Welcome

On behalf of Middle Tennessee State University's Women's and Gender Studies Program, I cordially invite you to join our Women's and Gender Studies Interdisciplinary conference Creating Global Change, March 23 – 25, 2017. The conference will be held in the Student Union Ballroom area of the Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN located just 30 miles from “Music City” -- Nashville, TN -- home of the Ryman Auditorium.

Our conference will kick off with a preconference Student Showcase day on Wednesday, March 22, featuring papers, films, panels, and performances. Several of our student organizations will host these as well as informational tables in the preconference area. Our student organization, Students Active for Feminism and Equality (SAFE), will hold its traditional silent auction fundraiser. We especially look forward to the student dance performance of our MTSU Dance program choreographed by Professor Margaret (Meg) Brooker.

On Thursday, March 23, we will open registration and enjoy morning paper panels followed by our featured conference speaker in the afternoon. LGBT leader, attorney, and advocate Urvashi Vaid will speak from her most recent book on the topic of The Irresistible Revolution: Understanding the LGBT Movement Today. Vaid depicts an award-winning analysis of the gay rights movement. As the Director of the Engaging Tradition Project, Vaid studies the use of tradition in arguments by advocates of gender and sexuality-based social justice projects to shape legal and legislative strategies, frame public education messages, and strengthen arguments that advance the rights of groups seeking social justice. Following her presentation and discussion, conference participants are invited to a book signing “meet and greet” in the preconference area.

Following the featured speaker on Thursday evening please join us for a conference dinner (prepaid at registration) followed by a powerful performance by spoken word artist Andrea Gibson. Gibson winner of the Women’s World Poetry Slam has headlined performance venues coast to coast with powerful readings on war, class, gender, bullying, white privilege, sexuality, love, and spirituality. Gibson’s poems are described as “a rallying cry for action and a welcome mat at the door of the heart’s most compassionate room.” I know you will not want to miss this most moving event as Metaphor Media describes Gibson as “among the nation’s most admired and emulated poets. [Their] verse is at once personal and political, feminist and universal, filled with incinerating verbs and metaphor, and delivered with gut punching urgency.” The performance will be followed by a merchandise purchase meet and greet in the prefunction area where all can request signatures, “selfies,” and meet Gibson in person.

Friday morning, March 24, will open with papers and presentations. We also invite conference participants to a timely development workshop Beyond Hashtags: Using New Media to Combat Campus Rape Culture facilitated by Wagatwe Wanjuki. Wanjuki is a prominent campus anti-sexual violence advocate, activist, and author.  Founder of F—Yeah Feminists, one of the first and most popular feminist blogs on Tumblr, Wanjuki recently received widespread media attention for starting the nationally trending #SurvivorPrivilege hashtag on Twitter. She is a founding co-organizer of the Know Your IX ED ACT NOW campaign focusing on empowering students to stop sexual violence on campuses and holding schools accountable to protect the civil right for an education free of sexual violence.

Following a day of workshop and papers all are invited to assemble for a viewing and discussion of the Featured Film UnSlut: A Documentary. The UnSlut project uses personal story sharing as a means to work against sexual bullying and “slut”-shaming in our schools, communities, media, and culture. Emily Lindin, founder of The UnSlut Project, made this film to inspire and motivate people everywhere to speak up about the dangerous, lasting effects of sexual bullying, “slut”-shaming, and all forms of gender-based discrimination. Through this film, The UnSlut Project aims to inspire women, girls, parents, partners, and people everywhere to rethink the misogynistic culture of compulsive “slut”-shaming we live in and together, create a world “where the word ‘slut’ doesn’t even make sense as an insult.

Saturday will feature a variety of paper and panel presentations in the Conference and Parliamentary rooms of the Student Union.

Proposal abstracts are now being accepted (December 15 deadline) and can be submitted on topics related to the conference theme or other topics related to issues of importance to understanding women, gender and sexuality. We welcome a variety of presentation formats, such as individual paper presentations, panel sessions, roundtable discussions, performances, short films, and posters. Presentations will be limited to 15 minutes, to be followed by questions and discussion. Please submit proposals of 250-500 words (MS word document) to womenstu@mtsu.edu.

We aim to make this conference a satisfying experience for all participants by making the conference costs reasonable to attendees. The new Student Union is an upscale and fully accessible facility with an elevator and inviting seating areas. The Student Union has a full food court and dining room for a variety of food options.  Breakfast coffee and pastry food trays will be provided each morning at registration. The Professional Development workshop is free and open to all registered participants.

We hope you will choose to attend this exciting conference. We strive to make our conference a safe and comfortable space for sharing perspectives, ideas, and experiences. Please register early by going the registration link at http://www.mtsu.edu/womenstu/conference/index.php.  For questions contact us at 615- 898-5910.

 

Vicky MacLean

Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program

Contact Information:

Women's and Gender Studies Program
Box 498
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN   37132

Phone:  615-898-5910
Email: womenstu@mtsu.edu
Fax: 615-898-5289