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Women's Studies at UAlbany Celebrates 35 Years
5th annual student conference commences year-long celebration of department

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

Nicole Wan, Tibisay Hernandez, and Joanelle Lusk

Original and classic feminist poetry from the last 35 years was featured in "Words of the Prophets," a performance by UAlbany undergraduate students that was directed by Janell Hobson, assistant professor of women's studies and a conference organizer. Shown here are student performers Nicole Wan, Tibisay Hernandez, and Joanelle Lusk.
(Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 29, 2006) -- The University at Albany's Department of Women's Studies will host The 5th Annual Women's Studies Student Conference with the theme "Looking Back, Moving Forward: Celebrating 35 Years of Women's Studies." The event marks the launch of a year-long celebration of the department, including a faculty exhibit of the department's history through the College of Arts and Sciences, and a Women's History Month lecture by renowned feminist scholar Beverly Guy-Sheftall, in the spring of 2007.

Janell Hobson, assistant professor of women's studies and a conference organizer, said, "Our department has reached an important benchmark. Thirty-five years ago, women raised their consciousness about gender and sexual justice, and a new generation of feminist scholars - myself included - and students are here because those women paved the way for us to teach in front of college classrooms, to gain tenure and promotions, and to earn college admissions, of which female students now make up a sizeable majority. We still have major struggles to contend with, and our annual student conference will address both historical and present-day concerns. We want to celebrate women's studies but also, we want to reflect on the ways in which we need to move forward."

Christine E. Bose, professor and department chair, said, "This event helps highlight the growth of our Department, the excellent scholarship that our faculty and students produce, and the strength of our student peer-teaching collective."

The student conference gets underway Thursday, Nov. 30, with an opening reception and a spoken-word/dance performance by undergraduate students, titled "Words of the Prophets," an arrangement of original and classic feminist poetry in the past 35 years, directed by Hobson. Undergraduate performers include Tibisay Hernandez, Joanelle Lusk, and Nicole Wan, with student Libby Becker serving as stage manager and costume designer for the show. Opening activities will take place in the University Art Museum, with the reception beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by the performance at 6 p.m.

The conference continues on Friday, Dec. 1, with presentations of graduate and undergraduate student papers and projects highlighting the theme of history and the study of women and gender. The conference will also host presenters from Le Moyne College and Syracuse University.

Local community activist Nadya Lawson, a University at Albany alumna and president of the Holding Our Own Women's Foundation will deliver the keynote address, "Minoring in Women's Studies, Majoring in Community," at noon.

The conference will close with an important roundtable discussion at 4 p.m., "War, Terror, and Rape: Looking Back and Moving Forward," which will address recent concerns about sexual violence on campus and place the issue in both historical and global contexts. Participants on the roundtable will include a cross-range of faculty, residential life staff, and local community advocates addressing sexual violence.

For information on the conference, visit 5th Annual Women's Studies Student Conference.

The annual student conference began in fall 2002 as a final project for the graduate seminar "Feminist Theory," in which students were expected to combine theory with practice and consider the conference format as a potential tool for activism and public education. It has continued each fall semester, highlighting different themes each year. This year's focus will call attention to the survival and growth of Women's Studies at the University at Albany and reflect on the impact of this field of study on the university and community at large.

The conference is sponsored by the departments of Women's Studies, Africana Studies, Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies, Art, English, History, and Sociology, University Auxiliary Services, Multicultural Affirmative Action, the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, and the Women's Studies GSO group, CATALYST. The organizers include Jeanine Hanna, a doctoral student in Sociology, Stacie Kryger, Victoria Russo and Leigh Vandebogart, all pursuing master's degrees in Women's Studies.

Visit the Department of Women's Studies Web site.


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