There’s something perhaps as powerful as the stories being shared during this year’s Women’s History Month – the ones that are not.
“If our feminisms are not inclusive, expansive and intersectional, are they feminism after all?” Gayatri Sethi asks. “When we speak of women’s empowerment … are we reinforcing gender binaries or erasing queer and trans folks?”
These are the types of questions Sethi will pose – urging listeners to interrogate, reflect and consider the foundation of feminism – in her keynote speech for the University of Mary Washington’s Women’s History Month celebration. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, in the Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium.
Women’s History Month also includes a Great Lives lecture on Anne Frank at 7:30 p.m. tonight, March 14, at Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall. Other events planned throughout March, and hosted by the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), are listed below.
An educator, writer and independent consultant, Sethi was born in Tanzania and raised in Botswana. Multicultural and multilingual – she speaks English, French, Hindi, Kiswahili, Punjabi and Setswana – she studies and teaches about diaspora, immigration, decolonization and globalism. Her talk will explore these topics, along with the observations on identity and immigration she shares from her own life in her début book, Unbelonging.
An illustrated collection of verselike reflections, it asks a big question: Where do those relegated to society’s margins find a sense of acceptance and togetherness? “What I hope we take away from the interactive reading is a desire to ‘center the margins’ in our advocacy or activism or teaching about women’s histories and presents globally,” Sethi said.
Remaining events in UMW’s Women’s History Month celebration are:
Dear Colleagues: Title IX Exhibition
Through Friday, April 28, Simpson Library Main Lobby
Sponsored by the Department of Athletics, Center for Prevention and Education, Office of Title IX and ADA Compliance, and Simpson Library
A history of the 1972 Title IX Education Amendment and supporting guidance showcases activism on and off the field within higher education and at UMW, through activism, athletics and legislation.
Foreign Film Series 2023: Women’s Stories
March 14-16 and 20-22, 7:30 p.m., George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium
Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
Centered on women’s stories, the series features foreign films from modern languages taught at UMW (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish) with English subtitles, followed by a short discussion.
Population, Reproduction and Sustainability: Film and Panel
Wednesday, March 22, 5 p.m., Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium
Sponsored by the President’s Council on Sustainability and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Co-hosted with the Center for Biological Diversity.
A screening of the documentary film My So-Called Selfish Life – about the choice to be childfree, the importance of reproductive health and rights, and gender equity’s role in environmental justice – is followed by a panel discussion.
Great Lives Lecture: Queen Isabella
Tuesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium
When Christianity appeared to be dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, a young princess was born into obscurity in a remote village in the kingdom of Castile. Speaker Kirstin Downey takes the audience through the story of one of the most significant monarchs of all time; her controversial legacy survives in the 500 million people who speak Spanish as their first language and the 1.3 billion who practice Catholicism.
The Art of Solo Female Travel
Thursday, March 23, 4 p.m., Lee Hall Room 411
Sponsored by the Center for International Education
This program explores rewards and challenges of traveling alone as a woman, including role-play of real-life scenarios.
Women in STEM Discussion Panel
Friday, March 24, 4p.m., Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium
Sponsored by the Optica Society of America
A discussion about STEM and gender issues with a diverse panel of women in STEM fields.
Women’s Empowerment Through the Arts
Saturday, March 25, 3 p.m., Lee Hall Underground
Sponsored by Women of Color
Individuals, clubs and organizations perform a piece of art celebrating women’s empowerment and what they’ve overcome.
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Undergraduate Research Forum
Wednesday, March 29, 4 p.m., Lee Hall Room 411
Sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
UMW students showcase their undergraduate research and win cash prizes.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the JFMC Women’s History Month page or call the center at 540/654-1044.