The Scholar & Feminist 2013: Utopia Barnard Center for Research on Women


The Scholar & Feminist 2013: Utopia 
Barnard Center for Research on Women 
Friday, March 1, 2013 at 6:30 PM - Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM (EST) New York, NY

“It was part of women’s long revolution. When we were breaking all the old hierarchies.”
—Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time

“I write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger. I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you.”

Gloria Anzaldúa,“Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers”

“We are impossible people… We’re being told that we’re politically unviable and impossible, we’re told that constantly, and yet I think there’s a space of possibility that exists in part because we are not yet included or recognized.”
—Dean Spade, “Trans Politics on a Neoliberal Landscape”

Utopia challenges us to imagine the impossible. Feminists have for years spoken of dreams, of excess, of revolution. Creating a space outside of what society makes available can be an act of survival in a culture that selectively grants and withholds the designation of full humanity. While many have shied away from the term “utopia,” wary of its uses as a cover for eugenics and other distinctly dystopian endeavors, this year’s Scholar & Feminist Conference argues that there is a consistent power that comes from confronting our desire–our “appetites and hunger”–for “spaces of possibility,” making “women’s long revolution… breaking all the old hierarchies.”

In concert with this theme, the conference format this year focuses on participation and collaboration. We’ll kick off the weekend with ascreening of Wu Tsang and Roya Rastegar’s film Wildness, a magical and explosive exploration of “safe space,” queer community, creativity, and class, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers. In Saturday’s workshops, community leaders from a wide range of fields facilitate opportunities for creativity and organizing through discussion and brainstorming. Workshop topics include:

  • community design
  • coalition & justice
  • remix culture
  • open education
  • feminist parenting
  • sci-fi/fantasy
  • prison abolition ending poverty
  • desiring change
  • climate change
  • food justice
  • intentional housing

Plenary presentations will be collaboratively produced and will intertwine academic, activist and artistic work and presentation-styles. Shaowen Bardzell, a pioneer in the field of feminist Human Computer Interaction, pairs with visual artist Youngsuk Altieri to present a feminist vision for the future of our lived environment. Pam McMichael of the Highlander Center teams up with social justice printmaker Melanie Cervantes of Dignidad Rebelde to show us what coalitional organizing could be at its best. And Marisa Rius, Director of the Program of Gender Studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, comes together with director and performer Jennifer Miller of Circus Amok! to explore feminist and queer pedagogies.

Participants include: Youngsuk Altieri, Indiana University, Human Computer Interaction-Design; Shaowen Bardzell, Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing; Melanie Cervantes, Dignidad Rebelde; Pam McMichael, The Highlander Center; Jennifer Miller, Circus Amok!; Marisa Belausteguigoitia Rius, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Wu Tsang, Filmmaker; Gwendolyn Beetham, Independent Scholar; K. Tempest Bradford, Writer; Francesca Coppa, Organization of Transformative Works; Design for America, Barnard College Chapter; Reina Gossett, Writer and activist; Amber Hollibaugh, Queers for Economic Justice; Ileana Jiménez,; Simone Kolysh, CUNY Graduate Center; Elisa Kreisinger,; Victoria Law, Writer; Rickke Mananzala, Activist; Pamela Phillips, Barnard Center for Research on Women; Kavitha Rao, The Common Fire Foundation; Roya Rastegar, Bryn Mawr College; Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law …and more!

And at the end of the day, we’ll gather for a reception and party. Barnard students will provide a “utopian” playlist as soundtrack. Join us to offer your thoughts and energies too.

This event is open to the public. Registration is required; there is a sliding scale fee – no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Scholarships: A small number of $40 scholarships are available to defray costs associated with attending the conference. for more information.

Venue is wheelchair accessible.

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posted : Wednesday, February 6th, 2013