News and Events Archives

For recent news, please go to: Gender Institute Upcoming Events

The UB Gender Institute’s Statement in Solidarity with Dr. Gale Burstein

The University at Buffalo’s Gender Institute condemns the misogynist and antisemitic attacks on our UB colleague Dr. Gale Burstein, a former member of our Executive Committee, who has worked tirelessly during this pandemic as Erie County’s health commissioner. 

Read the full statement here.

Past Events

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Cody Mejeur.

Cody Mejeur

Assistant Professor
Department of Media Study

“Storytelling in Queer and Trans Video Games”

Wed.,  December 8, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Recording here:



Our bodies that create, perceive, and interpret stories are different, meaning that any theory of narrative and storytelling must account for different embodied experiences in systems of race, gender, sexuality, class, and disability. As a contemporary, popular, and especially performative medium, video games provide excellent case studies in how this operates––how stories are always embodied experiences mediated by difference. This talk argues that video games show us how the body is a site for bridging trans, queer, feminist, and cognitive approaches for storytelling, and further suggest new ways of understanding our experiences and our differences.

In particular, this talk focuses on what it means to be embodied as and think like a trans person in a narrative video game. I draw on my team’s work with developing a video game where players play through short stories drawn from different trans folks’ experiences, such as choosing which bathroom to use, going on a date, or finding a new church. By placing players in the shoes of different trans folks, the game asks players to think across difference and understand a bit of experiences that may not be like their own. Virtual embodiment in a video game cannot fully simulate what it is to be trans (nor should it), but the mediated experience of virtual space requires players to play across bodies in ways that resonate with trans experiences. In reflecting on these points, this talk highlights the challenges in representing trans embodiment, the narrative forms that help address them, and their implications for research and storytelling.

Women in STEM Webinar Series

Helping STEM Students Thrive in 2021 and Beyond

Women in STEM Webinar Series poster.

"What does Innovation Look Like Now?"

Thursday, November 18, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 PM

To watch the recording:

The UB Women in STEM Cooperative is proud to offer the Helping STEM Students Thrive series, a webinar series collaboration between Harvard University and the University at Buffalo featuring the perspectives of national thought leaders and institutional representatives about expanding the participation of women in undergraduate STEM education at different scales as informed through the lens of higher education trends, institutional practices, learning spaces and introductory undergraduate courses in STEM.

This coming year’s theme is Helping STEM Students Thrive in 2021 and Beyond.  The onset of the COVID-19 virus has affected us in many different ways and continues to do so.  What does the future look like and how do we move forward?  We will explore these topics and ways to support, encourage and build community to move forward.


Lynne Ann Molter, Ph.D., Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Engineering, Swarthmore College

Eleonora Botta, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo

Evangeline Cummings, MS, Assistant Provost and Director of University of Florida Online, at the University of Florida, Harvard Alumni

To learn more about the entire series and see recordings from past webinars, please visit:

Stephanie Vander Wel

Associate Professor of Music

Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls: Women's Country Music 1930-1960

Book Cover Image of Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls featuring a woman holding a guitar near a campfire.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - Noon - Virtual

Recording at:

The first of New Books, New Feminist Directions event will feature Stephanie Vander Wel, Associate Professor of Music at UB, whose book Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls: Women’s Country Music 1930-1960 (Illinois 2020) was named by PopMatters as one of the top nonfiction books of 2020. Professor Nadine “Dean” Hubbs from the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Michigan will offer commentary.


Stephanie Vander Wel.

Stephanie Vander Wel
Associate Professor
Department of Music,
University at Buffalo

Nadine "Dean" Hubbs.

Nadine "Dean" Hubbs
Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Music,
University of Michigan

From the Illinois Press:

From the 1930s to the 1960s, the booming popularity of country music threw a spotlight on a new generation of innovative women artists. These individuals blazed trails as singers, musicians, and performers even as the industry hemmed in their potential popularity with labels like woman hillbilly, singing cowgirl, and honky-tonk angel.

Stephanie Vander Wel looks at the careers of artists like Patsy Montana, Rose Maddox, and Kitty Wells against the backdrop of country music's golden age. Analyzing recordings and appearances on radio, film, and television, she connects performances to real and imagined places and examines how the music sparked new ways for women listeners to imagine the open range, the honky-tonk, and the home. The music also captured the tensions felt by women facing geographic disruption and economic uncertainty. While classic songs and heartfelt performances might ease anxieties, the subject matter underlined women's ambivalent relationships to industrialism, middle-class security, and established notions of femininity.

2021-2022 Signature Lecture Series


Woman wearing a red shirt and black blazer in front of a bookcase.

“The Magnification of Inequities During COVID-19 and Why it Matters for Science”

Thursday, November 4, 2021
12:00 PM (EST) | Via Zoom







Cassidy R. Sugimoto is Professor, School Chair, and Tom and Marie Patton Chair in the School of Public Policy. Her research examines the formal and informal ways in which knowledge is produced, disseminated, consumed, and supported, with an emphasis on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She received the Indiana University Trustees Teaching award (2014) and a Bicentennial Award for service from Indiana University (2020), where she served on the faculty from 2010-2020. During her tenure at IUB, Sugimoto also served a rotation as the Program Director for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy program at the National Science Foundation. She has a doctoral degree in Information and Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Conversation with Faculty, Staff, and Students: Caregiving and Work Demands during COVID-19

Thursday, November 4, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 AM (EST) via Zoom

To register:

Join the conversation to discuss the ongoing effects on caregiving and work demands brought on by COVID-19.  We will share lived experiences and solutions as we grapple with the long-term impact of the pandemic.  Open to UB Faculty, Staff and Students. 

Join the Gender Institute to see the play "Photograph 51"

Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler.

Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler

Sunday ,October 24, 2021  
2:00 PM | Jewish Reperatory Theatre

The Gender Institute is putting together a group to attend “Photograph 51,” by the award-winning playwright Anna Ziegler. This play, which won London’s 2016 WhatsOnStage award for Best New Play, is about the life of one of the great women scientists of our time, Rosalind Franklin. Franklin did research critical to understanding the structure of the DNA molecule but who got much less of the credit for her work. 

The Gender Instiute are putting together a group to attend the matinee on Sunday 10/24 at 2pm. If you come as part of our group, there is a discount –tickets are $30. Use the code GROUP15 and then hit the apply coupon button right next to it. (If you are a student, you don’t need to buy tickets as part of the group—the cost is $10 for a ticket).

For more information about the play and purchasing tickets, click here.

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Jean Wactawski-Wende.

Jean Wactawski-Wende

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Thursday, October 14, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM 


"Women’s Health Initiative (WHI): Updates 1993-2027"

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Jim Holstun.

Jim Holstun

Department of English

Thursday, September 23, 2021
12:00 PM -1:30 PM


“Big Red Books: Simone de Beauvoir, Nawal el Saadawi, and Social Reproduction”

Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) and Nawal el Saadawi’s The Naked Face of the Arab Woman (1974; translated as The Hidden Face of Eve) are two classics of socialist feminist theory. But they are almost never called that. Marxist theorists disinterested in gender and sexuality chronically neglect them, while liberal and post-structural feminists tend to overlook the historical materialist dimensions of their work, with an additional dollop of condescension in referring to Saadawi as “The Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world.”

But Beauvoir is the Beauvoir of the Arab world, as Saadawi is the Saadawi of the Rive Gauche, and beyond. And there are profound and illuminating affinities between their two big books, which use multiple analytical disciplines, including literary criticism, in a project of methodological totalization. The recent explosion of socialist feminism under the rubric of “social reproduction theory” should incorporate the crucial theoretical work of these precursors, who are also, not incidentally, socialist feminist novelists.



Nicole Barnes

Assistant Professor
Departments of History and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

“A Nursing Historian's Reflections on China's Experience on SARS-COV2”

Monday, Sept. 20, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM (EST) 
Zoom Platform

Nicole Barnes begins this talk with a detailed history of the early formation of professional nursing in China in the 1930s and 40s while the nation defended itself against the Japanese army. In this period, remarkable women such as Major General Zhou Meiyu and Dean of Peking Union Medical College School of Nursing Nie Yuchan served as capable and recognized leaders. She then uses her understanding of this history to inform analysis of the place of women in China’s medical profession today, with a focus on how the nation has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cosponsored by the UB Gender Institute, Department of History, and Confucius Institute.

Women's Suffrage Revisited Reading Group

Collage image of the four book covers of the series.

The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, in collaboration with the UB Gender Institute and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, received a Humanities New York grant to support a virtual reading group: Women’s Suffrage Revisited: An Intersectional Reading Group
The series will be facilitated by Carrie Tirado Bramen, director of the UB Gender Institute. The series will have 4 sessions, May 18, June 1, June 15, June 29.  

The Reading Group has concluded but feel free to check out the titles.

Gender Institute Statement on the Passing of Madeline Davis

Close up image of a woman in a light blue sweater with curly gray hair resting her head on her hand.

Madeline Davis
Photo by Keith Gemerek

It is with great sadness that we mark the peaceful passing of Madeline Davis at the age of 80. A fierce activist and mentor, Madeline was an icon and stalwart of the Buffalo LGBTQ+ community. With our former colleague Elizabeth Kennedy, she co-wrote the groundbreaking book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community  (1994)which chronicled pre-Stonewall lesbian communities in Buffalo, NY. Beginning in 2001, she began collecting the Madeline Davis Archives: one of the biggest LGBTQ archives in the US. She is survived by her wife Wendy Smiley.

 In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make donations to the Madeline Davis GLBT Archives of WNY, c/o Butler Library at Buffalo State College or SPCA of Erie County

Gender Institute End-of-Year Celebration

End of Year Celebration Poster.

May 14 - Noon - 1:00 PM  - Virtual on Zoom

Please join us to celebrate the presentation of the Excellence in Mentoring Award to Professor Michael Rembis, retirements and accomplishments of this past year at the UB Gender Institute’s end-of-year virtual reception.

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Melinda Lemke.

Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

"Researching the Margins: Feminist Critical Policy Analysis as a Framework of the Center"

Decades of social science research documents the harmful effects of violence, and in particular gender-based and sexual violence, on adolescent female mental, physical, and socioemotional health.  These effects not only can impair development, but prompt negative short- and long-term problems in adulthood.  Despite the existence of long-standing multi-level prevention and intervention legislation and programming, gaps in educational policy research and educator practice remain.  In this talk, Lemke presents feminist critical policy analysis (FCPA) as an integral framing device in the examination of educational policy-making and those normative, but often hidden arrangements of power, which can have intended, unintended, and enacted discriminatory consequences for women and girls.  Lemke also invites critical discussion and reflection on nuanced ethical, methodological, and political considerations, both within and outside of field research.

Alison Des Forges Symposium: "COVID-19: Human Rights and International Cooperation

Friday, April 30, 2021 - 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM - Online Platform

Event: Alison L. Des Forges International Symposium: “COVID-19: Human Rights and International Cooperation” .

COVID-19 first appeared in China and soon became a global pandemic, but the polities of East Asia have been relatively successful in containing it.  Some African states adopted harsh measures to suppress the pathogen while others drew on experience with AIDS and Ebola to mount effective responses.  Although a wealthy and technologically developed country, the U.S. has been notably ineffective in responding to the pandemic.  This symposium will explore these contradictions and complexities.  It will also discuss the decline in positive international cooperation, which puts all of humanity at risk, and will expose ways states are cooperating to exploit the pandemic to do harm.  

To register please email

For more information, visit

This symposium honors the life and work of human rights activist Alison Des Forges (1942-2009).

Sponsored by Alison Des Forges Memorial Committee; University at Buffalo: Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy; Confucius Institute; Department of Comparative Literature; Gender Institute; Humanities Institute; James Agee Chair in American Culture; Office of Global Health Initiatives, School of Public Health and Health Professions; Office of the Vice Provost for International Education

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Image of a woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a black shirt with thin horizontal white stripes, smiling at the camera. A bookcase can be seen behind her.

Hilary Vandenbark

PhD Candidate
Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

“Ally or Adversary? Rethinking Feminist Relationships with the State Post-MeToo”

In this talk, Vandenbark discusses how feminist relationships with the state are evolving through a complex interaction of shifting political landscapes, social movements (such as MeToo, Black Lives Matter, RISE, etc.), and bureaucratic reforms. These changes create strategic opportunities for anti-violence advocates which Vandenbark analyzes utilizing Kimberly Morgan and Ann Shola Orloff's conceptualizion of the "many hands of the state" (2018) as well as Indigenous feminist frameworks on state violence. She critically examines the role of the state in addressing sexual violence, as well as the lack of feminist attention to “small S” states, where most sexual assault cases are addressed and adjudicated. Drawing on her dissertation case study of New York’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights (2018), Vandenbark explicates the roles of insiders and outsiders in shaping state responses to sexual violence and the social context in which these changes take place.

Black Lives Matter Book Club

Thursday, April 8, 2021 @ 7 p.m.
Alicia Garza, The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart

Book cover image of "The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart".

Register here:

For an UB Libraries E-book copy of The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart  -please go to:

UB Women In Stem Cooperative 7th Annual Summit

Please join us at the 7th Annual Summit - March 24, 2021- 9:00 am EST

Discover what’s current in inclusive pedagogy, science and policy with local thought leaders who are building solutions and influencing change. Meet organizations that support diversity and inclusion initiatives at our Information Fair. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired, grow and connect with us!

For more information visit:

The Women in STEM Cooperative presents Webinar Series: Helping STEM Students Thrive

Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

MARCH 18, 2020   12:00-1:30 pm  EST
Webinar Platform: Zoom



This year’s theme is Supporting Women in STEM in 2020.  The result of the onset of the COVID-19 virus has affected us in many different ways.  We will explore these topics and ways to support, encourage and build community to move forward. Those who register will receive a recording. 

For more information:

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Katharina Barth.

Katharina Azim

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

"Preaching Guilt: Religion and Experiences of Painful Sex in College Women"

This research project investigated the relationship between women college students’ pelvic health, sexuality, and religiosity. Currently 20-26% of young women report chronic pain during sexual activity, which is generally a highly preventable and treatable condition. Considering that young girls and women grow up with strong messages about permissible and taboo sexual conduct, gendered expectations of what constitutes “normal” pain-free sex, and the privileging of vaginal-penile intercourse over other forms of non-penetrative sexual activity, we tested if religiosity and religious teachings were contributing factors to women’s experiences of painful sex. Specifically, we examined the relationship between the prevalence of genito-pelvic pain with sex among sexually active female college students based on their sexual conceptualizations and practices, religious self-identification, belief and exposure to religious teachings, and the experiences of sexual shaming and guilt. 

Professor Azim's research centers around women’s reproductive health, agency, and rights in the United States, and specifically on experiences of genito-pelvic pain and psychosocial factors of painful sexual intercourse in young women. Her second line of research encompasses MENA/Arab/Muslim+ women’s perceptions of ethnic identity at the intersection of geopolitical, sociocultural, religious, and gendered factors.

Gender Institute Signature Series

"An Evening of Conversation with Lillian Williams"

Barbara Smith.

Barbara Smith, Author, activist, and independent scholar 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Time - 7:00 pm 
Zoom Platform

Recording Here:

Barbara Smith is one of the most important Black feminists of our time. In 1974, she co-founded the Combahee River Collective in Boston, and she co-authored their now famous Combahee River Collective Statement in 1977, which became one of the earliest explorations of the intersection of multiple oppressions, including racism and heterosexism. Smith and Audre Lorde co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1980. Kitchen Table later published her collection Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983). Her groundbreaking essay, “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism,” opened the door to serious critical consideration of Black women writers. Her most recent book is the award-winning Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith.

This event is a collaboration with the Department of Africana and American Studies and their 2021 Endowed African American Studies Lecture

UB's Office of Inclusive Excellence: How Can Art Museums Model the Future of Diverse Cultural Landscapes?

Wednesday, March 10th 2021, 5:30 - 6:30pm

What role does art play in times of need? In this moment of upheaval, reckoning, and change, what responsibilities do museums have in representing cultures, past and present, as well as modeling the future of diverse cultural landscapes? UB Art Galleries Curator Liz Park moderates a roundtable discussion with Candice Hopkins and Yesomi Umolu, two leading thinkers and curators in the field of contemporary art. They will share frank reflections on the limits of museums as sites of knowledge and explore the potentials of creating a just and open space in which art can amplify voices and broaden views. 

To register: click here

Cosponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Gender Institute and UB Art Galleries.

STEM for Everyone Flyer.

If you are currently working with undergrad or grad student researchers at UB or another area institutions, please encourage them to submit a presentation proposal for STEM for Everyone by March 5, 2021. Any questions can be directed to Chelsea at

STEM for Everyone: Stories and Examples from Students

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student involved in research or hands-on projects? Would you like to share your work with a broad audience and sharpen your communication skills? Submit your proposal to participate in STEM for Everyone

STEM for Everyone, presented by the UB Women in STEM Cooperative (WISC) and UB Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), invites students to record a 5-minute video presentation about an existing research project or a STEM topic. This event provides a platform for students to communicate the significance of their work to a general audience, an important skill for any STEM professional. Creativity is encouraged!

Participants will benefit from mentorship and constructive feedback from a communication coach as they are preparing their video, and will be eligible to win prizes based on final submissions!

Presentation proposals are due by March 5, 2021.

Final video submissions are due April 11, 2021.

To learn more about STEM for Everyone, and to submit a presentation proposal, visit


The Women in STEM Cooperative presents Webinar Series: Helping STEM Students Thrive

Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

FEBRUARY 18, 2020   12:00-1:30 pm  EST
Webinar Platform: Zoom


This year’s theme is Supporting Women in STEM in 2020.  The result of the onset of the COVID-19 virus has affected us in many different ways.  We will explore these topics and ways to support, encourage and build community to move forward. Those who register will receive a recording. 

For more information:


Loretta Ross.

February 17, 2021 - 12:00 pm - Zoom platform

Loretta J. Ross is a Visting Associate Professor of the Study of Women & Gender at Smith College in Northampton, MA in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender.

What if instead of calling people out, we called them in? Professor Loretta J. Ross, a human rights leader who writes and teaches on white supremacy, race, and reproductive justice, is challenging call-out culture. Professor Ross will explore how call-out culture has become toxic and transformed conversations that could otherwise be learning opportunities into sparring matches. How do we uphold our commitment to social justice while resisting the pull of the outrage cycle? Professor Ross will discuss how we can build a unified and strategic human rights movement that uses our differences as a platform for modeling a positive future built on justice and the politics of love, thus shifting away from a past based on the politics of fear and prejudice.

Ross is the founder of SisterSong and long-time social justice activist who co-created the theory of Reproductive Justice in 1994. 

She will be speaking on her current book project Calling in the Calling Out Culture, which was featured recently in The New York Times.

Recording here:

Presented in collaboration with the Office of Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence.

Women’s Empowerment in Action and Undergraduate Scholarship Information Session

woman and child smiling and sitting in front of a sewing machine.

Friday, February 12th at Noon - Zoom platform

Join the Gender Institute and the Experiential Learning Network  for an interactive Zoom conversation about catalyzing women's empowerment around the globe—and how you can get involved.

The conversation will be led by Dr. Mara Huber, associate dean for undergraduate research and experiential learning and director of the Experiential Learning Network.

Register here:

Learn about mentored engagement opportunities through the ELN Project Portal. Global projects begin with guided preparation, exploring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and researching global NGO partners. Projects are customized based on students’ interests and partner needs with a focus on women’s empowerment and community development. Students who complete their projects earn Global Collaboration digital badges. Students from all background and majors are welcomed View projects to be discussed.

Undergraduate Scholarship
The Gender Institute and the Experiential Learning Network jointly award two scholarships to UB undergraduate students. One award for undergraduates conducting research related to women and gender and another for a community-based project with a gender focus. Learn more and apply by March 1.


Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Libby Otto.

Libby Otto

Modern and Contemporary Art 

Wednesday, Feburary 10, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

"The Missing Archive: Bauhaus Designers and the Holocaust" 

Histories of the Bauhaus after the 1933 advent of Germany’s Nazi regime almost invariably describe it as a movement in exile. My current book project, Bauhaus Under National Socialism, mines extensive archival resources to address the vast majority of the Bauhaus’s 1,250 members who remained in Germany and embraced Nazism, survived it, or became its victims. In this talk, I will introduce the project and focus particularly on several female Bauhaus members who were victims of the Holocaust, including architect Zsuzska Bánki, weaver Otti Berger, and metal designer and theater performer Lotte Rothschild. While the work of these Bauhäusler often survived only in part, if at all, compelling photographs of all of them still exist. Through archival sources—often scant materials preserved by family members and friends, including documents, pictures, and private memoirs—I aim to reconstruct what can be determined regarding these women’s work and lives, thinking through Saidiya Hartman’s restorative method of “critical fabulation,” while taking care to distinguish, in Carlo Ginzburg’s words, “truths from possibilities.”

Libby Otto is Professor of Art History and Gender Studies at UB. She is the author of Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (MIT Press, 2019) and Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt; the co-author of Bauhaus Women: A Global Perspective (Bloomsbury, 2019); and the co-editor of five books including Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism’s Legendary Art School (Bloomsbury, 2019). Her essays and reviews have been published in ArtforumOctober, and History of Photography, among other places. She is currently writing a book titled Bauhaus Under National Socialism.


Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture

Mishuana Goeman.

Mishuana Goeman

“Electric Lights, Tourist Sights: Gendering Dispossession and Settler Colonial Infrastructure at Niagara Falls”

December 3, 2020  -  Zoom platform
Mishuana Goeman is a a 2020-2021 UB Center for Diversity Innovation Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Associate Professor of Gender Studies, American Indian Studies, and affiliated faculty of Critical Race Studies in the Law School, UCLA Presented in conjunction with the Center for Diversity Innovation.


Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

Laina Bay-Cheng.

Laina Bay-Cheng

Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development
School of Social Work.

Thursday, November 12, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

Recording here:

"Agency Through Thick and Thin: How Girls Exercise Sexual Agency Amid Social Injustice"
I will offer a critical analysis of how common conceptions and depictions of “sexual agency” simultaneously overestimate the power of agency and underestimate the ways in which it is exercised and by whom. Drawing on one of my current studies (supported by the Gender Institute), I will spotlight how Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach offers a different orientation to girls’ sexualities and to systems’ obligations.

Dr. Laina Y. Bay-Cheng is Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. Since the beginning of her career, Bay-Cheng has concentrated her research on the imprint of social forces and material conditions on young women’s sexual lives. She combines empirical and conceptual analyses to shift attention away from individual-focused models of sexual risk and toward the systemic roots of girls’ and women’s sexual vulnerability: interlocked gender, class, race, and age-based inequalities and the ideologies that perpetuate them.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020    4:30 pm  - Zoom Platform

Wikipedia logo.

 - Set up a Wikipedia account

 - Edit existing pages

 - Use reliable sources and digital archives

No experience necessary!     

Cosponsored by the Women in STEM Cooperative

To register, please go to:

Recording here:

The Women in STEM Cooperative presents Webinar Series: Helping STEM Students Thrive

Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

OCTOBER 22, 2020   12:00-1:30 pm  EST
Webinar Platform: Zoom


This year’s theme is Supporting Women in STEM in 2020.  The result of the onset of the COVID-19 virus has affected us in many different ways.  We will explore these topics and ways to support, encourage and build community to move forward. Those who register will receive a recording. 

For more information:

Recording here:

Conversation on hit series, "Mrs America"

Join us for a conversation on the new Hulu hit series, "Mrs. America."

To register and receive a link, please go to:

Thursday, October 22, 2020
7:00 PM 
Zoom Platform

with Carrie Bramen and Karen King

Carrie Bramen.

Carrie Bramen, UB Director of Gender Institute, Professor, Department of English

Karen King.

Karen King, Commissioner of Public Advocacy for Erie County and the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women.

Lisa Downing "On Selfish Women" Lecture

Image of Lisa Downing.


Lisa Downing is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is a specialist in interdisciplinary sexuality and gender studies, critical theory, and the history of cultural concepts, focusing especially on questions of exceptionality, difficulty, and (ab)normality. Recent books include: The Subject of Murder: Gender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer (2013); Fuckology: Critical Essays on John Money’s Diagnostic Concepts (co-authored with Iain Morland and Nikki Sullivan, 2015); and After Foucault (as editor, 2018), as well as Selfish Women. Her next book project will be a short monograph-manifesto entitled Against Affect.



September 17, 2020
12:00 p.m.

Zoom Webinar

Video available by request for University at Buffalo community members.



Book cover image of Selfish Women.

Selfish Women (2020, Routledge)

In this lecture, Lisa Downing will discuss the key themes of her book, Selfish Women. The book offers a provocative rejoinder to many dominant ideas in mainstream culture, as well as in much feminist thinking, about the ethical character of women and the female proclivity to care, to be for the other.  For an excerpt, please click here.

Selfish Women
 asks why difficult, unpalatable — selfish — women are treated with such ambivalent fascination and demonization. Focusing on controversial and influential figures who have espoused philosophies and politics of selfishness, including Ayn Rand and Margaret Thatcher, it asks whether their ideas of self-interest might, counterintuitively and used against the grain, lend something valuable to feminist politics — and, more broadly, whether progressive politics might be missing a trick in rejecting the notion of "self-interest."

Paying Tribute to Retiring Professors

The Gender Institute is celebrating the retirements of three of our steadfast supporters, Barbara Bono (English), Arabella Lyon (Global Gender and Sexuality Studies), and Susan Udin (Physiology, Jacobs School of Medicine). We are profoundly grateful for their commitment to gender justice, feminist scholarship, and our UB community during their service here. We know they will be greatly missed. We invited colleagues to share their tributes and well wishes with us. We hope you join us in congratulating them on this well-earned milestone! 

Barbara Bono, Associate Professor of English

Image of a woman with white hair and dark square glasses wearing a white shirt and a beige vest.

I have known Barbara since her tenure party. This world-shaking event celebrated the awarding of tenure to THREE women at the same time, one of whom was Mary Bisson my colleague and the reason for my presence at the party. Barbara and I stayed in touch.  In addition to Shakespeare (after Jim and family) she was passionately devoted to teaching, especially undergraduates, sometimes to the detriment of her career....She was devoted to them and they were devoted to her.
We wish her a happy, healthy retirement. UB needs faculty who truly care about students and she will be missed."
    -- Gail Willsky, Biochemistry, Professor Emeritus

For the full faculty tribute and a brief biography of Professor Bono, please click here.

Arabella Lyon, Professor of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

Image of a smiling woman wearing a black top with red and white flowers on it.

"I will always remember Arabella Lyon as the colleague who, when other faculty may have had questions about how best to help a struggling graduate student, got the latter to write, finish, and defend a thoroughly researched and well-written dissertation in what felt like no time. I never quite knew how she did it, but I suspect that her no-nonsense, encouraging yet firm, step-by-step and erudite approach to scholarship and the profession have a lot to do with her remarkable mentoring skills. 
She has also always been as generous with her younger colleagues as she is with students, and I for one am someone who has benefited the most from her savoir faire, other-directedness, and commonsense. 
Arabella is a public humanist who values disagreement, democratic deliberation, and brainstorming as basic conditions of a healthy community, and community is always what she strives to facilitate and model."
--Carine Mardorossian, Professor of English

For the full faculty tribute and a brief biography of Professor Lyon, please click here.

Susan Udin, Professor of Physiology (Jacobs School of Medicine)

Image of a smiling woman with short curly hair wearing a white shirt and a pink cardigan.

Susan has always been passionate about supporting the careers of other women in science. She has organized the Women Faculty lunches that have been very useful for establishing connections among UB women faculty who, because of our unfortunate geographical distribution, would otherwise not be likely to encounter each other. 

Susan’s efforts on behalf of women have been very much appreciated, and I hope her involvement will continue after her retirement. Finally, Susan and I became friends, getting together many times over the years for meals, concerts, plays etc. (remember those?). Since she is planning to stay in Buffalo these of course will continue-once we are allowed to return to the world.

--Joan S. Baizer, Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Jacobs School of Medicine

For the full faculty tribute and a brief biography of Professor Udin, please click here.

The Women in STEM Cooperative presents Webinar Series: Helping STEM Students Thrive

Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

May 13, 2020

"Graduate students in STEM"
1:00 - 2:00 pm  EST (note updated time)
Webinar Platform: Zoom

This year’s theme is Adult Learning Pathways.  The demographics of our students are changing, the avenues that they travel are many and varied.  We will explore these pathways and the various ways these students needs can be met to help them succeed and achieve their goals. Those who register will receive a recording. 

For more information:

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Tea Time Chat

Wednesday, April 22
2:00 - 3:00 pm   Zoom webinar

Kari Winter, Professor
Global Gender Sexuality Studies

Hilary Vandenbark, PhD Candidate (GGSS)
Gender Institute Graduate Assistant

Please join Professor Kari Winter and GGSS  Doctoral candidate/Gender Institute GA, Hilary Vandenbark for an informal Zoom discussion of Vandenbark's doctoral work on sexual violence, as well as sex education reform and domestic violence.

Vandenbark's dissertation analyzes how different components of government respond to sexual violence (the legislature, bureaucracy, and the criminal justice system) and the role of activists, advocacy organizations, and social movements in shaping government policy at the state and federal level.  

Open to all UB students, faculty and staff.


Women's Activism Then and Now

combined poster of film, Knock Down The House, and a photo of a march for suffrage with women and men carrying banners.

Screening of "Knock Down the House"

March 5, 2020
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Location: Burchfield Penney Art Center  Buffalo State College  Free

Women's Activism Then and Now Symposium

March 6, 2020    
9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Location: 112 Center for the Arts (Screening Room)
UB North Campus

1:00 - 4:00 pm
Location: 250 Baird Hall, UB North Campus

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Gender Institute, The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, 1st Amendment, 1st Vote organization.

For further details:

UB Women in STEM Cooperative Annual Summit

Women in STEM flyer.

   March 4, 2020

   8:30 am Registration 
   Program begins at 9 am.

   9:00 am - 2:00 pm

   To register, please go to:

Discover what’s current in mentorship, science and policy with local thought leaders who are building solutions and influencing change. Meet organizations that support diversity and inclusion initiatives at our Information Fair. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired, grow and connect with us!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tonya Matthews,
Director of STEM Learning Innovation, Associate Provost for Inclusive Workforce Development, Wayne State University 

Dr. Matthews is part of the WSU leadership team setting a vision to address the challenge of an inclusive STEM student success pipeline and pathway from “preK-to-Gray.” Matthews is responsible for implementing the vision of the STEM Innovation Learning Center as an interdisciplinary learning center for WSU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a hub for WSU K-12 outreach.

According to Matthews, “STEM is about science, technology, engineering, math – and any other letters we need to activate the curiosity and genius of all of our students and our entire workforce to drive innovation, spark invention, and create a world in which we all thrive.” 

Prior to joining the WSU community, Matthews served as President and CEO of the Michigan Science Center (MiSci), leading its journey to reclaim Detroit’s science center legacy and become a STEM Hub for the state of Michigan. While at MiSci, Matthews founded The STEMinista Project, an international initiative that encourages and supports middle school girls’ interest in STEM and STEM careers.  

Known as a thought-leader STEM equity, education, and employability, Matthews has been recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Michigan by Crain’s Business (2016) and honored as a Trailblazer by Career Mastered Magazine (2017).    

Dr. Matthews received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S.E. in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University. Matthews is a board member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education. She is currently serving her second term on the National Assessment Governing Board as its Vice-Chair.

The Politics of Knowledge Production—An Intellectual Sojourn into Understanding; Epistemology and Practice of African Gender History

Nwando Achebe.

Feb 13, 2020
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
509 O’Brien Hall
UB North Campus

Nwando Achebe details her personal journey into becoming an Africanist and gender historian. Along the way, she considers questions relating to the ownership and production of Africanist knowledge; while highlighting several influential interpretive voices that have shaped received canon in ways that are at best, problematic; and at worst, Eurocentric. These voices have worked to interrupt and/or disrupt true understanding and knowing about African women and gender. She ends by offering up her own African- and gender-centered intervention into existing discourse and production of history. Reception will follow lecture.
Cosponsored by the UB Department of History, Gender Institute, School of Law and the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence.

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