Welcome Che Gossett: BCRW’s Community Archivist and Student Coordinator

BCRW is excited to welcome Che Gossett to our staff as Community Archivist and Student Coordinator. Che is a Black genderqueer independent scholar and activist who works to excavate queer of color AIDS activist and trans archives. They hold an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in education from Brown. They have received a research grant from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University for their project on legacies of queer Black solidarity with Palestinian struggle, have been selected as a Martin Duberman Visiting Scholar with the New York Public Library, and recently received the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the City University of New York.

Che Gossett

As Community Archivist and Student Coordinator, Che will help BCRW digitize our ephemera collection, which is currently archived in the BCRW Library. They will help develop a plan to make the materials accessible to a wider audience. In addition to working on the archive, Che will also be working with our student research assistants to engage them in activism and research at BCRW.

BCRW Presents: The BCRW Ephemeral Archive (A Sneak Preview)

During my post as research assistant at the BCRW for the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to delve into one of the best hidden historical collections on campus: the BCRW archive. The library at 101 Barnard Hall is home to a wide-ranging collection of ephemeral feminist documents, mainly materials from the 1980s and 1990s, but also with a large array of documents from the 1970s, that the Center has accumulated since its inception in 1971. In an effort to render the ephemeral collection more visible and accessible to the University and to the public, I have jumped on the tail end of a multi-year project to digitally index the ephemeral collection. As the first major step in the archiving process approaches its conclusion, below is a sneak peak of just one example of what the collection contains.

Image of scrolls on shelves

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Mumbai At Home and in the World: Gender, Sexuality and the Postcolonial City

From January 9 to 16, 2013, faculty affiliated with the Barnard Center for Research on Women’s Transnational Feminisms Initiative and the Barnard Global Symposia held an interdisciplinary Winter Seminar, “Mumbai At Home and in the World: Gender, Sexuality and the Postcolonial City,” at Sophia College in Mumbai, India. The seminar reflected Barnard’s investment in innovative and collaborative engagements with partners around the world in an era of new global scholarly and pedagogical possibilities. The seminar was hosted by Sophia College and taught by faculty from Barnard, Sophia, and Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. The student body for this seminar was drawn from Barnard (8 students), Sophia (50 students) and Lady Shri Ram (2 students).

Students discuss gender and the city at the Mumbai Winter Seminar at Sophia College

Students discuss gender and the city at the Mumbai Winter Seminar at Sophia College

The goal of these seminars is to find ways of sustaining engagement with those cities that have hosted one of Barnard’s annual global symposia. Our objectives are to build upon existing transnational research projects of Barnard faculty; develop new institutional and individual professional collaborations for the specific purposes of creating truly global classroom experiences and curricular innovations; facilitate scholarly exchanges with faculty at multiple, related sites; encourage student exchanges; and deepen ties between Barnard College and institutions abroad.

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More Contributers for The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia

In one week, the BCRW conference The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia will be showcasing a diverse and accomplished range of contributers presenting and leading workshops on topics that range from community design and remix culture to open education and feminist parenting. This is our third round of introductions (read earlier posts here and here) highlighting the work of six Utopia contributors who educate, organize, document, and design to change the status quo.

Utopia will kick off on Friday, March 1 with a screening of Wildness, an explosive documentary and “visual extravaganza” exploring the intersection of queer community, creativity, class, and “safe space” through its magical-realist portrayal of the Silver Platter, a historic Los Angeles bar home to Latin/LBGT immigrant communities. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers Wu Tsang (Director) and Roya Rastegar (Co-writer). You can watch the theatrical trailer or read more about the intensions behind the film in Wu’s essay for the 2012 Whitney Biennial (PDF), which featured the documentary.

Leading a workshop on Creating a New Feminist Framework for K-12 Education at Utopia, Ileana Jiménez is a high school English teacher in New York and a pioneer in the field of social justice education. She is committed to “transforming education for gender, racial, and economic justice” as well as teaching students “how to make their writing a part of a larger public discourse through blogging.” Read more about her efforts in a recent video from The Atlantic or on her blog, Feminist Teacher.

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A Few More Contributers for The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia

To prepare for the upcoming BCRW conference The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia, we are highlighting the diverse and accomplished contributers who will be challenging us to imagine the impossible through bold presentations and participatory workshops. This is our second round of introductions (check out the first round here), highlighting the work of four Utopia contributors who write, remix, advocate, and teach to change the status quo.

Pop Culture Pirate Elisa Kreisinger creates video remixes by “slicing up familiar shows to create alternative narratives that expose and transform mainstream cultural messages.” By reconstructing footage into mashups with queer and feminist themes, Elisa sees herself as “writing for TV with TV.” You can read an interview with Elisa in The Atlantic or check out the Pop Culture Pirate website, which has a complete listing of her projects, like the above video queering the popular TV show Mad Men. Elisa and Francesca Coppa of Transformative Works will be leading a workshop on Talking Back to Culture Through Feminist Remix at Utopia.

In the afternoon session of Utopia, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) Executive Director Valery Jean will lead a workshop on Addressing Poverty. FUREE is “a Brooklyn-based multiracial organization made up of almost exclusively women of color. We organize low-income families to build power to change the system so that all people’s work is valued and all of us have the right and economic means to decide and live out our own destinies.” Read more about FUREE’s mission in a Village Voice interview with Valery.

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Introducing A Few of the Contributers for The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia

To prepare for the upcoming BCRW conference The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia, we are thrilled to highlight the the diverse and accomplished contributers who will be engaging, educating, and challenging us to imagine the impossible through bold presentations and participatory workshops. Today, we highlight the work of four such contributors who are confronting the status quo through art, activism, publications, and performance.

Las Brown Berets by Melanie Cervantes

Dignidad Rebelde is the Oakland-based graphic arts collaboration of Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza. The project “translates stories of struggle and resistance into artwork that can be put back into the hands of the communities who inspire it,” producing pieces “grounded in Third World and indigenous movements that build people’s power to transform the conditions of fragmentation, displacement and loss of culture.” Melanie will be a presenter at Utopia, speaking on “Building Utopia: Stitching the Lessons from Stories and Visions of Women in our Lives” in a morning keynote address.

Writer and activist Reina Gossett will lead the Prison Abolition workshop at Utopia. Reina has collaborated with BCRW as a contributing writer on the S&F Online New Queer Agenda with her piece “Reclaiming Our Lineage: Organized Queer, Gender-Nonconforming, and Transgender Resistance to Police Violence” and as the moderator of our October 2012 panel, Staking Our Claim: Trans Women’s Literature in the 21st Century. Her tumblr “The Spirit Was…” features great writing and links about trans and anti-violence activism. Continue reading

Exploring the Academy-Activist Connection: Storytelling & the BCRW 2012 Commencement Day Panel

When I tell someone I work as a student Research Assistant at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the response I often receive is something like, “Sounds great! But exactly what does the Center do?”

Speakers discuss BCRW Projects at the Commencement Day Panel

The diverse role of BCRW as a national conversation-starter, historic intellectual resource, dynamic programmer, and hub for international activism can be hard to articulate. So I usually encapsulate it all by explaining how the Center performs invaluable work at the rich intersection of feminist social justice and scholarship. It’s a junction of two worlds I found to be painfully separate when I first entered college: the heady, removed theory of the academic and the on-the-street action of the activist. But this was before I started my work at BCRW. Now, I am spending my time exploring and promoting the Center’s fruitful activism-academy partnerships with the BCRW Blog. The ways BCRW acts as a facilitator for collaboration at this critical crossroads continues to surprise and delight me.

For example, in May, BCRW hosted Social Justice Feminism: Where Scholarship and Activism Meet for our 2012 Commencement Day Panel. The annual event aims to introduce the work of the Center to the family and friends of Barnard’s graduating class. This year’s panel featured several women working towards social justice within three different initiatives of the Center: Disability Justice, Transnational Feminisms, and Digital Feminisms.

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Welcome to the BCRW Blog!

For over 40 years, the Barnard Center for Research on Women has served as a hub for feminist thought and action, providing a pivotal platform for activists and scholars to come to together and grapple with ideas pulled from local and global perspectives. To further this tradition of critical feminist dialogue, we are launching the BCRW Blog – an effort to expand the important conversations that happen at the Center and complement our programming with forays into the virtual realm.


As BCRW has explored, new media is playing a critical role in feminist activism, with a variety of blogs, websites and social media campaigns lighting up the feminist ecosystem. With our own online efforts, we aim to both examine and participate in the emergence of virtual mediums for the development of feminist thought and action. This blog expands our ever-evolving digital presence, including the extensive multimedia content on our website, our Facebook page, and our Twitter account.
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