Georgia State University’s Women’s Studies Institute is hosting the annual Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) conference this week (March 24-26).
The theme of the conference is “Structural Adjustments: Queering Privatization, Framing Disaster,” a particularly timely topic in light of the current crisis in Japan. As the conference program describes this theme:
Recent devastation in Haiti and Chile, and its resonance with the breached levees in New Orleans, compel us to put these events in socio-political context. Crumbled edifices, flooded and abandoned neighborhoods, and sensationalized images of the newly displaced surrounded by piles of rubble speak less to the physical weaknesses of buildings and more to the bankruptcy of social institutions that determine which populations and communities will be most affected. As with official narratives of war and militarization (cast as “just” or “necessary”), or development and democracy (cast as “progress” or “inclusion”), the recourse to the framework of “natural disasters” overlooks the realities of systemic inequalities, and their gendered, sexualized, racialized, and classed dimensions. The theme sheds light on such issues as the structural adjustment programs that have devastated indebted economies, the impact on buildings of these (un)natural disasters, and the shifting spaces resulting from gentrification and privatization.
The conference’s two keynote speakers will be Julia (Sudbury) Oparah, speaking Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. in Speaker’s Auditorium on “Against Reconstruction; or, What I Learned from Oya about Disasters and Rebirth,” and Lisa Duggan, speaking Saturday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m in the Veterans Memorial Hall in Dahlberg (Alumni) Hall on”Atlas Shrugging: Greed, Privatization, and the Decline of Public life.” Both of these talks are free and open to the public.
Oparah is the author or co-author of several books, including:
- Activist Scholarship: Antiracism, Feminism, and Social Change, co-authored with Margo Okazawa-Rey (2009)
- Color of Violence: the Incite! anthology, as part of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (2006)
- Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex (2005)
- “Other Kinds of Dreams”: Black Women’s Organisations and the Politics of Transformation (1998)
Duggan is also the author of several books, including:
- The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy (2003)
- Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest, co-authored with Lauren Berlant (2001)
- Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (2000)
- Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture, co-authored with Nan D. Hunter (1995)