For those of us no longer ensconced in the world of academia but who want the opportunity to have thought-provoking discussions on gender and sexuality the annual Lewis and Clark Gender Studies Symposium is the perfect opportunity. This three day exploration, now in its 31st year (whoa, that’s a long time, longer than I’ve been alive) takes place this Wednesday through Friday. (Complete schedule linked below)
The 2012 theme is Objection! Gender, Sex, Law and Social Change and the opening day features keynotes by Rafia Zakaria, attorney, writer and human rights activist entitled “Muslim women, Sharia law and the Politics of Divorce” and Pamela D. Bridgewater’s “The new ‘PC’: Popular Culture, Technology and a 21st Century Framework for Reproductive Rights and Activism.” These 2 very different topics are both extremely relevant, especially in light of the recent hubbub surrounding the erosion of women’s reproductive rights around the United States and the misogynistic comments of Rush Limbaugh on the subject.
Thursday’s keynotes are equally provocative: “Invisible Crimes, Inadequate Remedies: Uncovering Police Profiling and Brutality Against Women and LGBTQ People of Color” by Andrea Ritchie, police misconduct attorney and activist and “Changing Families, Contested Values: The Evolution of Family Law and Policy, 1992-2012.” Linda McClain, Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar, Boston University School of Law.
Many of the workshops also seem intriguing with my personal picks being Wednesday morning’s Workshop: “Blurred Boundaries: Creating Space for Trans Identities,” facilitated by Chloe Flora, L&C ’08 and L&C groundskeeper, and Amari Fauna, trans-feminist activists and a roundtable on “The Future of LGBT Mental Health and Rights” with Moderator Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell, L&C Associate Professor of Psychology.
For a particularly disturbing and locally focused session there is Thursday’s “Sex Trafficking of Minors in the Pacific Northwest” with Moderator: Joslyn Baker, collaboration specialist, Multnomah County Department of Community Justice and a comprehensive roundup of participants including:
Masayo Halpin, FBI special agent
Lynn Haxton, attorney, Youth, Rights & Justice
Patti MacRae, coordinator, Janus Youth Programs
Diane McKeel, Multnomah County Commissioner
Rebecca Cook, advocate, Sexual Assault Resource Center
Kathy Kroeger, interview specialist, CARES Northwest
For some workshops a little less heavy and a little more fun I recommend “Real to Reel: Gender on Film” with Moderator: Bryan Sebok, L&C Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies and participants Jarratt Taylor, L&C ‘02 and documentary filmmaker, The New Debutantes, Michael Roberson, Portland-based filmmaker, director of Rossum, and Brooks Nelson, Portland-based filmmaker, director of Minor Concessions, “Metaphorical Monsters of French Literature” with moderator: Claudia Nadine, L&C Associate Professor with term of French, or, finally, “Radical Domesticity: A Craftivism Workshop,” facilitated by L&C seniors Stephanie Levine and Kathryn Kucera which aims to “reclaim The New Domesticity, [as] part of American culture or counter-culture” with the added bonus of turning that crafting theory into practice by making journals using recycled materials. (How Portland is that?)
For those of you who are still more interested in the art and performance of gender rather than the intellectual inquiry there are still things for you to check out as well. Throughout the event there is an art show with work from L&C contributors as well as Portland area artists in the Stamm Dining Room that has been curated by students Katherine Landerholm, L&C ‘12 and Sula Willson, L&C ’12.
Then on Saturday night you can close out the conference right with live musical performances by Glitterfruit, a campy musical duo; Lynx, a multi-instrumentalist, beat-boxer, singer songwriter; and Tender Forever, a passionate performing artist and pop music maker.