Duke Feminist Theory Workshop
Hesford Receives Fellowship
Women’s and Gender Studies Majors Joy Virga and Brittany Kalosza Participate in Global Water Brigades
Beverley Birns Seminar Room Dedication Ceremony
Call for Papers


Duke Feminist Theory Workshop

Poster for Duke FTW 2011By Kristin Hole, Graduate Certificate Student

Each Spring, Duke’s feminist theory workshop invites four intellectually and interdisciplinarily exciting feminist scholars to give a talk, accompanied by one smaller seminar session where attendees are divided into groups to discuss the issues that arise from the lectures over the course of the two-day proceedings. This format provides a nice break from the typical conference- attendees do not have the pressure of having to give a talk of their own hanging over their heads and can concentrate their energies on taking in the exciting and generative scholarship of the presenters and appreciating the rich theoretical and methodological inheritance of contemporary feminist scholarship. Ranjana Khanna, the head of Women’s Studies at Duke, made my weekend by drawing on affect in relation to Freud’s writing on anxiety in her introductory remarks. The speakers this year included Pheng Cheah, who discussed the politics of recognition and the changing nature of the biopolitical in relation to South East Asian female migrant workers, and Rosalind C. Morris, who gave a talk on Gertrude Stein and war with many an intellectual detour along the way.

The highlights of this year’s workshop were Annamarie Jagose’s sophisticated and seductive discussion of Orgasmology as the taboo subject of Queer Theory—the orgasm being the object she circled around throughout her talk and never gave us, leaving attendees in a state of intellectual yearning, and the indescribable Donna Haraway, whose jubilant - might I say ‘orgasmic’ - and inspiring discussion of the relations between human and animal through the figure of the cat’s cradle as a feminist methodology evinced the kind of confidence, joy, and intellectual creativity that are the product of the work that scholars such as herself have done over the years to establish Women’s Studies as a vital interdisciplinary force in the academy. Haraway reminded us all of the pleasure of learning and the curiosity that have brought us all to the university and was refreshingly free of disciplinary allegiance, allowing her to do truly original work. Rosalind C. Morris emphasized that we don’t learn about the world from reading Stein. We learn to learn about the world from reading Stein. This in many ways gestures to the importance of both feminist scholarship and the humanities in the academy—these are some of the key sites in which students, of all ages, learn to learn and unlearn about the world and hopefully in the process discover the pleasure that learning brings.



Hesford Receives Fellowship
Professor Victoria Hesford has received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Women's Studies Program at Duke University on the "The Future of the Feminist 1970s." She will be in residence at Duke for the 2011-2012 academic year.



Women’s and Gender Studies Majors Joy Virga and Brittany Kalosza Participate in Global Water Brigades
Students with the Stony Brook chapter of Global Water Brigades recently travelled to a remote village community near Tegucigalpa in the mountains of Honduras (January 16-22) to participate in a week-long public health project. These include undergraduates Brianna DiMasso, Jose Hernandez, Nicole Izzo, Brittany Kalosza, Juhyun Kim, Elizabeth Lugten, Laura Morella, Anna Veit, and Joy Marie Virga; Danielle Zori (graduate student), and the club’s faculty advisor, Distinguished Service Professor Malcolm Bowman of the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS). Working together with a Global Water Brigades team from Johns Hopkins University, SB’s Water Brigadeers took up shovels and pick axes, dug trenches, and experienced first hand what it was to be part of a large-scale public health/infrastructure project for installing a potable water reticulation system." An exhibit on the Global Water Brigades/Honduras project was presented at Earthstock on April 29.

Two student participants, Brittany Kalosza (a dual Sociology & Women's Studies major) and Anna Veit (a Marine Sciences major) spoke to Karen Kernan, URECA Director, about their life-changing experiences. Read the full feature and interview.



 Birns Seminar Room and Library Dedication
By Sarah Hall Sternglantz

 Beverly BirnsOn Friday, November 19th, 2010, the Birns Seminar Room and Library was dedicated in honor of Beverly Birns, PhD. Dr. Birns, working with Dr. Judith Wishnia, was the founder of Stony Brook’s Women’s Studies Program. The Birns Seminar Room was funded in order to improve the Women’s and Gender Studies library, and to provide audio-visual resources for use in teaching and in developing gender-related oral history projects. The room was funded by donations from her colleagues, her family, and many of her former students.

The dedication ceremony began in the Wang Center as the audience was too large for the Birns Room, located in the Women’s and Gender Studies offices in Melville Library. In addition to words by honoree Dr. Beverly Birns, the numerous speakers included Dr. Mary Jo Bona, chair of WaGS, Dean Nancy Squires of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Sarah Hall Sternglanz, recently retired Undergraduate Director for the program’s major and minor, Dr. Susan Birns, Beverly Birns’ daughter and a professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and many colleagues and former students who had returned for the occasion to thank her for her mentoring. The ceremony continued at the Birns Seminar Room and Library with the official ribbon cutting by Dr. Birns and a reception.

Dr. Birns came to Stony Brook’s Education Department as an already well known developmental psychologist, who had studied for a time with Jean Piaget. She moved to the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (SSI) program and won an award from the Society for Research in Child Development for a fellowship in the office of New York Congressman Charles Rangel. In the 1970’s she worked with Marian Wright Edelman supervising the local research that fed into the Children’s Defense Fund, as well as helping create Stony Brook’s daycare program. While in the SSI program, Dr. Birns developed both the Women’s Studies Program and the minor in Children and Family Studies. Dr. Birns has been both a scholar and an activist her entire life, and her books form the core of the Women’s and Gender Studies library collection. This seminar room and library are an extremely appropriate token of appreciation for her years of service to the program.




Call for Papers

Experience, Echo, Event: Theorizing Feminist Histories

A special issue for Feminist Theory

Editors: Lisa Diedrich and Victoria Hesford

Deadline for submissions is August 1, 2011

In order to mark the 20th anniversary of Joan Scott’s groundbreaking essay, “The Evidence of Experience,” first published in Critical Inquiry in 1991, we are editing a special issue of Feminist Theory on “Experience, Echo, Event: Theorizing Feminist Histories.” Scott’s essay re-conceived the theory and practice of doing history, taking “experience” itself as a category of and for analysis, and in doing so deftly transformed the key arguments of feminist and social historians for making visible the histories of marginalized individuals and groups. The special issue in Feminist Theory will take up anew the concept “experience,” exploring how this key term and Scott’s now classic historicization of it, has developed twenty years on. We propose to revisit the concept and evidence of “experience” by thinking it with and against more recent developments in feminist historical studies and theory, including Scott’s and others work on the “echo,” as well as Tani Barlow’s work on the “event” of “women” in modern history. By juxtaposing work that utilizes and transforms these three concepts, we hope to point to new interdisciplinary theories and methods of doing feminist history.

This special issue grows out of a symposium at Stony Brook University in 2010, and will include papers from Professors Scott and Barlow. Along with their work, we are committed to including a wide variety of feminist voices in the issue—from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields, as well as from scholars working across multiple national and transnational contexts. We welcome contributions from historians, sociologists, and anthropologists, but also hope to include essays from scholars in literature, cultural studies, and women’s and gender studies. The special issue will be published in late 2012. Deadline for submissions is August 1, 2011. Manuscripts should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words and using the Harvard bibliographic style. Inquiries and submissions should be sent to Lisa Diedrich at

Possible topics for special issue might include:

  • “Experience” as object of/for feminist theory and history
  • Repetition/reverberation/anachronism in feminism
  • Fantasy echoes of/in political struggles
  • Rethinking (again) the category “women”
  • Historical and/or literary catachreses as feminist method
  • Problematizing presentism in feminist theory
  • Future anterior in feminist theory
  • Theories of the event for feminist theory (psychoanalytic, Badiouan, Deleuzian)
  • Case studies of specific events of women in history
  • Feminist identities vs. feminist practices




Upcoming Events

Spring 2012

Feminist Campus Colloquium

Salander/Blomkvist: Challenging Stereotypes in the Millennium Trilogy
Linda Stein
, artist, and Michael Kimmel, Distinguished Professor, Sociology

January 25, Wednesday 12:50 - 2:10 pm
Co-sponsored with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook

Humanities 1006



Women's and Gender Studies • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355 • Phone: 631.632.7460
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