Announcement: Women’s and Gender Studies Conference Today and Tomorrow!

Today and tomorrow, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies presents “The Feeling Body—Feeling the Body, ” the 20th Annual Emerging Scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies Conference. This graduate student run conference offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to share their research on issues in women’s, gender, and/or sexuality studies. The theme of this year’s conference addresses the relationship between feminist theory,  affect, and the body.

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The following comes to us from the conference program:

Affect is an emerging new direction in feminist theory, generating fascinating conversations around the role of the body and feeling in producing knowledge. How are other disciplines writing about and engaging with affect? How might this new direction shift how we think about the role of the body in academic research? The panelists will examine these topics, exploring the ways in which the body shapes knowledge.

The conference will feature a keynote address on Friday at 3:30p.m. by Dr. Ann Cvetkovich (Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at UT) in the SAC Ballroom.

Also, be sure to check out our AMS grad students presenting at this year’s conference! Masters student Tynisha Scott will present her paper, “Imagining Freedom: On the Vestiges of Enslaved Black Women, Pleasure, and Sexuality” at 3:00p.m. today in SAC 3.116, and Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Kelly will present her paper, “Negotiating (Im)Mobility: Solidarity Tourism in Occupied Palestine” at 1:30 Friday in SAC 1.118.

Hope to see you there!

Alumni Voices: Dr. Carolyn de la Peña, Director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute and Prof. of American Studies

Today, we feature some words of wisdom from Dr. Carolyn de la Peña, currently director of the University of California at Davis Humanities Institute and Professor of American Studies. Her books include The Body Electric: How Strange Machines Built the Modern American (2003)  and Empty Pleasures: The Story of  The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda (2010). She graduated with a Ph.D. in American Studies from UT in 2001.

How is the work that you’re doing right now informed by the work that you did as a student in American Studies at UT?

Right now I oversee a large staff and work on grant proposals and events and am an advocate for humanities funding and research. In my own research I’m looking for ways that I can work with scientists and nutritionists on questions of health, technology, and the body. So much of my brain space is taken up thinking about the humanities at large–all of the disciplines and interdisciplines that comprise it and how it differs in important ways from the sciences and social sciences. I didn’t do these things at UT in our smallish program. At UT I was very interested in defining American Studies (what are our methods? why can’t we have a real theory class? how are we different then NYU?). I really wished that the program would give me more direction–have a more “inky” stamp to put on my work and my approach. Now I’m less interested in defining AMS, or worrying about whether my work fits in American Studies, and more interested in just being a humanist and working with different methodologies depending on the research or administrative problem I’m tacking.

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