Expanding the borders and boundaries in women’s studies

York’s Graduate Women’s Studies Student Association (GWSSA) will hold its second annual Women’s Studies Symposium. The event will take place today and tomorrow in the Founders Assembly Hall, room 152, Founders College located on York’s Keele campus. It is presented by GWSSA in conjunction with the York Centre for Feminist Research, York’s School of Women’s Studies and the York Graduate Program in Women’s Studies.

The symposium will focus on expanding the borders and boundaries within women’s studies. Opening remarks will be delivered at 9am today by Professor Sandra Pyke, graduate program director, Women’s Studies Program at York. Sheila Cavanagh, professor in the School of Social Sciences in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and a researcher in gender and sexuality studies, will present the keynote address, titled “Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies of Female Desire” at 9:30am. Using feminist, queer and psychoanalytic theory, Cavanagh will address the regulation of female desire; transgender and transsexuality; and representations of gender and sexuality in popular culture and contemporary sex museums. She is currently writing a book with the same working title.

The prizes for an undergraduate essay competition will be awarded at 7pm tonight, followed by a special performance by dub poet, actress and spoken word artist, d’bi young at 8pm. Both events will take place in the Graduate Students Association Lounge, 7th floor, Ross Bldg., located on York’s Keele campus.

Left: d’bi young

Thursday will feature a panel discussion titled “Borders and Boundaries in Women s Studies”. The panel discussion will take place at 10:45am. The symposium will wind down with a Feminist Fair at 6:30pm which will be followed by a Creative Showcase.

Some of the topics that will be discussed today include: Commodifying Gender: Negotiating Identity in the Age of the Consumer; Philosophy and the Feminist Enterprise; Beyond Obscenity; Women in Historical Literature; Queer Sexualities; Networks of Resistance; Community Psychology Comes to the Table: Feminism and Social Justice; and I Have Touched Cloth.

Topics of discussion for tomorrow’s session will include: Feminist Research Dilemmas; Bodies and Boundaries; Women and History; Racialized Cartographies of Gender: Work, Violence and Colonialism; “This is Jane. How can I help?” – Building Coalitions, Performing Activism; Feminist Theorizations of Nationalisms; and The Fight for Institutional Space.

There is a $15 registration fee for the symposium. For more information on the event, visit the Women’s Studies Symposium Web site, or e-mail gwssa_symposium@yahoo.ca. This event is fragrance free and wheelchair accessible.