News and Events Archives

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

UB Gender Institute’s Statement on the Death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 19, 2020

It is with deep sadness that the UB Gender Institute marks the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She spent her life committed to ending discrimination in all of its forms, as she consistently delivered progressive votes on the most divisive issues of our day, such as LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage, abortion rights, health care, voting rights, immigration, and affirmative action. Years earlier, as director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg convinced the Supreme Court in 1975 that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied not just to racial discrimination but to sex discrimination as well.

Image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her black judicial robes and famous white lace collar.

She will be remembered as one of the most important Supreme Court Justices in modern history, not just because of her contributions to the status of women in the legal profession in particular and in leadership positions more generally, but also because she embodied principled dissent and ethical decision-making. As she wrote in 2009, “although I appreciate the value of unanimous opinions, I will continue to speak in dissent when important matters are at stake.”

A little over a year ago, Justice Ginsburg visited the University at Buffalo to receive an honorary doctoral degree in Law from SUNY. She was the first Supreme Court Justice to have visited UB, and she did so in the midst of receiving cancer treatment. While here, she spoke on the significance of the law; that it did not exist as “some sort of abstract exercise,” but it “affects real people, and judges should be cognizant of how law affects the people that law is meant to serve.”  

We grieve her loss knowing how vulnerable we are in our current political climate in terms of how laws can become weaponized against our rights and our bodies. To respond to this grave reality, and to honor Ginsburg’s legacy, we need to heed her words about strategy. In 1979, she told Newsweek Magazine that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is “the bedrock issue.” Without it, “the Supreme Court has no gun at its head.”

Image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a gray and black suit jacket speaking with UB logo in the background.

At this time, let’s mourn her loss and continue to fight for the values and ideals that she spent her life fighting for. In her dissenting opinion to the Supreme Court decision that effectively gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, she quoted Martin Luther King Jr, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Then she added, “if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.”

It is up to us to see the task through to completion.

But let’s also pause to honor her life. In the Jewish tradition, a person who dies on the High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah is considered a “Tzadik," a title given in Judaism to people considered righteous. When we consider the fact that the root word for “Tzadik” also means “justice,” it’s impossible to imagine a more fitting tribute to such a brilliant woman. Rest In Power, RBG.


Message from the Director (Fall 2020)

Dear Gender Institute Community,
On the eve of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (August 26th), and less than three months until the US presidential election, it is important to recognize the progress that women—in all of our diversity and complexity— have made in many aspects of life, while at the same time acknowledging the deeply embedded obstacles that still face us.  This summer, in the midst of a pandemic, there has been a historic reckoning with the racial and economic injustices that continue to plague our nation. The spirit of public protest and the suffragist call to “make noise” continue to shape the ongoing struggle for equal rights and to inform the work of the Gender Institute.

This semester, the UB Gender Institute will continue the conversation begun at our symposium last March on “Legacies of Suffrage: Women’s Activism Then and Now,” with virtual programming for all of our events. 

We are also kicking off a year-long virtual Black Lives Matter Book Club, featuring recent work by black feminists. This is a graduate student led series, initiated by our Graduate Assistant Hilary Vandenbark and our Dissertation Fellow Dana Venerable, together with Visiting Assistant Professor Mope Ogunbowale. If you are interested in joining this reading and discussion series—and all are welcome---please contact Hilary directly at

We are looking forward to sustaining our UB Gender Institute Community virtually this semester and hope to “see” you at one of our events.

In solidarity,

Message from Director (Summer 2020)

Painting by Lili Schmid.

Dear Gender Institute Community,

I write to you today to share my sadness, anger, and grief over the events of the past few days. The brutal killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Tony McDade in Florida, together with the blatant act of racism against Christian Cooper in New York City, all point to the fact that we have a long way to go before we become a truly inclusive and progressive nation.

These recent killings also point to the intersectionality of hate, where racism against African Americans is coupled with misogynoir (Breonna Taylor) and transphobia (Tony McDade).

This injustice is further highlighted by the fact that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color in the US, especially in our own state of New York. This global pandemic has exposed the persistent racial, social, and economic inequities that continue to exist in our city, our state, and our nation.

Angela Davis once said “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” With those words in mind, let us all take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to the struggle for justice in all its forms.

Despite recent events, I am hopeful about our future as I see the younger generation—the generation of our students and soon-to-be students-- peacefully protesting against injustice in truly diverse and inclusive groups. I share their outrage and their hope for a more democratic future.

In the spirit of hope, I share with you a painting that my fifteen-year old daughter completed last night.
In solidarity,

Letter from the Director Regarding COVID-19

Dear Gender Institute Community,
As we shift to online teaching this week, I want to reach out to all of you about changes we have made at the UB Gender Institute for the remaining weeks of the semester. In light of Governor Cuomo’s SUNY guidelines regarding COVID-19, we have canceled all remaining events. Many of those will be rescheduled for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Despite these cancellations, I am pleased to report that our services to graduate students will continue through online meetings. Thanks to our Graduate Assistant, Hilary Vandenbark, our doctoral dissertation writing workshop will continue meeting online weekly; and our work-in-progress seminars with Gender Institute and Humanities Institute Dissertation Fellows will also continue online.
We have also extended the deadline for the 2020-2021 Gender Institute Ph.D. Dissertation Fellowship to Monday, April 20th. For more information about this opportunity including application materials, please click here.
Even from a distance, you can continue to stay in touch with the Gender Institute.  You may enjoy our Gender Matters podcast featuring recent events and members of the UB community in stimulating conversations about policy, research, and art. You can also catch past programming on the Gender Institute YouTube Channel. We hope to have the video/audio from the Legacies of Suffrage: Women's Activism Then and Now symposium posted to our YouTube Channel shortly.
If you would like to spearhead any collaborative workshops to keep us connected (online reading groups, online writing groups), please feel free to contact me and we can post in next Monday’s e-newsletter. 

In these unsettling and uncertain times, we will do our best to facilitate a (virtual) community as we adjust together to the new demands and challenges ahead.
Warm wishes,

Past Events


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.

RSVP here for the Zoom link:


Women in STEM Webinar flyer.

Feminist Research Alliance Workshop

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

To register to receive a link, please go to:

"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:

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:

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.

Past Archives