This year, the Gender Institute is establishing a book launch series called “New Books, New Feminist Directions,” in which faculty can share and discuss their recent monographs with UB’s Gender Institute community, as well as the wider virtual community. These hybrid events will include a guest commentator who will discuss the significance of the book and its relevance for the field. This series highlights the superb feminist scholarship at UB, while also celebrating a colleague’s achievement.
Associate Professor of Music
Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls: Women's Country Music 1930-1960
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - Noon - Virtual
Register Here to receive a link: https://bit.ly/GINewBookEvent
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
Department of Music,
University at Buffalo
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.
Assistant Professor of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies
"I Am Jugoslovenka!” Feminist Performance Politics During & After Yugoslav Socialism (forthcoming, Manchester University Press, 2022).
Friday, April 8, 2022
In person and on Zoom.
"I am Jugoslovenka" argues that queer-feminist artistic and political resistance were paradoxically enabled by socialist Yugoslavia's unique history of patriarchy and women's emancipation. Spanning performance and conceptual art, video works, film and pop music, lesbian activism and press photos of female snipers in the Yugoslav wars, the book analyses feminist resistance in a range of performative actions that manifest the radical embodiment of Yugoslavia's anti-fascist, transnational and feminist legacies. It covers celebrated and lesser-known artists from the 1970s to today, including Marina Abramovic, Sanja Ivekovic, Vlasta Delimar, Tanja Ostojic, Selma Selman and Helena Janecic, along with music legends Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova. "I am Jugoslovenka" tells a unique story of women's resistance through the intersection of feminism, socialism and nationalism in East European visual culture.
The discussion will feature Amelia Jones (University of Southern California) and Lindsay Brandon Hunter (UB Department of Theatre and Dance).
Professor of History
Living in the Future: Utopianism and the Long Civil Rights Movement (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press, 2022)
To be Announced
From University of Chicago Press:
Living in the Future reveals the unexplored impact of utopian thought on the major figures of the Civil Rights Movement.
Utopian thinking is often dismissed as unrealistic, overly idealized, and flat-out impractical—in short, wholly divorced from the urgent conditions of daily life. This is perhaps especially true when the utopian ideal in question is reforming and repairing the United States’ bitter history of racial injustice. But as Victoria W. Wolcott provocatively argues, utopianism is actually the foundation of a rich and visionary worldview, one that specifically inspired the major figures of the Civil Rights Movement in ways that haven’t yet been fully understood or appreciated.
Wolcott makes clear that the idealism and pragmatism of the Civil Rights Movement were grounded in nothing less than an intensely utopian yearning. Key figures of the time, from Martin Luther King Jr. and Pauli Murray to Father Divine and Howard Thurman, all shared a belief in a radical pacificism that was both specifically utopian and deeply engaged in changing the current conditions of the existing world. Living in the Future recasts the various strains of mid-twentieth-century civil rights activism in a utopian light, revealing the power of dreaming in a profound and concrete fashion, one that can be emulated in other times that are desperate for change, like today.