Samina Ali: Muslim Women and Digital Activism Talk

Also this February, WGSS Faculty Affiliate Dr. Leandra Zarnow (History) worked with the UH Center for Public History, Dr. Abdel Takriti (UH Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Arab History), and the WGSS Program to bring Samina Ali to campus for a talk, book signing, and reception.

You can watch the event here!

Ali 2.17.16 Event FlierSamina Ali is an American Muslim author who was born in India. For over a decade, Samina has worked on diverse projects with the aim of promoting gender justice.

Her critically acclaimed novel, MADRAS ON RAINY DAYS, is about a young, Muslim woman trapped between American and Islamic expectations. It received the Best First Novel Award (Prix du Premier Roman Etranger Award) from France and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. Poets & Writers Magazine named MADRAS Best Debut Novel.

Samina went on to curate an internationally acclaimed art exhibition for the International Museum of Women (now part of Global Fund for Women), Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices. The revolutionary exhibition showcases Muslim women from around the world: from the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and the first American Muslim woman to translate the Qur’an into English, to graffiti artists involved in the Arab Springs and provocative young ‘zine creators.

Samina has worked with the State Department to help build bridges in certain European countries with their Muslim populations. In the U.S., she led a peaceful five-woman march into a mosque to demand women’s equal treatment in the prayer space — which was granted later that same year as a result of her activism.

Samina has been featured in a diverse range of media, including The Economist, The Guardian, The Sunday Guardian, Huffington Post, and Vogue Magazine, as well as Voice of America and several times on NPR. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and Daily Beast.

She lives in San Francisco with her family.

Electric Santería: Author Talk & Reading with Dr. Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

February was a very busy month for the WGSS Program.  We collaborated with numerous entities to bring exciting new scholarship to our UH community.  Electric Santería was no exception.

In collaboration with UH Hispanic Studies, we hosted Dr. Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús from Harvard University who presented her new book and research on the transnational experience of Santería.  Beliso-De Jesús’ presentation provided keen insights in the study of African diaspora religious practices as well as a sophisticated example of transnational feminist scholarship.

 

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Cimarrón Spirit: Documentary Film Screening & Panel Discussion

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This February we were excited to collaborate with the HCC Office of International Initiatives, UH Dept of English, UH African American Studies, UH Relgious Studies, UH Hispanic Studies, Arté Publico Press, and the Caribbean Film Series of the UH Center for the Americas to bring film screenings of Cimarrón Spirit, panel discussions, a concert, and conversations to two Houston campuses.  Shout out to Assistant Professor of WGSS and CCS Rachel Afi Quinn for her work on this documentary.

The engaging panel discussion included: Rubén Durán, Director; Xiomara Fortuna, Afro-Dominican singer-songwriter; Dominican studies scholars Silvio Torres-Saillant (University of Syracuse) and Rachel Afi Quinn (University of Houston); with translations by scholar Mabel Cuesta (University of Houston)

The screenings were complemented by talks with Dominican singer-songwriter Xiomara Fortuna and Latina/o Studies scholar Silvio Torres-Saillant

The visit included a special concert by Xiomara Fortuna, and time for connecting with old and new friends.

Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities

WGSS kicked off the 2015-2016 academic year with the lecture “Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities,” renowned scholar Rhoda Reddock on August 27.

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Dr. Rhonda Reddock at the “Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities” lecture on August 27, 2015.

Dr. Rhoda Reddock is professor of Gender, Social Change and Development and deputy campus principal of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad campus. She is the recipient of numerous national, regional, and international awards including the Triennial CARICOM Award for Women 2002 and an honorary doctorate from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She has researched and published extensively in the areas of women’s labour and labour history; feminism and women’s movements; gender and sexualities, environment, development, ethnicity and identity, masculinities, and gender and sexualities. Her books include Women, Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History (1994); Plantation Women: International Experiences, co-edited with Shobhita Jain (1998); Caribbean Sociology: Introductory Readings, co-edited with Christine Barrow (2000); the edited collection Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities (2004); and more recently, the co-edited collection Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond, co-edited with Dorothy Roberts, Dianne Douglas, and Sandra Reid (2009).

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The presentation sparked a lot of conversations and it is an excellent way to inaugurate a masculinities studies initiative at UH and across other campuses here in Houston.

Watch Dr. Reddock’s lecture below.