Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 6, Issue 2
spring 2016
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

WGSS Colloquium and Working Group

by Dina Omar and Ashley James

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In February, we began another invigorating semester by welcoming Professor Jill Richards to the WGSS Working Group. Professor Richards graciously shared her current work-in-progress entitled “Feminist Method and the Archive," which ponders the ethics and methodologies appropriate to the writing of counter-histories as she works toward a book chapter on the political practices of black women on the margins of N├ęgritude. Though writing most immediately from an English literature context, we found the questions Professor Richards posed in her paper urgently applicable across disciplines, effectively facilitating a generative interdepartmental discussion surrounding the politics, ethics, and efficacies of counter-historical archival work.

Our February Colloquium series continued this vigorous interdepartmental dialogue with presentations by Grace Ting from the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and Pratima Gopalakrishnan, from the Religious Studies Department. In “The Pleasure and Politics of the Everyday in Kawakami Hiromi’s Diaries,” Ting located the quotidian queer potentials found in the texts of Japanese writer Kawakami Hiromi, while in “This Land is Her Land: Land Ownership in Second-Century Judean Legal Papyri” Gopalakrishnan suggested new ways of accounting for landownership in antiquity. Our second session of the Colloquium series featured presentations from Sarah Robbins of the English Literature Department and Danya Pilgrim of the Departments of African American Studies and American Studies, both writing out of a 19th century American context. In “Authoring The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” Robbins examined the discovery, publication, and reception of Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative in order to suggest a new hermeneutic of reading (unpublished) black women’s texts. Pilgrim examined the role of print culture in the (de)formation of black masculinity in the antebellum North in her paper, “Burned by Fire: Stephen H. Gloucester, Masculine Performance, and Print Culture, 1842-1850.”

Most recently, we had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Alicia Schmidt Camacho to the Working Group. Sharing some preliminary research on “U.S. Border Surveillance Technology, State Optics, and the Dehumanization of Migrants,” with Professor Schmidt Camacho we thought deeply about the role of technology in the re-conception and effective denigration of (particular) persons in the US context. We look forward to the rest of our exciting semester, with papers by Professor Kate Dudley, and graduate students Keahnan Washington (Department of Anthropology) and Elizabeth Wiet (Department of English Literature). With paper topics that range from the “carceralization of everyday life” to 1980s “feminist maximalism,” we seek to continue the rich and diverse programming that has come to define us.
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