Jan. 12: The State of Eugenics: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

The State of Eugenics: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Thursday, January 12, 5:00PM
Porter Byrum Welcome Center
Kulynych Auditorium
1834 Wake Forward Road

Facebook event page

For much of the 20th century, eugenics was a widely-accepted practice in the U.S., endorsed by the Supreme Court in the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision. Thirty states sterilized citizens with the aim of reducing poverty and getting rid of “the unfit.” North Carolina ran one of the most aggressive eugenics programs, sterilizing more than 7,600 men, women and children between 1933 and 1974. The State of Eugenics follows the journey of survivors, legislators, and journalists working together to obtain compensation for the survivors of these injustices.

Following the screening, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry will moderate a panel comprising the film’s director/producer Dawn Sinclair Shapiro, former chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Compensation Dr. Laura Gerald, Winston-Salem Journal editorial-page editor John Railey, journalist Tommy Tomlinson, and former N.C. Representative Larry Womble.

The State of Eugenics poster, 12-9

CFP – 6th Annual Student Symposium on Gender and Sexuality: Feminist Solidarities (Due Jan. 30)

Please see the complete CFP for the 6th Annual Student Research Symposium on Gender and Sexuality!

~ Call for Papers ~

Sixth Annual Student Research Symposium on Gender and Sexuality
FEMINIST SOLIDARITIES: Challenging Systems of Oppression and Privilege
Deadline for submissions: January 30, 2017

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Wake Forest University will host its sixth annual student research symposium on gender and sexuality, featuring moderated sessions of scholarly and creative presentations by Wake Forest students. This event will showcase the exciting work that our undergraduates and graduate students are doing on gender-related issues across disciplines.

This year’s theme is: “Feminist Solidarities: Challenging Systems of Oppression and Privilege.” The theme can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Systems of oppression are built around what are understood to be “norms” in our societies. A norm signifies what is “normal,” acceptable, and desirable in a society. It is also given a position of dominance, privilege and power over what is defined as non-dominant, abnormal and therefore marginal or not valuable. It is important to understand how all forms of oppression are linked and how they intersect to shape socio-political landscapes and personal identities. These intersecting systems of power and privilege include, but are not limited to, sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and colonialism. In order to confront and overturn systems of oppression we must become active also by nurturing relationships with others who share our feminist goals and simultaneously work across boundaries of difference to promote change. For this symposium, we invite presentations that address a vision of equality attentive to power differences, and engaged in constructive dialogue, resistance, and collective action.

Papers may fall under a broad variety of subfields including (but not limited to): religion, politics/law, history, business, science/medicine, sexuality studies, sociology, psychology, literature, visual and performing arts, and poverty studies. Proposals involving poster sessions, creative exhibits, performances, and video clips are also welcome. Presentations may vary in length depending on format but should not exceed 10 minutes (plus five minutes for discussion). Students from all departments, schools, and programs are invited to participate.

To apply, please send a 1-page typed abstract that briefly describes the proposed topic and explains how it relates to this year’s theme and the field of gender and/or sexuality studies more broadly. Abstracts should also include the student’s name, contact information, a tentative title, and the name of the professor with whom you are working or have worked (if applicable). Include the student’s contact information in the abstract. Please “share” abstracts via Google Drive with Dr. Wanda Balzano (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Dr. Liz Gandolfo (Divinity, Do not send abstracts by email. Please name your document “Feminist Solidarities, (Your Name).”

Co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University

A Message from the Chair of WGS Regarding the 2016 Election

Dear and valued friends at Wake Forest,

The time leading up to the election was a very difficult one. President-elect Trump persistently made offensive comments about women, about the disabled, about Hispanics, about Muslims, about African Americans, and about many others. During these past few days, so many members of our community came to our office or met us at the walk-out rally on Friday, to cry, to share grief and fear over the relevant fact that they feel threatened and not safe in a new climate of threats and amid displays of hegemonic power, and, above all, over the fact that other fellow human beings would uphold those values of bigotry and hate, of misogyny and sexism, of racism and intolerance, and use them in language and actions designed to offend and attack other fellow human beings. We all know how dangerous it is to embrace values of hatred. Inciting violence can only produce more violence.

The mission at the heart of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is, above all, to “reject hatred and bigotry in any form.” For this reason, we cannot maintain a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes and acts of racism, sexism, misogyny, and intolerance of any kind. This is no longer politics. It is civil discourse. We can only hope that President-elect Trump would reach out to those whom he denigrated, and begin to apologize for his vicious attacks, thus creating a counter-trend.

In Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies we will carry on with our mission. We will need to stand up for the values of tolerance and respect, for diversity and difference. More than ever before, in our teaching and scholarly research, we are compelled to fight for social justice and defend the very values of democracy that are at the basis of civil society, as well as at the basis of our institutional, pro humanitate goals.

In WGS we will continue to work hard to promote the mission of social justice through the study of gender at the intersections of issues of class, race, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. In the coming months, and beyond, we are going to work with Institutes and Centers at Wake and devote particular attention to academic courses and programs that will encourage critical thinking around such issues. It is time to roll up our sleeves again, and re-energize the ongoing feminist struggle against bigotry and hatred. We will not be silent.

We hope you will be with us, in numbers, and in spirit.

Wanda Balzano
Chair and Associate Professor
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Wake Forest University

WGS Alumni Profile: Alexandra Hollifield

alexandra-hollifieldAlexandra Hollifield graduated from Wake Forest University in 2013 with double majors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Science. She received the WGS department’s Senior Leadership Award in 2013.

What has been your career path since graduating?

After graduating from Wake Forest, I went on to get my Master’s degree in Community Development and Action at Vanderbilt University.  I worked for a year during grad school as a part-time Graduate Assistant at the Vanderbilt Women’s Center, then became a full-time Program Coordinator in fall 2014.  I spent the next two years facilitating workshops, roundtable discussions, and programming around topics including body image and disordered eating, sexuality education and healthy relationships, and perfectionism and mental health.  My biggest professional accomplishment during my time at Vanderbilt was launching an initiative called the Vanderbilt [IM]Perfection Project, which aims to create a campus culture where students can celebrate their successes and their failures and seeks to bring awareness of failure and setbacks as a healthy part of every student’s college experience.  The launch of the project in Spring 2016 included bringing Dr. Brené Brown to speak at Vanderbilt and collaboratively organizing a student “speak-out” panel, where several Vanderbilt students stood in front of over 200 of their peers and told their stories of failure and imperfection.  This initiative was largely inspired by my experiences at Wake Forest, where there is also a culture of effortless perfection–particularly for young women.I recently left my role at Vanderbilt to start a new adventure as the statewide Prevention Coordinator for the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.  I believe that comprehensive primary prevention efforts–including healthy sexuality and healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and healthy masculinity programming–are the key to ending sexual violence.  I am thrilled about this new chapter and am excited to continue feminist social justice work in Kentucky!

How has your training in WGS influenced your career?

I truly would not be where I am today without Women’s and Gender Studies at Wake Forest.  Academically, all of the writing that I did in my WGS classes prepared me incredibly well for graduate-level coursework.  Having constant discussions around intersectionality with my fellow WGS classmates and professors prepared me for my role at Vanderbilt as well as my current position.  I constantly strive to be aware of my own identities and privilege and to make my work as inclusive as possible.  The theoretical framework that I learned in classes such as The Politics of Women’s Bodies helped me easily transition from theory to practice in facilitating programs on body image, eating disorders, and sexuality.  Finally, WGS provided me with several opportunities to present on papers and research at various conferences during my time at Wake Forest and these experiences helped prepare me for public speaking, presenting, and facilitating.  A huge shout-out to Dr. Mary DeShazer for being the most incredible and inspiring professor, mentor, and friend I had during my time at Wake.  I will forever be grateful.

 Profiled November 2016.