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Women's Center

Women's Center
University of Idaho
Memorial Gym, Rm 109
Fax: 208.885.6285

Mailing Address:
Women's Center
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1064
Moscow, ID 83844-1064

Women & Gender Brown Bag Series

Highlighting scholarship and creative work in our community.

12:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Panorama Room, Idaho Commons

Fall 2015 Schedule

September 29

Scientific Autonomy and Gender
presented by Dilshani Sarathchandra

The Scientific community considers autonomy to be essential; scientific progress requires that scientists, research groups, and scientific organizations be allowed to make decisions about their work free from outside interference. However, restrictions to autonomy abound in contemporary science. Various external restrictions (such as government control) are imposed on autonomy in order to prevent harm to people, society, or the environment, or to promote social goods. This presentation explores how scientists frame autonomy in their research. Results of a survey-based study on scientists' decision-making processes indicate that positionality categories such as gender, race, and academic rank matter in self-defined estimates of autonomy. Particularly notable, are gender variations in definitions of autonomy as well as criteria that determine scientists' problem choices.

Dilshani Sarathchandra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Idaho. She works in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies. Her primary research examines the nature of decision-making in in science, with an emphasis on how psychosocial, demographic, and trans-scientific predictors impact scientific decisions and science communication. Her overall intellectual agenda is to enhance our sociological understanding of how social, political, and economic dynamics influence the practice of science and development of new technologies.

October 27

Demoiselles in the City: Women's Titles, Medieval Cities, and Marital Status
presented by Ellen Kittel

In the late Middle Ages, Flanders (the western part of modern-day Belgium) was the economic center of northern Europe, and most urbanized region north of Italy. It also became perhaps the only place in Europe where women, routinely appearing in the documents of daily life, did not typically describe themselves as attached to a man. Here, titles - Demiselle, Joncvrauwe, Dame, and Vrauwe - borne particularly by urban women denoted their class, not their marital status. Inheritance practices, which did not privilege men over women or husbands over wives, enabled women to establish sufficient economic and social independence that their names could stand as last names, like male names throughout the rest of Europe did.

Ellen Kittell is a Professor of History at the University of Idaho. She earned her PhD from the University of Illinois, teaches and researches about pre-modern women, specifically in Flanders. She was able, in the study "Death and Taxes: Mortmain Payments and the Authority of the Count in Fourteenth-Century Flanders," to use almost exclusively, examples of women. She tries not to compare the situation of women with anything other than the situation of other women.

November 17

Activism in the Fiction of Contemporary Native American Women Writers
presented by Jan Johnson

A dirty, little secret of the European colonization of the Americas is the targeting of indigenous women as "inherently rapeable" and the use of sexual violence as a tool of genocide and colonialism. Colonization caused an enormous loss of power and respect for Native American women, and they have suffered, and continue to suffer, extreme levels of violence. Contemporary Native women writers including Debra Magpie Earling in her novel Perma Red (2002), and Louise Erdrich in The Round House (2012), make this mostly hidden history visible and in doing so, create empathy in readers. This talk provides an overview of indigenous gender relations prior to colonization, explores the ideology that rationalizes the rape of Indian women, discusses the concepts of Indigenous feminism, and surveys recent legislation designed to provide justice for Native women. Finally, it considers the power of literature to contribute to the struggle for social justice and the recovery of healthy and safe Indigenous communities.

Dr. Jan Johnson is a Clinical Assistant Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Idaho, where she teaches courses on Native American Literature, Film, and Contemporary Issues. She has published articles on historical trauma in the work of Sherman Alexie, environmental justice, Colombia River dams and tribal literatures, and Nez Perce jazz bands. She is co-editor of Indigenous Pop: Native American Musicians and Musical Genres forthcoming from University of Arizona Press. She also produces the University of Idaho's American Indian Film Festival, Sapaatk'ayn Cinema, now in its 13th year. She lives in Lewiston, Idaho where she studies the Nez Perce language at LCSC.

The Women and Gender Brown Bag Series is co-sponsored by:
The Women’s Center
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program