“Revolutionary Women” is the theme of Wilkes University’s annual Women’s and Gender Studies Conference taking place on Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21 in the Henry Student Center. Hours for the conference, which is free and open to the public, are from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. The event includes 30 sessions with a focus on research, engagement and awareness. The conference is co-sponsored by King’s College, with students and faculty from King’s and Wilkes making presentations. The keynote address and screening will be at King’s, with all other events held at Wilkes.
The Wednesday, March 19 keynote presentation explores the issues of sexual violence on college campuses. Melinda Henneberger, political writer for the Washington Post and contributor to the Post’s “She the People” blog, will present a lecture “Revolution Needed: The Ongoing Wrong of Sexual Violence on College Campuses.” Henneberger’s lecture will focus on the culture that permits sexual violence and will be given at 7 p.m. in the Burke Auditorium, McGowan School of Business, at King's College.
Henneberger recently drew attention to the problem of sexual assault on college campuses by writing about the University of Notre Dame's attempts to bury reports of sexual assault perpetrated by its football players. She has had an extensive career as a political writer. Prior to her position at the Post, she was a reporter for The New York Times, where she worked for 10 years as a Washington correspondent and as the Rome bureau chief.
Presentations from 9:30 a.m to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday explore women’s issues and gender roles in education, the social sciences, literature and popular culture.
Conference highlights on Thursday, March 20:
Wilkes students Nicole Krappa and Hailee Politz, who will talk about women and equality in sports during their presentation from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. in the Savitz Lounge of the Wilkes Henry Student Center.
Wilkes professor of communication studies Jane Elmes Crahall will present an oratory of three pioneering 19th century suffragists who spoke on equal rights (Susan B. Anthony, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt). Author Laurie Lowenstein, an alum of the Wilkes graduate creative writing program, will also read from her novel Unmentionables, telling the story of Marian Elliot Adams, a fiercely independent advocate for women's rights, who travels with the early 20th century "Chautauqua circuit," promoting their message of "sensible undergarments for women."
Wilkes associate professor of education Robert S. Gardner and adjunct education faculty member Judith A. Gardner will discuss their work with two Parent Teacher Organizations, the mission of PTOs and the attitudes and roles of the members of these organizations in their presentation “Gender Roles in Parent Teacher Organizations in Two Professional Development Schools in Northeast Pennsylvania: Urban and Rural Perspectives.” The Gardner’s presentation is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the Miller Room.
The changes that opened doors for women in the 1960s and beyond will be discussed by a panel consisting of World War II female veterans along with Marica Balester, who directed the Wilkes Veteran’s Oral History Project, and Megan Boone Valkenberg, civic engagement coordinator at Wilkes. Attitudes, barriers and perceptions changed by the participation of women in the military will be discussed at this presentation from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Thursday in the Henry Student Center Ballroom.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday a screening of Maria Costa’s award-winning show, Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them: Live from the Kodak Theatre will be presented at Burke Auditorium, McGowan Hall, King’s College. Costa explores gender roles, relationships, cultural diversity and family dynamics. She co-wrote, co-produced, directs and stars in this inspirational and comedic one-woman production, which has sold out performances worldwide.
Highlights from the conference on Friday, March 21
Wilkes associate professor of English Mischelle Anthony and public safety officer Philip Miller will offer their perspective on working with the Wilkes-Barre community on intimate partner violence and the resistance they encounter when they present “Working Against a Culture of Violence: Empowering Everyone.” This presentation will be in the Wilkes Henry Student Center Ballroom from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
An interactive session with four Wilkes student teachers moderated by associate professor of education Gina Zanolini Morrison will explore gender biases in the classroom. Morrison will also moderate “Women and Girls in a Muslim Country” with six Wilkes student teachers who recently studied in Malaysia, a predominately Muslim country. Both discussions will be in the Miller Room from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Students from the Wilkes Manuscript Society and King’s Campion Literary Society will present original works of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction that celebrate the lives of women, their varied voices, experiences and visions of the world on Friday at 7 p.m. A reception will follow in the Wilkes Henry Student Center Ballroom.
For more information on the Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, please contact Jennifer Thomas, Wilkes associate professor of psychology, at email@example.com.