From November 15th – 19th, several members of the GSWS community attended the annual conference of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference marked the 40th anniversary both of the organization and the Combahee River Collective Statement, a pivotal text for the field.
GSWS Graduate Associate and graduate certificate student, Rachel Stonecipher was awarded the 2017 Lesbian Caucus Award at the conference. The award recognizes a graduate student whose masters thesis or doctoral dissertation focuses on lesbian lives, identities, or realities and makes a contribution to the fields of lesbian and sexuality studies. A fourth-year doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School, Stonecipher studies political theories and comparative ontologies of lesbian/queer womanhood and her work converses with black lesbian feminism, trans studies, and black queer studies. Her dissertation is entitled: “People Change: Fluidity, Difference, Gender, and Race in Lesbian/Queer Futurity.” Stonecipher also presented a paper at the conference examining the work of Carrie Mae Weems titled, “Narrative Disruption and the Desiring Gaze: What do you want from me?”
Two GSWS graduate certificate students, Melanie Hill and SaraEllen Strongman, received funding from the GSWS and APC to attend the conference. Hill presented a paper titled “Movements Move and Activists Activate: The Black Woman Preacher as Potter,” and also moderated a session. Strongman presented a paper titled “Black Feminism and Women’s Studies: Third World Women’s Demands on the NWSA,” as part of a panel that she organized titled Radical Black Women and Cultural Resistance in the 1970s and 1980s.
At the conference, GSWS Associate Director Gwendolyn Beetham transitioned from the Governing Council of the NWSA after two years serving as member-at-large. She attended a pre-conference session on gender, sexuality, and women’s studies field formation hosted by the Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies PhD Interest Group and also moderated several sessions, including: New Paradigms for Social Justice; Queer Ritual, Queer Gesture; and “Survival is a Promise”: A Workshop on Academic Self-Determination, which she co-organized with Lydia Kelow-Bennett of Brown University and the NWSA Women of Color Caucus.