UH WGSS Program Graduates First Major

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Why did you become a WGSS Major?

I loved the courses I took in the English literature program that focused on feminist literary theory and started reading independently from there. The interdisciplinary nature of the WGSS program seemed to cover all of my interests in one subject, so I made the switch.

Which WGSS class or professor made the greatest impact on you?

This is a near impossible question, but I loved the learning process I experienced in my Intro to Women’s Studies course with Dr. Lowe, the Queer Theory (and amazing articles) I learned from Dr. Luna, the Foundations of Feminist theory and Transnationalism from Dr. Quinn, and of course the literature class that started it all with Dr. Gregory.

Were there any course readings or books that stood out to you while in the program?

Honestly, there is so much to learn and absorb that I only managed to read a fraction of what I would have liked to. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality.

How do you think majors in WGSS can make an impact on their communities?

This is a major for people who want to make the world a safer place. I don’t think I have met anyone who teaches the subject or takes the course that isn’t passionate outside of the classroom as well. My classmates are all active in political campaigns spanning from local legislation to large-scale nation-wide activism. I think the courses give us the tools to understand inequality and from there we can move forward to do something about it.

What would you say to encourage other students who are considering majoring or minoring in WGSS?

Do it!

What can the new WGSS major do for UH and the surrounding community?

The internship requirement is an awesome way to start learning about outreach and the impact the content of WGSS can have. Just getting involved and participating in local programs like at the Montrose Center or the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Are there any classes you would like to see offered at UH related to women, gender, and sexuality studies?
I think they are all coming to be, I took some really amazing classes and every semester I see more added. I would love to take a class on women in Hip-Hop and feminism.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m going to keep volunteering at the Domestic Violence Hotline at the Houston Area Women’s Center, and I’m going to start studying for my LSATs in order to someday practice international human rights and civil rights law.

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“Crafting Feminisms: Recent Writings” A Reading/Lecture by scholar Akasha Hull

Akasha Hull recently spoke about two of her publications, All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (1982) and NEICY: A Novel (2012)

A Shreveport, Louisiana, native. Dr. Hull was a member of the groundbreaking Combahee River Collective, which shaped her trajectory as a poet, scholar and novelist. Her landmark work in African American Studies and Women’s Studies has impacted how we theorize, write and teach in these disciplines today.

The Feminist Press has recently republished Some of Us Are Brave (with a new Foreword by Brittney Cooper). Some copies of the book will be available for purchase at the talk. You might also consider order and bringing your copy of NEICY: A Novel or Some of Us Are Brave to read in advance and bring for the book signing that will follow the talk.

Living Archives: #BlackWomensLivesMatter

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The 2015-2016 Living Archives Series began with a relevant discussion on the #BlackLivesMatter Movement through a gendered lens specifically looking at Black women’s lives and experiences from different angles.

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Living Archives attendees engaged with the panel discussion.
Living Archives attendees engaged with the panel discussion.

The panel discussion included Shekira Dennis, Co-Founder of the Houston Justice Coalition, Amanda Edwards, Attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Jalyn Gordon, President of the Black Student Union at the University of Houston, Dr. Rachel Afi Quinn, Assistant Professor of WGSS and CCS at the University of Houston, Tiffany Ross, Social Worker at Mental Health of America Houston, Dr. Cristal C. Truscott, Assistant Professor and Theater Program Director at Prairie A&M University, and moderated by Syan Rhodes, Anchor and Reporter at KPRC. For more detailed biographies on the panelists, click here.

#BlackWomensLivesMatter Panelists.
#BlackWomensLivesMatter Panelists.

For the first time, the Living Archive had a live stream of the panel. Check the full length video below if you missed the panel or would like to listen to the conversations again.

Our next discussion in the Living Archive Series will be “The Body Politic: When Women Make Policy,” a collaboration with Symposium on Women Remaking American Culture, on October 14, 2015 from 11:30AM to 1PM at the Rockwell Pavillion in the University of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Library. To RSVP or for more information contact Sandra Enríquez and Allison Robinson at wgss@uh.edu or at (713) 743-3214.

To see a list of upcoming WGSS and FWS events click here.

The Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series features interviews with women from the Houston area, which are videotaped and collected in the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive at the UH library, Special Collections.

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.