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Gender Week Events to Feature Sarah Schulman, Sue Rosser

Schulman is a novelist, playwright, activist; Rosser, an expert on women in the sciences

Release Date: September 4, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender will celebrate Gender Week 2007 and the 10th anniversary of the institute's founding, with the presentation of a number of multidisciplinary events and speakers Sept. 24-28.

Most notable among the speakers are Sarah Schulman and Sue V. Rosser, Ph.D. Schulman is an acclaimed novelist ("The Child," "Rat Bohemia," "Shimmer"), historian, playwright (most recently, "Carson McCullers") and long-time social activist. An anthropologist, Rosser is one of the most vocal proponents of women in science, mathematics, medicine and technology of the past 20 years and the first dean of an academic college at the Georgia Institute of Technology in that school's 110-year history.

Schulman will present Gender Week's keynote address, "United in Anger: A History of ACT UP," on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. in 120 Clemens Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

The Schulman lecture is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute; the Dean's Office, College of Arts and Sciences; The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, and the UB Departments of Anthropology, English, Global Gender Studies, Media Study and Theatre and Dance. Like all Gender Week events, her address will be free and open to the public.

Schulman will address the history of the AIDS coalition and how it unleashed its power to influence political and health policy. She also will conduct a "tour" of the ACT UP Oral History Project, and show a trailer for a related feature documentary in progress.

On Sept. 23 at 3 p.m., she will present a reading from her new novel, "The Child," at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, 341 Delaware Ave.

The novel, her 11th, is based on the true story of Sam Manzie, a lonely, troubled gay teenager with no natural outlet for his feelings during a critical time in his life. In the novel, as in life, the boy -- seeking adult companionship -- is exposed and disgraced when his online lover is arrested in an Internet pedophilia sting. In the face of rejection by his dysfunctional family and community, he is accused of killing his young nephew, whom he is suspected of molesting, and is convicted of the murder.

The book, which took 16 years to be accepted by a publisher, considers many complex issues, including the marginalizing and punishing influences of a homophobic culture and religion on the boy, who is a child himself, and the impact of the murder and conviction on those involved, including the child's family, the attorney representing the boy, his family and the community.

While structured like a classic novel of legal suspense, it has been called a haunting meditation on isolation and the prejudices of culture and family.

On Sept. 24, Schulman will work with students from three classes in the Department of Theatre and Dance

On Sept. 26, Rosser, author of "The Science Glass Ceiling: Academic Women Scientists and Their Struggle to Succeed," will present the 2007-08 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture in connection with Gender Week. It will take place at 2 p.m. in Room 330 in the Student Union on the UB North Campus.

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, has an international membership of 60,000 scientists and engineers.

In 1999, Rosser, a nationally distinguished scholar with a strong foundation in the sciences and science education, was named dean of Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the position she holds today.

She previously held posts at the University of the South, the University of Florida and the National Science Foundation, all related to scientific research on issues related to women and gender, and has written many books and journal articles on women in science, math, medicine and technology. She has also developed models for the on-campus promotion and facilitation of science, math and technology education for women in American colleges and universities.

Rosser's talk is sponsored at UB by the Gender Institute; the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; the offices of the deans of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions; Office of Postdoctoral Scholars; and UB/Buffalo Public Schools Science Partnership.

More on Sarah Schulman

A lifelong political activist, Schulman, now a professor of English at City University of New York, has been involved in a number of strategic social movements. In addition to ACT-UP, they include the abortion rights movement and, most recently, the Lesbian Avengers, a group of activists in ACT-UP whose purpose is to identify and promote lesbian issues and perspectives and empower lesbians as experienced organizers who can participate in political rebellion. Schulman is co-founder of the Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival and is a prodigious contributor to the mainstream and progressive press, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Interview, The Face, Mother Jones, Ms, Village Voice, The Advocate, Cineaste and Jump-Cut.

Schulman was one of the first to write on AIDS in the early 1980s in the Village Voice and the first to write about AIDS and the homeless, in an article published in The Nation.

Her experiences as a writer on gay and lesbian subjects exemplifies the extraordinary difficulty such writers have had in having their work accepted by mainstream publishing houses.

More on Sue Rosser

Rosser's many books include several in the Athene Series published by Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Among them are "Women, Science and Society: The Crucial Union" (2007), "Teaching the Majority: Breaking Gender Barriers in Science, Mathematics and Engineering" (2005), "Engineering Female Friendly Science" (1997); "Female-Friendly Science: Applying Women's Studies Methods and Theories to Attract Students" (1990) and "Women in the Science and Health Care Professions: Overcoming Resistance" (1988). She also wrote "Women, Gender, and Technology," published last year by University of Illinois Press.

She has served on several editorial boards and currently is on those of the National Women's Studies Association Journal and Women's Studies Quarterly. She has held several grants from the National Science Foundation, including "A USC System Model for Transformation of Science and Math Teaching to Reach Women in Varied Campus Settings" and "POWRE Workshop."

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