Founded in 1997, the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender promotes scholarship and praxis with the goal of helping to implement gender equality at the University at Buffalo and around the world.
Most American universities have modelled their conceptions of public memory after antiquated habits of monumentalizing individual powerful men. These conceptions permeate the naming of universities, buildings, research centers, and endowed chairs and assume material form in statuary, portraiture, and so on.
Since the Women's and Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s and 1970s, it has become increasingly clear that monumentalizing is a dangerous form of collective remembrance which is intertwined with white-washing, cultural amnesia, and silencing the Other or the politically disagreeable.
The Gender Institute invites scholars and activists to consider connections between the celebration of reductively imagined “heroes” and the minimizing, disappearing, erasing, silencing, and forgetting of the diverse majority who helped to found, build, and pioneer the university’s material existence, cultural significance, and scholarly innovations.
We suggest that university campuses in the 21st-century should expand awareness of the ever-vital relationship between politics and memory. We envision the creation of university sites of memory that, through their artistic engineering of names, spaces, colors, sounds, images, and textures, inspire an intellectually and emotionally rigorous engagement with the past in its wondrous range of accomplishment, failure, triumph, error, grief, joy, and hard won success.