CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Gender-related topics will be explored in two symposia at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in October.
The first symposium, which focuses on the theme "Family, Gender and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia," is planned for Oct. 7-9; most activities take place in 405 Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana, and are free and open to the public.
Organized by the university's Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, the symposium will examine and compare two regions of the world with commonalities that include multi-ethnic and multi-religious states, family-law systems shaped by religion, and ambivalence toward the Western family ideal.
"Nearly every state in the Middle East and South Asia has joined the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), but with reservations, especially when CEDAW's standard of equality conflicts with the norms of one or more of the states' religious communities," said Kenneth Cuno, director of the South Asian and Middle Eastern studies program. The debates and struggles that continue in these regions often center on issues of "family," he said, adding that "women's bodies and gender roles are often the sites of conflict."
The symposium opens with a keynote address by Suad Joseph, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Davis, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 7, third floor, Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana. Joseph's talk, titled "Family Gender and State in the Middle East and South Asia," is sponsored in part by the Center for Advanced Study's George A. Miller Programs Committee.
The symposium continues the following two days, with sessions scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in 405 Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.
Program details are available on the Web .
Also planned, on Oct. 22, is WGGP's fall symposium, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in 314 Illini Union. The theme of this year's event, which is free and open to the public, is "Gender and Transnational Care Work."
Specialists from different fields will come together at the symposium to explore gender issues associated with transnational care, a global trend characterized by migration patterns in which individuals move - usually from Third World to First World countries - to work as nannies, caretakers for the elderly, or as health-care providers.
"The workers, many of them women, comprise part of a chain of caring labor that often requires them to find others to watch their own children or aging parents at lower wages," said WGGP director Gale Summerfield.
Keynote speaker Nancy Folbre, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will present her talk on "Android Dreams and Transnational Care Work," at 4 p.m. Folbre, who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1998, will address efforts in Japan and the United States to develop robots to provide care, as well as alternatives such as transnational migration. Her talk is sponsored in part by the CAS/MillerComm lecture series.
More information about the WGGP symposium is available online.