This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Engendering gardens is theme
of Gender Week celebration

  • Stanford University faculty member Robert Pogue Harrison will deliver the keynote address of Gender Week.

Published: Oct. 11, 2012

Engendering gardens is the theme of the 13th annual Gender Week, to be held Oct. 15-19 at UB.

Presented by the Institute for Research and Education on Women & Gender—informally known as the Gender Institute—Gender Week 2012 includes one major conference in architecture and another in law, as well as a host of events on topics ranging from disability studies to domestic violence.

Kari J. Winter, professor of transnational studies and director of the Gender Institute, calls Gender Week one the institute’s “signature events for more than a decade.”

“We host it every fall to welcome new and returning faculty, staff and students to UB, and to provide an illuminating sampling of UB’s wealth of research related to women and gender,” Winter says, pointing out that one of the institute’s central missions is “to foster interdisciplinary networks of collaboration among scholars at UB, in Western New York and internationally.”

Most of the week’s events, she says, are connected to the theme of engendering gardens.

But just what does that theme mean?

“By ‘engender’ we mean to bring into existence, create, procreate, propagate, originate, generate. By ‘gardens’ we mean everything from urban agriculture to food policy, soil chemistry, international development and literary gardens,” Winter explains. “Speakers are addressing topics like the ethics of climate change; indigenous gardening traditions; human bodies as fecund sites of creativity, sexuality and sensuality; globalization and waste, mortality, sustainability; and Buffalo’s gardens and parks.”

While one of the week’s events, the UB Law School’s 2012 James McCormick Mitchell Lecture, may seem unrelated to the theme—its title is “When Caring is Work: Home, Health and the Invisible Workforce,”—Winter says it is “integrally connected to one of our central questions this year, which is, how do we generate and sustain cultures of earthly care; by which we mean caring, caretaking, compassion, responsibility and community?”

Gender Week’s keynote address, “Landscape and Sanity,” will take place at 4 p.m. Oct. 18 in 120 Clemens Hall, North Campus. It will be delivered by Robert Pogue Harrison, Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature at Stanford University, who Winters calls “one of the most interesting analysts working in the world today on questions related to gardens and the human condition.”

In his talk, Harrison will analyze the relationship between landscape architecture and sanity—or the restoration of sanity—to reflect on both literary and “real” gardens, and landscape architecture in relation to social and civic sanity.

Harrison is the author of numerous books, including “Forests: The Shadow of Civilization” (1992), “The Domination of the Dead” (2005) and most recently, “Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition” (2008).

His talk is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute, the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop and the Ecocritical Studies Research Workshop, as well as the Gender Institute. It is free of charge and open to the public; a reception will follow.

Winter notes that although the week’s schedule is intense, it is not as jam-packed as in previous years in keeping with requests that the institute pace its programming more evenly throughout the academic year.

In fact, the Gender Institute presented the Buffalo Garden Symposium last month in advance of Gender Week. See UB Reporter story on the symposium. Events related to this year’s Gender Week theme will continue through April, Winter adds.

Programming next week also includes:

  • Diversity Rules! Disability History/ Disability Empowerment Celebration, Oct. 15. This event features a march in downtown Buffalo from 9-10 a.m. and speakers, entertainment and activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organized by UB’s Center for Disability Studies.
  • “Interrogating the Notion of Queer Spaces: An Examination of Urban Spaces, Queer Users, and Urban Planning and Design Practices,” talk by Molly Ranahan, a graduate student in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning. 4-5:30 p.m., Oct. 16, Gender Institute, 207 The Commons, North Campus.
  • “Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice,” the Martell Symposium, School of Architecture and Planning. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 17, 105 Harriman Hall, South Campus. The symposium will explore how architectural and design practices today are shifting away from traditional structures of patronage in the profession and discipline, and initiating new priorities, assumptions, design strategies and practice models. See story in this week’s issue for more details.
  • “Intimate Partner Violence: The Ripple Effect of Education, Research and Advocacy,” UB Law School conference, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Oct. 19, Samuel’s Grande Manor, Williamsville. This conference will bring together scholars, advocates and members of the judiciary and bar to discuss the ripple effect of education, research and advocacy on intimate partner violence and social justice in the local, national and international arenas. For more details, see story in the UB Reporter.
  • 2012 James McCormick Mitchell Lecture: “When Caring is Work: Home, Health and the Invisible Workforce,” 2-4 p.m., Oct. 19, 106 O’Brian Hall, North Campus. See story in UB Reporter for more details.

For more details on Gender Week programming, visit the Gender Institute’s website.