A university-wide research center founded in 1997, the Gender Institute promotes research and teaching related to women, gender, and sexuality.
We offer grants and awards to faculty and students to support scholarship on women and on the intricate connections between gender and other social forces, such as sexuality, race, class, health, age, religion, and place. We convene interdisciplinary networks and organize lectures, workshops, conferences, film screenings, art exhibitions, and community events.
Dedicated to advancing women's and LGBTQ leadership, vision, and influence, the Gender Institute fosters workspaces in which each participant is stimulated to reach their highest potential and to increase knowledge and justice within the university, within their disciplines, and in society at large.
A year ago, we were busy adjusting to a virtual university. We adapted our courses, anxiously learned the various features of Zoom, and fiddled with our background filters. For the Gender Institute, this meant creating a virtual community through a year of online programming. Our goal was to keep things as familiar as possible in truly exceptional times, and in doing so, to sustain a sense of camaraderie through our computer screens.
What followed was a truly memorable year that featured signature lectures made possible through collaboration with colleagues. People tuned into these events from around the world and the scale of our outreach expanded significantly. Our Feminist Research Alliance (FRA) series was also well attended and some presentations attracted attendees from across the country as well as from Europe and Asia.
With this in mind, and given the uncertain situation that we continue to find ourselves in regarding the pandemic, we will carry on with a largely virtual format for Fall 2021. The format will be familiar— Signature Lectures and FRAs—but now we’ve added a new series: New Books, New Feminist Directions. To showcase the exceptional feminist research being done at UB, we will celebrate the publication of a faculty member’s new book related to women, gender, and sexuality. To kick off this series, we will discuss Stephanie Vander Wel’s new book Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls: Women’s Country Music, 1930-1960. Join us for this virtual event on Wednesday, October 27th at noon.
I also want to thank Dr. Glenna Bett who is stepping down as Deputy Director but will continue as a vital member of our Executive Committee. She oversaw the Sex, Gender, and Health Initiative, and she was the co-principal investigator of the NAVIGATE project, with former Engineering Dean Leisl Folks, which received major NSF funding to launch a pilot program here at UB on training women graduate students in STEM to navigate bias, inequity, and discrimination in the workforce.
I am delighted to welcome two new members of the Gender Institute. Our new GA is Surabhi Pant, a doctoral student in the department of Sociology whose research focuses on the impact development policies have had on rural women’s relationship to the land in India. She brings extensive work experience and qualitative research skills to the Institute.
Our new Deputy Director is Dr. Jo Freudenheim, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. We are thrilled that Jo has decided to serve in a leadership position at the Gender Institute, since she was among the original cohort of faculty members who proposed a research institute on women, gender, and sexuality in the early 1990s, and helped to develop its health component. Since then, Jo has remained an active member of the Gender Institute community and received a distinguished faculty award in 2003. As Deputy Director, she looks forward to working with colleagues and students to develop programming and research opportunities that build on the interdisciplinary and collaborative commitment of the Gender Institute.
Becky and I look forward to working with Jo and Surabhi in the coming year—and we all hope to see you at our upcoming events.
Carrie Tirado Bramen
Director of the Gender Institute