HomeSocial JusticePioneering Black Feminist Scholar to Keynote WGS Conference

Pioneering Black Feminist Scholar to Keynote WGS Conference

The 2024 Women’s & Gender Studies Conference — “Continuities, Ruptures, Resurgences: Still in Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens” — will take place on campus on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, 2024. The conference will have two plenaries, with multiple speakers, and will feature a keynote address by Beverly Guy-Sheftall, founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Comparative Women’s Studies at Spelman College.

The conference is being organized by a robust team of faculty, staff, and students, led by three co-chairs: Siobhan Carter-David, associate professor of history; Sobeira Latorre, professor of world languages and literatures; and Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

The entire conference is held in the School of Business Building (10 Wintergreen Avenue) except the keynote program, on Friday, which takes place in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. See the SCSU interactive map here.

The WGS Conference offers a critical space and place for a two-day inquiry across differences and communities into the intersections of gender, race, communities, and institutions. For three decades, since 1991, the feminist collective at SCSU has been hosting continuously conferences that reach across communities and bring together activists, academics, artists, and feminist practitioners from diverse backgrounds for a feminist feast.

In outlining the themes of the conference, its call for proposals said, “Five decades after the publication of Alice Walker’s womanist essays “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” her eponymous essay (originally published in 1972) continues to be a beckon call, a vision for those of us engaged in feminist studies and intersectional justice work: ‘Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength – in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.'”

The consideration of the conferences themes continued, “In the half-century since the publication of the essay, have we found our own? Although we have seen a significant body of feminist literary, theoretical, and artistic expressions, the search for our mothers’ gardens – and our own – continues to be challenged and fraught with pushbacks, setbacks, ruptures, and starts here and there again. As academic fields like women’s and gender studies, Black studies, Latinx, and LGBTQIA2S+ studies are targeted and attacked, humanities and higher education are at a crisis point. While we celebrate milestones and triumphs of what Steinem and others call ‘the feminist century’ (with waves of turning 50: Women’s & Gender Studies, Stonewall, Hip Hop), we also experience the violence of Roe v. Wade being undone. Indeed, the tension between celebrating our triumphs while remaining committed to the work that is necessary in the face of unprecedented challenges is that crux.”

Read more about the 2024 conference and register

View the conference schedule

Friday, April 19 Keynote: Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College.  For many years she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies, where she taught graduate courses in women’s studies.  At the age of 16, she entered Spelman College, where she majored in English and minored in secondary education.  After graduating with honors, she attended Wellesley College for a fifth year of study in English.  In 1968, she entered Atlanta University to pursue a master’s degree in English; her thesis was entitled, “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.”  A year later she began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1971 she returned to her alma mater, Spelman College, and joined the English Department.  Beverly Guy-Sheftall has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University.

She has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies that have been noted as seminal works by other scholars, including the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges:  Visions of Black Women in Literature (Doubleday, 1980), which she co-edited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith; her dissertation, Daughters of Sorrow:  Attitudes Toward Black Women, 1880-1920 (Carlson, 1991); Words of Fire:  An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought (New Press, 1995); an anthology she co-edited with Rudolph Byrd entitled Traps:  African American Men on Gender and Sexuality (Indiana University Press, 2001); a book co-authored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gender Talk:  The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities (Random House, 2003); an anthology, I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, co-edited with Rudolph P. Bryd and Johnnetta B. Cole (Oxford University Press, 2009); an anthology, Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies (Feminist Press, 2010), with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster. Her most recent publication (SUNY Press, 2010) is an anthology co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole, Who Should Be First:  Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign. In 1983 she became founding co-editor of Sage:  A Scholarly Journal of Black Women, which was devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent. She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).

Opening Plenary: Friday, April 19, 1-2:15 p.m.

“Decolonize, Indigenize, Resurge: Rematriation and Liberation”

Jeremiah Feathered Wolf Craggett (Cherokee and Mashantucket)
Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora)

Clan Mother Shoran Waupatukuay Piper (Golden Hill Paugussett)
Ruth Garby Torres (Schaghticoke)
Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora)
Souksavanh Keovorabouth (Diné)

Madi Day (Murri)

Closing Plenary: Saturday, April 20, 3:15-4:30 p.m.

“Claiming Our Roots as Resurgences: A Dialogue on Spiritual Ruptures and Continuities”

Maria Hamilton Abegunde (Indiana University)
Heidi Renée Lewis, NWSA President, 2023-2025 (Colorado College)
Marianela Medrano, Independent Scholar, Poet, Psychologist

Siobhan Carter-David, Southern Connecticut State University
Sobeira Latorre, Southern Connecticut State University

Learn more about the Women’s and Gender Studies Department


Most Popular