Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 7, Issue 1
fall 2016
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

WGSS Colloquium and Working Group

by Yuhe Faye Wang and Sam Huber

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This year’s WGSS Working Group series began with a packed room of students all eager to converse with Professor Tavia Nyong’o about a chapter on race, resistance, and the representation of slavery in film from his upcoming book. Our second Working Group event featured Professor Crystal Feimster and a discussion on discourses around sexual violence during the Civil War and how to center the voices and experiences of black women despite their absence within archive materials. Professor Kathryn Lofton will be the final speaker for this semester’s Working Group, presenting a timely chapter from her forthcoming book on pop culture, religion in the United States, and the mediated, televisual experiences of women through a paired analysis of the Kardashians and Donald Trump. Each of our faculty presentations and the conversations their work sparked between faculty and students represents the wide interdisciplinary possibilities and dynamic intellectual inquiry of the Working Group.

Our three fall Colloquium meetings featured graduate student presenters from an exciting array of schools and departments. In September Alexandra Catrickes (GSAS, Italian Language and Literature and Film and Media Studies) shared her work on divas and the embodiment of trauma in early Italian film, and Elexis Ellis (GSAS, Sociology) presented a paper on the uses of phenomenology, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon for sociological thinking about the body.  At our second meeting Charlie Jeffries (Fox International Fellow at Yale’s MacMillan Center and Ph.D. Candidate in History at Cambridge) surveyed the range of responses to Monica Lewinsky and contextualized them within competing discourses of young women’s sexuality during the culture wars of the 1990s, while Scarlet Luk (GSAS, English) explored the complicated gendering of the narrator in Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady. Our final session featured Miranda Sachs (GAS, History) and Susan Choy (School of Public Health, Health Care Management Program) offering different disciplinary approaches to women’s experiences in the workplace, the former through the lens of child workers in nineteenth-century France and the latter by studying social supports for women in leadership today.

We look forward to our upcoming spring events. Our Spring Working Group meetings will feature Professor Claudia Rankine whose work has garnered national attention and recently won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and will also feature Professor Greta LaFleur whose work focuses on the history of sexuality and environmental studies during the early American period. Spring Colloquium presenters from across the university will present on topics ranging from photographic objectification to Taiwanese fiction to anti-gay politics during the Cold War. We hope to see you there!
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