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Women's and Gender History symposium to focus this year on 'mobility'

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The seventh annual Graduate Symposium on Women’s and Gender History will take place March 9-11 (Thursday to Saturday) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Most sessions of the event, which is free and open to the public, will be in the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana. The symposium, sponsored by Illinois’ history department, constitutes one of the campus’s major events in recognition of national Women’s History Month, held each March.

Scholars from 28 institutions will present papers on the theme of mobility.

According to the symposium’s executive committee, the event is the only
history symposium organized by graduate students that is dedicated solely to women’s and gender history. Adding to the luster of the event are its ties to the Journal of Women’s History, which is based at Illinois.

Jennifer Morgan, a professor of history and women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, will give the keynote talk on “Accounting for Women in Slavery: Demography and Epistemology in Early African American History” at 7:30 p.m. March 9 in Room 170.

A lunch seminar at noon on March 10 in Room 406 will feature Afsaneh Najmabadi, professor of history and of women’s studies at Harvard University; her topic is “Sexing Gender, Transing Homos: Travail of Sexuality in Contemporary Iran.”

At 3 p.m. on March 11 in Room 405, the editorial team of the Journal of Women’s History will conduct a roundtable discussion on “Demystifying the Journal Article.” Editors are Jean Allman, history and African studies; Marilyn Booth, comparative and world literature; Antoinette Burton, chair of the history department; Jennifer Edwards, history graduate student; and Rebecca McNulty Schreiber, history graduate student.

The Graduate Symposium on Women’s and Gender History began in 2000 as the capstone event of the history department’s Women’s History Month observance. Since its inaugural year, the symposium has expanded beyond the campus to include graduate students from the United States and Canada from academic programs including American studies, anthropology, art history, classics, comparative literature, English, history, the Institute of Communications Research, library and information science, sociology and women’s studies.

The symposium also has strengthened its original mission by encouraging historical analysis of intersections of gender with race, class, ethnicity and sexuality.

Many U. of I. units are co-sponsoring the event, including the Center for Advanced Study, the History Graduate Students Association and the Spurlock Museum.