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.
At the 2019 Women's March in Washington D.C., protesters carried signs that said: "Be Nice," "Empathy," and "Make America Kind Again." There is a strong emotional cast to contemporary protest that merits serious consideration, because it reminds us of the importance of the social and specifically a sense of fellow-feeling that binds us together in community. (In this spirit, I am grateful to Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for the New Yorker and CBS News, for giving us permission to include her wonderful drawing of the 2019 Women's March in D.C.)
But kindness and related terms of positive sociality are not the sole means by which communities are forged. In the past few years, we have witnessed how hatred can also bring people together.
This fall semester at the Gender Institute we continue our year-long "On Misogyny" Lecture Series that explores the intersectionality of hatred. How does hating women combine with other forms of bigotry and why is it important to give these forms a name?
To begin this inquiry, Professor Moya Bailey of Northeastern University will discuss misogynoir, a term she coined in 2010 that refers to how racism and misogyny combine to oppress black women. Misogynoir is now part of vernacular speech and has its own entry in Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced online dictionary for contemporary slang words and phrases. For Bailey it is important to create a word for something that already exists; it makes visible a practice that has for too long gone unnamed. In recognition of her work, Bailey was named No. 5 on Essence Magazine's Woke 100 Women of 2018.
To continue our series, Professor Paisley Currah, a political scientist at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, will speak on the term transmisogyny. This term refers to the intersection of transphobia and misogyny, and it mainly impacts trans women as well as gender non-conforming people on the feminine end of the gender spectrum. Currah has been an important scholar in transgender rights and a founding editor (along with Susan Stryker) of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.
In October, the Gender Institute will host a free workshop to improve coverage of cis and transgender women and non-binary folks in Wikipedia. The workshop is open to all gender identities. According to a recent article in The New York Times, fewer than 20% of biographies in English on Wikipedia are of women and fewer than 10% of Wikipedia editors are women. Bring your laptops!
Other highlights of this year's programming center on the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women gained the right to vote in 1920. WNY was a hotbed of suffragist activism in the nineteenth century and to commemorate this history, we will be hosting an event entitled "Spiritualists and Suffragists: An Evening in Lily Dale" on Saturday, September 28th. The evening will include dinner at the Bough House Restaurant in Lily Dale, historical reenactments by the Lily Dale Women's Day Event Committee, as well as a curated exhibit of artifacts on Women's Rights in Chautauqua County. You can buy your ticket here.
In March 2020, with the support of the generous Baldy Center Conference Grant, the Gender Institute will host a one-day symposium called "Legacies of Suffrage: Women's Civic Engagement Then and Now." This event will feature scholars who will trace the movement's waves and will conclude with local activists who are training young women to work on political campaigns. This event is a collaboration with Karen King, Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women.
As you can see, we have a dynamic and varied calendar of events for the forthcoming academic year that reflects the diversity of interests within our community. All of our campus events are free and open to the public and I look forward to see you in the year ahead.
Carrie Tirado Bramen
Director of the Gender Institute