Texas Tech’s Women’s and Gender Studies will hold its 34th annual conference beginning tomorrow. The theme for this year’s Conference on the Advancement of Women is Celebrating Latinas in Scholarship and Art.
The featured speakers for the three-day gathering are Norma Cantu, a researcher from Texas whose interests include border studies, and Favianna Rodriguez, an interdisciplinary artist and political activist from California.
Charlotte Dunham, the director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Tech, says the conference is an important part of an ongoing dialogue on research by those on and off campus. This year there are more than 80 presenters from Texas, the US and one from India.
“The conference is important because it’s a way of bringing women and scholars on women’s and gender issues, together in order to kind of learn from each other, create a synergy that supports learning and research,” Dunham says. “Also, because Lubbock is relatively isolated, it’s a chance for us to bring in prominent scholars on women’s issues to kind of enhance the debate.”
Today is the final day to register online to attend the conference. Registration can also be done at the conference’s registration table. There is a fee -- $15 for students and $25 for non-students -- only to attend tomorrow’s luncheon in the SUB’s Matador Room.
Some students will receive extra credit from their professors for attending the conference, says Tricia Earl, program manager of Women’s and Gender Studies. All students and Lubbock residents are invited and encouraged to come, she says.
“We can definitely tell when the students come for possible extra credit,” she says, “or they’re encouraged to come because of the research that’s being presented. So, a number of our faculty across campus—in addition to our affiliated faculty—encourage students to attend.”
The annual gathering began in 1984 as a small, in-house event that has since grown exponentially. More than 50 guest scholars and activists have spoken on campus since the conference’s inception.
Past keynote speakers included Gloria Steineim, writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer; Winona LaDuke, American activist, environmentalist, economist and writer; former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Ellen Goodman.
The conference begins at 4 p.m. tomorrow with an artist workshop led by Rodriguez. Space at the Helen Devitt Jones Print Studio at 602 Ave J is limited and registration is required. Rodriguez is the keynote speaker at Friday’s luncheon. Dunham shared her take on the California artist.
“She’s an artist slash activist from California, from Oakland,” Dunham says. “She does beautiful work supporting activism on behalf of the Latina community. So she’s going to talk about her art and the power of art.”
Between 9 a.m. and 6 pm Friday, presenters will share their research in concurrent sessions in the SUB.
Cantu will close the conference with a literary workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday in Room 201 in the English Building. Dunham offers a description of Cantu’s work and her topic as one of the conference’s speakers Friday.
“She is a distinguished scholar in borderlands’ issues and in particular she’s also focused her scholarship on one of the most prominent Latina feminist writers. So, she’s going to speak about her issues with being on the borderland—which for Latinas, means being not quite part of Mexico, but not quite part of America,” she says.
For more information, call 806-742-4335