Feminist Research Alliance

Founded in 2010, the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop advances and energizes interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration among feminist scholars locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. At our convivial meetings, faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars present and discuss research-in-progress.  A fertile space for idea-incubation, the workshop also is community-building, enabling students and faculty to network with potential committee members, mentors, and colleagues beyond the boundaries of their home departments. All events are free and open to the public.

Spring 2021

Libby Otto.

Libby Otto

Associate Professor
Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

"The Missing Archive: Bauhaus Designers and the Holocaust"

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 

12:00 - 1:30pm - Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

Elizabeth (Libby) Otto is Professor of Art History and Gender Studies at UB. She is the author of Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (MIT Press, 2019) and Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt; the co-author of Bauhaus Women: A Global Perspective (Bloomsbury, 2019); and the co-editor of five books including Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism’s Legendary Art School (Bloomsbury, 2019). Her essays and reviews have been published in ArtforumOctober, and History of Photography, among other places. She is currently writing a book titled Bauhaus Under National Socialism.

Image of Katherina Azim.

Katharina Azim

Clinical Assistant Professor
Psychology

Professor Azim's research centers around women’s reproductive health, agency, and rights in the United States, and specifically on experiences of genito-pelvic pain and psychosocial factors of painful sexual intercourse in young women. Her second line of research encompasses MENA/Arab/Muslim+ women’s perceptions of ethnic identity at the intersection of geopolitical, sociocultural, religious, and gendered factors.

"Preaching Guilt: Religion and Experiences of Painful Sex in College Women"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

12:00 - 1:30pm
Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

This research project investigated the relationship between women college students’ pelvic health, sexuality, and religiosity. Currently 20-26% of young women report chronic pain during sexual activity, which is generally a highly preventable and treatable condition. Considering that young girls and women grow up with strong messages about permissible and taboo sexual conduct, gendered expectations of what constitutes “normal” pain-free sex, and the privileging of vaginal-penile intercourse over other forms of non-penetrative sexual activity, we tested if religiosity and religious teachings were contributing factors to women’s experiences of painful sex. Specifically, we examined the relationship between the prevalence of genito-pelvic pain with sex among sexually active female college students based on their sexual conceptualizations and practices, religious self-identification, belief and exposure to religious teachings, and the experiences of sexual shaming and guilt.  

Image of a woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a black shirt with thin horizontal white stripes, smiling at the camera. A bookcase can be seen behind her.

Hilary Vandenbark

PhD Candidate
Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

Hilary Vandenbark currently serves as the Graduate Assistant to the Gender Institute. In 2019, she was a Women and Public Policy Fellow at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, SUNY Albany. Vandenbark worked as a housing and economic security policy consultant at the New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence as part of the fellowship. Vandenbark hopes to continue working in government policy on sexual and gender-based violence upon completing her dissertation, which examines the legislative process and implementation of New York's Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act of 2018. 

“Ally or Adversary? Rethinking Feminist Relationships with the State Post-MeToo”

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

12:00 - 1:30pm - Zoom Platform 

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

In this talk, Vandenbark discusses how feminist relationships with the state are evolving through a complex interaction of shifting political landscapes, social movements (such as MeToo, Black Lives Matter, RISE, etc.), and bureaucratic reforms. These changes create strategic opportunities for anti-violence advocates which Vandenbark analyzes utilizing Kimberly Morgan and Ann Shola Orloff's conceptualizion of the "many hands of the state" (2018) as well as Indigenous feminist frameworks on state violence. She critically examines the role of the state in addressing sexual violence, as well as the lack of feminist attention to “small S” states, where most sexual assault cases are addressed and adjudicated. Drawing on her dissertation case study of New York’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights (2018), Vandenbark explicates the roles of insiders and outsiders in shaping state responses to sexual violence and the social context in which these changes take place.

Image of a smiling woman with blonde hair. She is wearing a white shirt with blue flowers embroidered on it.

Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education

Melinda Lemke is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.  An interdisciplinary, qualitative educational policy researcher, she examines the politics of education, normative culture, and how policy and policy actors address youth marginality, gender violence, and displacement.  Prior to her position at UB, Melinda held a post-doctoral research position Swansea University, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Observatory on Human Rights of Children.  Her research and teaching also is shaped by a previous career in U.S. urban public education.

Researching the Margins: Feminist Critical Policy Analysis as a Framework of the Center

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 

12:00 - 1:30pm  -  Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

Decades of social science research documents the harmful effects of violence, and in particular gender-based and sexual violence, on adolescent female mental, physical, and socioemotional health.  These effects not only can impair development, but prompt negative short- and long-term problems in adulthood.  Despite the existence of long-standing multi-level prevention and intervention legislation and programming, gaps in educational policy research and educator practice remain.  In this talk, Lemke presents feminist critical policy analysis (FCPA) as an integral framing device in the examination of educational policy-making and those normative, but often hidden arrangements of power, which can have intended, unintended, and enacted discriminatory consequences for women and girls.  Lemke also invites critical discussion and reflection on nuanced ethical, methodological, and political considerations, both within and outside of field research.

Fall 2020

    

Laina Bay-Cheng.

Laina Bay-Cheng

Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development
School of Social Work.

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.

"Agency Through Thick and Thin: How Girls Exercise Sexual Agency Amid Social Injustice"

 

Thursday, November 12, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA


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.

Joseph Conte.

Joseph M. Conte

Professor,  Department of English

Joseph M. Conte is Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, where he teaches twentieth- and twenty-first century literature. His research interests include the literature of migration, the post-9/11 novel, multimodal literature, and film adaptation of the novel. His latest book, Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel, was published by Routledge in November 2019.

"Transnational America: The New Global Citizen in the Novels of Laila Lalami and Valeria Luiselli"

Thursday, October 1, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

For well over a hundred years, migrants to the US were expected to assimilate as a foreign body into the dominant imaginary of a white, Rockwellian Protestantism. In the novels and nonfiction writing of Moroccan-born Laila Lalami and Mexican Valeria Luiselli, however, a transnational migrant asserts the full rights of the global citizen, one who changes the local culture in which she finds herself as much as she is changed by it. The end of nationalist isolationism comes only with the end of borders—cultural, geographic, linguistic, religious or sectarian.

Laina Bay-Cheng.

Margaret Rhee

Assistant Professor
Department of Media Study

Margaret Rhee is a poet, scholar, and new media artist. She is the author of the poetry collection Love, Robot named a 2017 Best Book of Poetry by Entropy Magazine and the 2019 Best Book Award in Poetry by the Asian American Studies Association. Her new media project From the Center was the first implementation of a digital storytelling program in a jail or prison setting. For this work, she received the Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, and a Yamashita Award Honorable Mention. In 2018, she was awarded a Harvard College Fellowship in Digital Practice where she served on the committee to develop digital studies for the College of Arts and Humanities. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic studies with a designated emphasis in new media studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. She founded and co-leads the Palah 파랗 Light Lab, a collaborative media arts lab on technology, poetry, and equality.

The Kimchi Poetry Machine: A Feminist New Media Story? 

Thursday, October 29, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 
https://bit.ly/GI-FRA

Conceptualized in 2014, the Kimchi Poetry Machine is a feminist new media installation that reimagines how tangible computing can be utilized for poetic participation. Drawing from this prototype, the presentation offers a background and history--both analog and digital--of new media art and the current iteration of the project that focuses on pressing social issues such as #metoo and #BlackLivesMatters in the digital age. Currently scheduled performance/installation dates include the Smithsonian Art Museum APA Center, August 2021 and the University at Buffalo Art Galleries, January 2022 and excerpts from the in-progress book Poetry Machines: Letters to Future Readers (solicited by Duke UP) will be shared. Through a discussion of the project, the presentation aims to prompt discussion on feminist new media and offer an introduction to the participatory ethos and projects grounding the Palah Light Lab,  a feminist and queer media arts lab at the University at Buffalo. 

   
  

     

Spring 2020

Sharonah Fredrick.

Clinical Assistant Professor,
Romance Languages & Literatures

Sharonah Fredrick

Sex and Swords in Petticoats: Female Piracy in the Early Modern New World

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
207 UB Commons 
UB North Campus

Dr. Sharonah Fredrick's talk will explore the centrality of women in general, and female pirate commanders in particular, in the violent world of the Caribbean and the Pacific during the centuries of conquest and colony; it will look at the connections between the empowered female pirate and the disempowered female witch in New World chronicles, and focus on the reasons that women were "erased" from the pirate narrative in Spanish and English in recent times.

It will also ponder the supposedly piratical origins of fishnet stockings.

Erik Seeman.

Erik R. Seeman

Professor and Chair, Department of History

Women and the Protestant Cult of the Dead in Antebellum America

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
207 UB Commons 
UB North Campus

In this talk, Seeman discusses his new book, Speaking with the Dead in Early America, which traces the history of Protestant communication with the dead from the English Reformation to the rise of Spiritualism. Before they dominated Spiritualism, women were central to what Seeman calls the antebellum cult of the dead. Women did the physical labor of caring for the dying and dead, and the emotional labor of grief work. They authored and read the popular sentimental literature that transmitted the cult. And in their diaries they prayed to the dead and expressed the belief that the dead returned as guardian angels. Women thus generated theological change, contrary to how previous scholars privilege male theologians and revivalists.

FALL 2019

Borowski.

Rebecca Borowski

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Thursday, October 10, 2019
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
207 UB Commons 
UB North Campus

Women Leaders in STEM Disciplines: A Comparative Case Study on Leadership and Disciplinary Culture

In this talk I present dissertation findings on leadership styles for women in the disciplines of biology and engineering. Findings show that while women in both disciplines experienced a masculinist culture, women in disciplines with more women, such as biology, were able to use their gendered experiences to create an empathetic and empowering leadership style, while women in disciplines with less women, such as engineering, adopted gender neutral narratives to utilize a leadership style which was “not personal” and data driven.

Sarah Robert.

Sarah Robert

Associate Professor
Department of Learning and Instruction

Professor Robert, recipient of a Gender Institute Faculty Research Award  

Thursday, October 24, 2019
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
207 UB Commons 
UB North Campus

How Gender and Policy “Work” in Education: A View from the Americas

Dr. Sarah A. Robert narrates a personal and professional journey to understand how intersectional gender as identities, patterns of relations, and resilient system of oppression shapes and is shaped by education policies and politics. She emphasizes the word “work” in her title to reflect her concern for historicizing and conceptualizing the gendered nature of policy processes related to school work and workers; school-based knowledge; and the labor that transformation and reflection of both require. The journey starts in North America, continues in Central America, on to South America, the Caribbean, and back to North America. Along the way, she reflects from the feminist roles of educator, mama, researcher, and activist.

Conti.

Meredith Conti

Assistant Professor
Department of Theatre and Dance

Professor Conti, recipient of a Gender Institute Faculty Research Award  

Thursday, November 21, 2019
12:00 - 1:30 pm 
207 UB Commons 
UB North Campus

American Girls, American Guns: Whiteness and Transgressive Womanhood in the Sharpshooting Performances of Annie Oakley and Lillian Smith

In the wild west show of the late 1800s, an entertainment genre dominated by feats of muscular athleticism and simulated violence, the acts of female sharpshooters operated as deviations from the show’s staple depictions of frontier masculinity, as well as appealing, if not problematic, amplifications of the mythic narrative of the U.S. American West. In this talk, nineteenth-century theatre historian Meredith Conti considers the shooting acts of celebrated markswomen Annie Oakley and Lillian Smith, both of whom made their careers wielding that most hyper-masculinized of objects, the U.S. American firearm. As Conti will assert, Oakley and Smith performed divergent versions of “frontier femininity” through their expert spectacles of gunplay and by positioning their stage identities as “Western girls” in relationship to two adjacent variants of womanhood: an elite white womanhood revered by Victorian Britons, and an indigenous womanhood only partially inspired by the native inhabitants of the land occupied by the United States.