Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 5, Issue 1
fall 2014
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

WGSS Colloquium and Working Group

by Ashley James and Heather Vermeulen

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Continuing its legacy of compelling interdisciplinary dialogue across Yale’s graduate and professional programs, the WGSS Graduate Colloquium kicked off an exciting sixth year with Assistant Professor of English Literature and African American Studies Anthony Reed, who led a dynamic discussion on the radical aesthetics of race and gender in a contemporary film, Girl 6. Marking the capacity for the Working Group to support and foster a wide range of ideas, the following meeting welcomed Assistant Professor of WGSS Joseph Fischel and his collaborator and Yale College graduate Hilary O’Connell, who are together working toward an alternative definition of “sexual consent” that might serve as a basis for judicial reform. And, finally, we concluded our semester’s Working Group with Professor of English Literature and WGSS Jill Campbell, who returned us to the genre of film and its intersection with sexuality, but through the lens of 18th-century poetry. These three Working Groups meetings speak to the diversity of interests amongst our scholarly community, even as their overlap communicates our strong commitment to collaboration.
In addition to our excellent faculty presentations, our graduate students explored wide-ranging topics in their Colloquium presentations this semester, including, but not limited to, religious symbolism, literary mediation, hip-hop, and ekphrasis. The dialogic nature of the Graduate Colloquium is such that parallels often are drawn between the most seemingly distinct projects. For instance, English graduate student Alexis Chema’s discussion of 19th-century British literary annuals and Master of Divinity Candidate Stacie Vos’s investigation of the translations of Saint Teresa of Avila’s autobiography both raised questions of publication, editorial authority, and effacement. This is but one example of a Graduate Colloquium that encourages scholars to think within and beyond their own fields.

In spring 2015, we will continue our thoroughly interdepartmental dialogue as we welcome Assistant Professor of WGSS Vanessa Agard-Jones; Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies Vesla Weaver; and Assistant Professor of American Studies and WGSS Greta LaFleur to the Working Group, in addition to Colloquium presentations by graduate students ranging from 1970s black feminist praxis to colonial indigenous women’s histories. With this rich programming schedule, we look forward to another semester of intellectual ambition and generosity.
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