lizzie Borden
• Almudena Escobar Lopez, PhD student from the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester, Board member at Girls Rock! Rochester
• Shermeeka Mason, Science Fiction Author, Creator of Black Girl with Glasses (Black culture and politics blog), and Programmer at WAYO 104.3 FM.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Undergraduate Conference for Gender, Sexuality, Women’s Studies

Celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s birthday at SBAI’s annual Undergraduate Research Conference featuring presentations by students nominated for their remarkable work in Gender, Sexuality, and/or Women’s Studies.

Our 2017 keynote speaker is Douglas Crimp, Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History, Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies. Crimp will discuss his recently published book “Before Pictures”. Part biography and part cultural history, this book tells the story of Crimp’s life as a young gay man and art critic in New York City during the late 1960s through the turbulent 1970s.


8:45am Poster Session and coffee
Joseph Glick & Andrew Tarbox
“Using Taskscape to Contextualize Gender Role in an Italian Alpine Community: An Exploration Through Photovoice”

Chiziterem Onyekwere
“The Association Between Masculinity and Handshakes within the Young Adult Population”

Hannah Tompkins
“Male Construction of the Amazon Myth”

Eibhlin Regan
“Coalition for Pay Equity”

Alex White
“Liminal: Performance Art as Transgender Expression”

Annabelle Taylor
“Am I My Boyfriend’s Keeper? Gender Disparities in Christian Sex Education”

Anna Alden
“A Study in Irene Adler: the Fluid Performance of Victorian Gender Ideals”

Julia Rosenbaum
“The Responsibility of a Feminist in a Technological Age”

Sophia McRae & Martissa Williams
“ATTN: MEN – Opinion Needed”

Keynote and Lunch
with Douglas Crimp, Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History, Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies

Madeline Bove
“A Discussion of How Diamonds and Masculinity Intersect”

Nicola Tavella
“No Fats, No Femmes: How Eating Disorders Thrive in Contemporary Queer Male Culture”

Mahima Joshi
“‘How I Learned to Drive’: A Play about Coping”

Najia Khaled & Cheyenne Watkins
“Stud, Butch, Dyke, Femme: Lesbian Self-identification by Race”

Amber Hudson
“Black Girl Magic: Beyoncé’s ‘Formation'”

Henry Hawthorn
“Hito Steyerl and the Contemporary World”

Rhea Shinde
“Female Feticide in India, A Study of Historical and Cultural Context”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment