1136 Lane Hall
204 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Phone: 734–764–9537
Fax: 734–764–9533


Conferences & Symposia

Click on a conference or symposium title to see more information.

2015-16 Academic Year

Community of Scholars Symposium
Friday, October 30, 2015

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9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

2239 Lane Hall

Summer 2015 Community of Scholars fellows present their research.

Welcome/Opening Remarks (8:50-9:00 a.m.)

Panel 1. Materialities (9:00-10:30 a.m.)
Panel Chair: Kriztina Fehervary (Department of Anthropology)

  • Katie Lennard (American Culture), “Made in American: Violence, Industry, and the Bodies of the Ku Klux Klan 1902-1940”
  • Meghanne Barker (Anthropology), “Living with Dolls: Objects and Animation, Affect, and Aesthetics” Monique Bourdage (Communication Studies), “The Playboy Pad: Negotiating Gender and Domestic Space in Postwar Magazines”

Panel 2. Accounting for Gendered Sexuality (10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)
Panel Chair: Alex Stern (Departments of History, American Culture and Obstetrics and Gynecology)

  • Jamie Budnick (Sociology), “The New Gay Science: The (Re)Emergence of Biological and Genetic Theories of Sexuality”
  • Rita Seabrook (Psychology and Women’s Studies), “Greek Life and Gender Strife: The Relation between Fraternity Culture and Traditional Sexual Scripts, Sexual Violence, and Objectification of Women”
  • Emily Youatt (Health Behavior and Health Education), “Coming Out to Your Doctor: Interrogating Sexual Orientation Disclosure in Clinical Encounters”

LUNCH (provided): 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Please register for lunch here.

Panel 3. Policing Sexuality (1:00-2:30 p.m.)
Panel Chair: Ruby Tapia (Departments of Women’s Studies and English)

  • Cassius Adair (English), “States of Identification: Gender Variance, Racial Rhetoric, and the Politics of the Photo ID”
  • Duygu Ula (Comparative Literature), “Ayse Loves Fatma: Representations of Lesbian (in)Visibility from Turkey”
  • Cristian Capotescu (History), “Mitigating the Effects and Legacies of Abortion Bans and Economic Austerity: Humanitarian Aid for Romania in the 1980s and 1990s”

Panel 4. Missionaries and Movements (2:30-4:00 p.m.)
Panel Chair: Damani Partridge (Departments of Afro and Afro-American Studies and Anthropology)

  • Nevila Pahumi (History), “Of Women, Faith, and Nation: American Protestantism and the Kyrias School for Girls, Albania, 1891-1933”
  • Rebecca Mandell (Health Behavior and Health Education), “Exploring Intersectional Approaches between the Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice Movements"
  • Jessica Lowen (Anthropology), “Good Girls, Bad Acts: How Sex-Workers-Turned-Missionaries are Redefining Moral Personhood in Detroit”

2014-15 Academic Year

Promoting the Well-Being of Student-Athletes: What the Research Tells Us
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

3:00 - 5:00 PM
Reception to follow.

1430 Institute for Social Research
426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan and the NCAA are both engaged in a number of studies and interventions to improve the well-being of student athletes. Learn about the results of those studies as well as new questions and data for future research. 

Presented by the Institute for Social Research, IRWG, and the NCAA.

Speakers (click on the speaker's name to view his/her presentation):

  • Lydia Bell, Associate Director of Research, NCAA
    • "Using NCAA Data to Understand Student-Athlete Well-Being"
  • Philip Veliz, Research Assistant Professor, IRWG
    • "Competitive Sports Participation and Substance Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Making Sense of a Paradox"
  • Daniel Eisenberg, Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health and Population Studies Center
    • "Athletes Connected: Supporting Mental Health Among Student Athletes"
  • Susan Jekielek, Director, NCAA Archive, Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
    • "Sharing Data and the NCAA Student-Athlete Experiences Data Archive"


  • Tom Paskus, Principal Research Scientist, NCAA
  • Darryl Conway, Associate Athletic Director--Student Athlete Health and Welfare, University of Michigan

Thursday, March 26, 2015
New Articulations / New Translations: Feminist Research Activism Facilitated Conference

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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Rackham Assembly Hall & Conference Rooms (4th Floor)

This daylong conference will address the intersections of feminist research and activism, convening scholars engaged with community, advocacy, and policy work in the areas of prisons, reproductive justice, trans identities and studies, and new media.

This event is planned as a facilitated working conference with ample time for small and large group discussion.

Registration requested: feministresearchactivism.eventbrite.com


8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, & Program for the Day
Sarah Fenstermaker, IRWG Director
Alexandra Minna Stern, Ob/Gyn, History, American Culture, Women's Studies

How does feminist and queer analysis provide insight into the multiple oppressions of the prison system and carceral logics? How can these insights be practically communicated, and practically deployed to address these oppressions? How can we apply feminist and queer optics to the “New Jim Crow” through empirical studies, artistic practice, and more?

VALERIE JENNESS, Social Ecology, Criminology, and Sociology; University of California-Irvine  
REUBEN MILLER, Social Work; University of Michigan

Moderator: Ashley Lucas, Theatre & Drama, Prison Creative Arts Project; University of Michigan   

10:00 - 10:45 a.m. PANEL 2: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
How can Reproductive Justice be advanced by feminist evidence-based research? What are the core elements of such research? How can we creatively respect and trouble the RJ research/activism divide?

KHIARA BRIDGES, Law, Anthropology; Boston University  
JOHANNA SCHOEN, History; Rutgers University

Moderator: Lisa Harris, Obstetrics & Gynecology; University of Michigan

11:00 - 11:45 a.m. FACILITATED BREAKOUT SESSIONS - East & West Conference Rooms

11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Break

What are models of community-based research that empower trans activists and communities? How is trans scholarship and writing pushing the boundaries of queer and gender studies? How can feminist queer research address issues of stigma, violence, and hope in trans North America?

DAN IRVING, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies; Carleton University  
CRISTAN WILLIAMS, Managing Editor, TransAdvocate.com

Moderator: Eric Plemons, Anthropology; University of Michigan

2:00 - 2:45 p.m. PANEL 4: NEW MEDIA ACTIVISM
How do new media and social media do feminist work? How can feminist digital studies challenge and change the terms of engagement in digital media and formats? – from blogging to video games? Where is feminist new media activism heading and where do we want to go?

MONICA CASPER, Gender & Women's Studies, University of Arizona; The Feminist Wire, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism
SUSANA MORRIS, English, Auburn University; The Crunk Feminist Collective

Moderator: Maria Cotera, American Culture, Women's Studies; University of Michigan

3:00 - 3:45 p.m. FACILITATED BREAKOUT SESSIONS - East & West Conference Rooms

3:45 - 4:45 p.m. Large Group Discussion & Closing
Alexandra Minna Stern, Ob/Gyn, History, American Culture, Women's Studies; University of Michigan

4:45 - 6:00 p.m. Reception


Friday, January 30, 2015
The Data of Life Writing: Gender, Race, and the Digital

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2239 Lane Hall, 204 S. State Street, Ann Arbor

Register: dataoflifewriting.eventbrite.com

Contemporary explorations of life writing, capaciously defined, unfold by means of new methodologies and theoretical frameworks. Online platforms have released an unprecedented flood of public writing about the self, and scholars have developed ways to navigate the stream. At the same time, digitizing the auto/biographical record affords scholars new avenues for analysis of life writing genres at scale.

This one-day conference showcases research by renowned scholars investigating life writing in and through digital environments, as well as emerging work by University of Michigan graduate students. Gender and race serve as critical frames for the day's discussion.


9:00 a.m. -- Breakfast

9:20 a.m. -- Welcome

9:30 a.m. -- Alison Booth (English, University of Virginia)

10:30 a.m. -- Coffee Break

10:45 a.m. -- Lightning Talks by U-M Graduate Students

    Faithe Day (Communications)
    Jina Kim (English and Women's Studies)
    Liz Rodrigues (English)
    Emily Waples (English)
    Jessica Zychowicz (Slavic Languages & Literatures)

12:15 - 1:30 p.m. -- Lunch at Humanties Institute Atrium

1:30 p.m. -- Aimée Morrison (English, University of Waterloo)

2:40 - 3:00 p.m. -- Discussion Wrap Up

This conference is presented by the Institute for the Humanities and IRWG.

Friday, November 14, 2014
IRWG/Rackham Community of Scholars Symposium

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2239 Lane Hall, 204 S. State Street, Ann Arbor

This symposium is the culmination of the 2014 Community of Scholars program, which is a four-month summer fellowship program supporting U-M graduate students who are engaged in research, scholarship, or other creative activities that focus on women and/or gender.

8:50 a.m.: Welcome Remarks

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Panel 1. Constraining Desires and Enabling Identities

Scott De Orio, History and Women’s Studies, “Gay Men, Liberal Politics, and the Transformation of Sex Offender Registration in California, 1947-1983”

Tiffany Ball, English and Women’s Studies, “Feeling Femininity in Modern Fiction”

Michelle Johns, Public Health, “Overlooked Assets: Body Size, Body Image, and Sexual Minority Women”

Panel Chair: Hitomi Tonomura, History and Women’s Studies

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Panel 2. Masculinity Trouble: Labor, Care, and Development

Gabriele Koch, Anthropology, “For the Sake of the Company: Healing and Labor in Tokyo’s Sex Industry"

Austin McCoy, History, “The Hardcore Unemployed: The Problem of Black Masculinity in the Urban Crisis”

Alison Joersz, Anthropology, “Getting Started: The Political Pragmatics of Gender in Haiti”

Panel Chair: Gayle Rubin, Anthropology and Women’s Studies

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.: LUNCH (provided)

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.: Panel 3. Mediatized Subjects

Johnny Berona, Psychology, “Social Media Engagement and LGBTQ Youth: Implications for Mental Health”

Timeka Tounsel, Communication Studies, “The Black Woman that Media Built”

Dahlia Petrus, Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies, “‘Becky from Babylon’ and Other Arab Women in the American Imagination”

Panel Chair: Lisa Nakamura, Screen Arts and Culture, Women’s Studies, English, American Culture

2:30 - 4:00 p.m.: Panel 4. Body Politics in (Post-)Colonial Discourses

Jodi Greig, Slavic Languages and Literatures, “The Queens of Lovetown”

Josh Hubbard, History and Women’s Studies, “Corporeal Colonization: Women, Children, and the Kuomintang”

Lamia Moghnieh, Social Work and Anthropology, “Feminist Activism for a Society Free from Violence”

Panel Chair: Sara McClelland, Psychology and Women’s Studies

Friday, October 24, 2014
Understanding the Neoliberal State: Feminism, Inequality and Social Change

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2239 Lane Hall
Keynote Address in Rackham Assembly Hall

Cosponsors: Department of Political Science, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of Women's Studies, Latina/o Studies, Center for South Asian Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Sociology

In recent years, a great deal of academic research has focused on the negative effects of neo-liberalism and neo-liberal economic policies. Such scholarship often presumes the retreat or decline of the state. "Neo-liberalism" in this context often takes on a deterministic and ghostly character -- acting as a primary agent that reshapes socio-economic and cultural practices and permeates all forms of political life. However, research in comparative and historical contexts provides a more complex picture of the nature and causes of inequality. States, while restructured in varying ways, continue to play a central role in shaping the causes and responses to inequality. The nature of state formation affects processes of economic restructuring. Social movements that respond to various forms of inequality are immersed in complicated political dynamics with both the state and transnational and national capitalist actors. The objective of this symposium is to move beyond surface invocations of "neoliberalism" and provide an in-depth working group on the nature and practices of the post-liberalization state from historical, comparative and transnational perspectives.

Symposium Schedule

9:15-9:30 AM Introductory Remarks

Leela Fernandes, Women’s Studies and Political Science, University of Michigan, “Myths of the Vanishing Neoliberal State”

9:30-11:30 AM Panel 1: Restructuring the State, Civil Society and Public Life

Lamia Karim, Anthropology, University of Oregon, “Unsilenced State, Silenced NGOs: The State and the Grameen Bank in Neoliberal Bangladesh”

Ujju Aggarwal, Institute for Urban Policy and Research Analysis, University of Texas, Austin, “The Politics of Choice: Race, Class, Gender and the Structuring of Citizenship Post-Brown Vs. Board of Education”

Nancy Naples, Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Connecticut, “What’s in a Word?: Austerity, Precarity, Neoliberalism and Traveling Theory”

2-4:00 PM Panel 2: State Interventions

Dolly Daftary, School of Social Work, Western Michigan University

Christina Heatherton, American Studies, Trinity College, “When Your Only Tool is a Hammer, Every Problem Looks Like a Nail: Neoliberal Problem Solving From Ferguson and Beyond”

Amy Lind, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Cincinnati, “After Neoliberalism?: Resignifying Economy, Nation and Family in Ecuador’s Citizen Revolution”

Moderator: Suzanne Bergeron, Women’s and Gender Studies and Social Sciences, University of Michigan, Dearborn

4:30 PM Keynote Address at Rackham Assembly Hall

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies and Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics,” Graduate Center, City University of New York, “The State in the Struggle, the Struggle in the State: Institutional Contradictions Versus Neoliberal Displacements”

Register at neoliberalstate.eventbrite.com

2013-14 Academic Year

Monday, February 3, 2014
Gender and Sexuality in Law and Religion Symposium

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Rackham Graduate School, Assembly Hall
915 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor

As gender has taken a prominent place in scholarly considerations of social issues, it has troubled the relationship between faith traditions and the law. Recent research on gender has prompted rethinking of both religious traditions and legal frameworks. Scholars of religion have recognized the challenges that shifting gender norms have brought to religious legal traditions even as lawyers have increasingly paid attention to those religious legal traditions. New patterns of behaviors have disrupted previously accepted and relatively unquestioned religious assumptions, and challenged practices inside and outside the courtroom. The politics of gender has disrupted previously accepted and relatively unquestioned religious assumptions.

This symposium explores the complex intersections of religious norms and values as they confront both religious and secular legal frameworks.

Sponsored by: The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, Institute for Research on Women & Gender


9:00-9:30        Introductions
Deborah Dash Moore and Deborah Keller-Cohen

9:30-11:00      Session I:  LEGAL SEX
Chair: Marjorie Lehman, Frankel Institute Fellow, University of Michigan; Jewish Theological Seminary

Max Strassfeld, Frankel Institute, University of Michigan – “Claiming Queer Pasts: Hermaphrodites, Intersexuality, and Queer Bodies in Rabbinic Literature”

Marion Katz, New York University – “Reconfiguring Muslim Marriage: Sex as a Marital Right and Duty”

Discussant: Rachel Neis, University of Michigan

11:00-11:15    BREAK

11:15-1:00      Session II:  SEXUAL POLITICS
Chair: Daniel Ramirez, University of Michigan

Rachel Kranson, Frankel Institute Fellow, University of Michigan – “Religious Freedom or a Woman’s Right: The Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and the Politics of Reproduction, 1967-1982”
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University – “Gendering the Religious/Secular Divide: Religious Accommodation and Gender Inequality in Secular Law”

Discussant: Jessica Marglin, University of Michigan

1:00-2:30        LUNCH

2:30-4:00        Session III:  CRIMES OF PASSION
Chair: Margo Schlanger, University of Michigan

Ava Chamberlin, Wright State University – “The Crime of Passion: Sex and Order in the Christian Household”

Catherine Warrick, Villanova University – “Is Fury Better Than Lust? Passion and the Law in Muslim Countries”

Discussant: Fatma Muge Gocek, University of Michigan

Moderator: Beth Wenger, Frankel Institute Convening Head Fellow, University of Michigan

Round Table with:
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Marie Griffith, Washington University
Karla Goldman, University of Michigan
Michael Bonner, University of Michigan

5:30-6:30        RECEPTION (open to the public)

Friday, December 6, 2013

IRWG/Rackham Community of Scholars Symposium

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2239 Lane Hall

The Community of Scholars is made up of recipients of 2013 summer fellowships from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Rackham Graduate School for graduate students pursuing research, scholarship, or creative activities focusing on women and/or gender.

IRWG is committed to creating environments in which communities of scholars come together for cross-disciplinary exchange. To that end, the fellows participated in a weekly seminar in May and June 2013, during which they discussed their work-in-progress. In July and August, they dispersed for research and writing. The fellows reconvene for the Community of Scholars Symposium, an opportunity to share the product of their summer’s work with each other and a broader audience. The fellows have designed the panels for this symposium to showcase the conversations across disciplines and fields about scholarship on women and gender that emerged from the 2013 seminar.

Symposium Schedule:

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.: Conversations
Moderator: Irina Aristarkhova, Associate Professor of Art & Design, History of Art, and Women’s Studies

Ruth McAdams, English - “Conversation and ‘Conversation’: British Women Writers Look Back on the Regency”

Lauren Reed, Psychology and School of Social Work - “Texting, Tweeting, and Sexting: The Role of Gender in Digital Dating Abuse”

Benjamin Pollak, English - “Under the Sign of the Ghetto: Anzia Yezierska and the ‘Jewish Literary Scene in New York.’”

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Sacred and Liminal Spaces
Moderator: Victor Mendoza, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and English

Jina Kim, English and Women’s Studies - “The Garden in the Machine: Grace Lee Boggs, the Catherine Ferguson Academy, and Detroit's Urban-Agrarian Future”

John Gutoskey, Art & Design - “I Can See Queerly Now”

Marie Stango, History - “‘The reliance that was to be placed in letters’: Education and Writing in Early Liberia”

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.: Performing Desire
Moderator: Magdalena Zaborowska, Professor of American Culture and Afroamerican and African Studies

Matthieu Dupas, Romance Languages and Literatures - “Postsexuality, or Love After Sexuality in Virginie Despentes' Rape Me (2002).”

Mejdulene Shomali, American Culture - “Dancing in the Diaspora: Samia Gamal’s Ephemeral Legacy”

Katya Mishuris, History - “A Mind-Reading Girl, Psychophysical Energy, and Altered States at the Fin-de-Siècle Russia”

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.: Contact Zones: Imperial Circuits of Bodies, Texts, and Ideas
Moderator: Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Associate Professor of American Culture and History

Nicole Greer Golda, History and Women’s Studies - "'We are going to make better men for future generations': Industrial Americanization and the Manly Immigrant Worker in Detroit"

Neveser Koker, Political Science - “‘Women’s Progress within Islam’: Interpretation of Religion and Tradition in Ladies’ Own Gazette”

Amanda Healy, English and Women’s Studies - “‘Making history with our men’: Elizabeth Custer's Military Domesticity”