Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a legal anthropologist specializing in Islamic law, gender, and development. She is currently Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, University of London. In this lecture, “The Potential and Promise of Feminist Voices in Islam,” Dr. Mir-Hosseini explores the Islamic feminist movement’s potential for changing the terms of debates over Islam and gender, arguing that the real battle is between patriarchy and despotism on the one hand, and gender equality and democracy on the other.
The second event in BCRW’s newly inaugurated Salon Series features Karla FC Holloway, Tina Campt, Farah Griffin, Saidiya Hartman, Rebecca Jordan-Young, and Alondra Nelson. These scholars, whose expertise lies at the cross-section of law, race, gender, and bioethics, respond to Karla FC Holloway’s new book, Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics, an important and groundbreaking work that examines instances where medical issues and information that would usually be seen as intimate, private matters are forced into the public sphere, calling for a new cultural bioethics that attends to the complex histories of race, gender, and class in the US.
How does a shift from focusing on the “autonomous and independent subject” to a framework of shared vulnerability transform intellectual, legal, and activist terrains? This interdisciplinary panel explores how our ideas of personhood, the state, politics, organizing, religion, consciousness, arts, and ethics change when vulnerability becomes the lens through which we examine them, focusing particularly on relationships of interdependence and structural inequality. Panelists include Martha Albertson Fineman, Ewa Plonowska Ziarek, Colin Dayan, and Ilaria Vanni. This discussion, moderated by Elizabeth Castelli, took place at The Scholar and Feminist Conference 2012, Vulnerability: The Human and the Humanities.
BCRW Acting Director Elizabeth Castelli delivers opening remarks at The Scholar & Feminist Conference 2012, Vulnerability: The Human and the Humanities.
Advice about diet and health is extraordinarily controversial for reasons of science and politics. Human nutritional science is difficult to conduct and interpret. Advice about what to eat affects the ability of food companies to sell products. The result is cacophony in the marketplace and unnecessary confusion about dietary matters. Will better science solve this problem? Does the food industry have a role to play in promoting healthful food choices? Or are food companies analogous to cigarette companies in the way they deal with nutrition advocacy? Food expert Marion Nestle addresses such questions through relevant examples in this presentation. Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. She is also Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health; Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety; and What to Eat. She also has written two books about pet food, Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine and Feed Your Pet Right (with Malden Nesheim). Her most recent book, released in March 2012, is Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (also with Dr. Nesheim).
The recently published anthology Voices of A Women’s Health Movement (Seven Stories Press, 2012), co-edited by women’s health advocate Barbara Seaman (1935-2008) and her longtime collaborator Laura Eldridge, brings together an essential collection of essays, interviews, and commentary by leading activists, writers, doctors and sociologists on topics ranging across reproductive rights, sex and orgasm, activism, motherhood, and birth control. In this panel discussion, some of the book’s contributors discuss the rich history of this movement and its continued significance in struggles for reproductive health today. Panelists include Laura Eldridge ’01, Helen Lowery, Lauren Porsch ’01, Leonore Tiefer, and Irene Xanthoudakis ’01.
How much do you know about the food you eat? Food production and the politics surrounding it have an enormous impact on our environment and economy. In recent years, scientists and activists have raised concerns about the sustainability and security of our food systems here in the US and around the world, but food has always been a driving force in international and domestic policy. Barnard faculty members Kim F. Hall, Deborah Valenze, Paige West, and Hilary Callahan engage in an interdisciplinary conversation about the past and present social, geopolitical, rhetorical, and environmental factors that influence how food—including items as seemingly ordinary as sugar, coffee, milk, and corn—shapes culture and politics in this discussion moderated by Elizabeth Castelli.
Since the women’s health movement blossomed in the 1970s, there has been an ever-increasing trend toward examining all aspects of human health for evidence of sex differences. But some of the movement’s major achievements—such as a federal mandate to collect and analyze data by sex in all health research—may paradoxically turn out to be obstacles for understanding health differences between and within sex/gender groups. Building on her earlier work in Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences and using examples from both physical and mental health research, this 2011 Silver Science lecture by Rebecca Jordan-Young reviews some basic questions about measurement in “sex-specific” medicine that could revolutionize the field and yield research and clinical practice that is actually far more specific and scientific than the current approach. What kind of variable is “sex,” and can it be measured separately from “gender”? When we have information on specific biological mechanisms underlying health differences, what does the variable “sex” add to our analyses? BCRW Acting Director Elizabeth Castelli introduces Rebecca Jordan-Young delivering the lecture “‘Sex’ is Not a Mechanism: Making ‘Sex-Specific Medicine’ More Scientific.”
From writing new constitutions to serving in local and national governance to sustaining NGOs and grassroots organizations to making policy changes, women and feminist groups in Africa are doing the difficult work of pushing local, state and international bodies to implement and guarantee gender equality and justice at every level. A group of scholars and activists draw on their experience in multiple regions of Africa, discussing how women are participating in the rebuilding of their societies – whether in post-conflict contexts or in times of deep political transformation during revolutions, post- revolutionary periods and transitions to democracy. Panelists include Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University), Rabab El Mahdi (American University in Cairo), Jane Bennett (African Gender Institute), and Penelope Andrews (CUNY School of Law) in this discussion moderated by Rosalind Morris (Columbia University).
Does a feminist perspective limit researchers’ abilities to see and interpret empirical realities? What happens when these perspectives clash with the reality of field observations? A group of ethnographers discuss how their feminist perspectives can both limit and enhance their ability to analyze power structures and evaluate social change. Panelists include Orit Avishai (Fordham University) and Lynne Gerber (University of California, Berkeley) in this discussion moderated by Margot Weiss (Wesleyan University).