News & Events

Clash Zones: Identities in (R)evolution

Location: The Ray and Maria Stata Center
32 Vassar Street
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
Find it on the campus map

Conference Date: April 5-6, 2013

**Please note** Conference schedule is still in development. Some event times and topics are subject to change. Please check back closer to the conference launch date.

FRIDAY, April 5th

3:00 - 6:00 PM            Registration

4.00 – 5.30 PM             Workshop

Facilitating Difficult Dialogues: Feminism, Social Justice, and Conversations That Make the Difference with Jesse Beal

Stata Center: Building 32 Room 124

What are the differences between debate, discussion, and dialogue? How can we transform conflict into an opportunity for coalition building and education? How can you successfully guide a productive group discussion and maintain a safe space for learning and sharing? What is a safe space and (why) is it important to social justice pedagogy? How do issues of power, privilege, and intersectionality shape our conversations? How do you prepare for difficult dialogues and how do you determine your success? How do intersectional competence and critical consciousness lead to effective facilitation? The ability to lead constructive, authentic, and empowering conversations is key to fostering inclusive, feminist, and socially just spaces on the college campus and in the world. Participants will explore their position with the matrix of power, privilege, and oppression and gain insight into how this positionality impacts their ability to lead productive dialogues. They will explore the tools for facilitating dialogues on hot-button issues, learn the "triggers" that stand in their way as a presenter, and gain the skills to guide diverse groups productively in the classroom, the conference room, and even at the dinner table. This workshop will be of particular interest to participants who are committed to building skills in facilitating dialogues that create change on college campuses and those who work in the field of diversity and social justice education.

6.00 – 8.00 PM            Keynote Panel with Q&A
Connubial Controversies: The Same-Sex Marriage Debate and Queer Identities Today

In this conference on “clash zones,” our Keynote Panel event will explore some of the diverse controversies and tensions associated with LGBTQ activism and the same-sex marriage debate. Speakers from four distinct disciplines will share insights as to how queer theory and LGBTQ activism have complicated our understanding of marriage. 

Some questions that the panel will consider include: How has the marriage equality movement evolved over the course of its history? What have theory and activism taught us about the limitations of marriage as a state-sanctioned and/or religious institution? What direction might these fields take if and when same-sex marriage is nationally legalized? How has discourse around same-sex marriage exposed the complex relationship between church and state in the U.S.? How do debates about same-sex marriage intersect with other sociocultural tensions surrounding such things as immigration, race, and class?

In our non-traditional format, speakers will present formal talks followed by a moderated discussion period during our Keynote Panel on Friday, April 5th, at 6 PM. On Saturday, April 6th, the dialogue will continue during an informal roundtable luncheon with our keynote speakers. We envision these two sessions as enacting “revolution” (demonstrating clashing ideologies and viewpoints) followed by “evolution” (conversations that stimulate new thinking).

Keynote Presenters include:

Carrie PrestonReverend Irene Monroe is a nationally-renowned African-American lesbian activist, scholar, columnist, and public theologian. A native of Brooklyn, Irene graduated from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia before attending Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as Ford Fellow. Her essays and blogs have appeared in Huffington Post, Boston Globe, Cambridge Chronicle, The Advocate, The Bilerico Project, Black Commentator, Queer Take, The Witness, and Black Commentator.

Carrie PrestonAnn Pellegrini is Associate Professor of Performance Studies and Religious Studies at New York University, where she also directs NYU's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Her books include Performance Anxieties: Staging Psychoanalysis, Staging Race (1997) and Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance (co-authored with Janet R. Jakobsen, 2003). A new book is forthcoming in August of this year, You Can Tell Just By Looking and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Lives and People (co-authored with Michael Bronski and Mike Amico). She is currently a visiting fellow at Harvard's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where she is completing a new solo book, Excess & Enchantment: Queer Performance Between the Religious and the Secular.

Carrie PrestonRobyn Ochs is a speaker, award-winning activist, and the editor of the 42-country anthology Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and the Bi Women newsletter. Her writings have been published in numerous bi, women’s studies, multicultural, and LGBQ anthologies. For 26 years, Robyn worked as an administrator at Harvard, where she was co-founder and co-chair of the LGBT Faculty and Staff Group and the Trans Task Force. Robyn currently serves on the board of MassEquality and is a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Youth.

Carrie PrestonClement Lee, Esq.
is a Staff Attorney at Immigration Equality in New York, where he represents detained LGBT asylum seekers in immigration court and advocates for detention policy reform. As a law student in clinical practice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Clem represented LGBT immigrants facing deportation on criminal grounds, sex workers, and trafficked and incarcerated immigrants.


8.00 – 9.30 PM

SATURDAY, April 6th

8.00 – 9:00 AM: Registration and light breakfast

9.00 – 12:30 PM: Panel Sessions

9:00 - 10:30 AM: Concurrent Panels #1

PANEL A: Gendering the Grotesque

This panel explores the subversive potential of “monstrous” figures that challenge traditional beliefs about gender.

Room: 32-124

Moderator: Heather Barrett (PhD Candidate, English, Boston University)

PANEL B: Staging the Subject

This panel investigates the various ways in which bodies and voices can perform and transform gender.

Room: 32-141

Moderator: Asimina Nikolopoulou (PhD Candidate, English, Northeastern University)

PANEL C: Queer (in) Space

This panel considers both the challenges and opportunities that different institutional and public spaces afford for the expression of queer identities.

Room 32-144

Moderator: Karen Robbins (PhD Candidate, American and New England Studies, Boston University)

10:45 - 12:15 PM: Concurrent Panels #2

PANEL A: Professional Parents

This panel examines the implications that the complex relationship between gender and parenthood has for theological belief, academic culture, and labor policy.

Room: 32-124

Moderator: Heather Barrett (PhD Candidate, English, Boston University)

PANEL B: Envisioning America

This panel looks at the construction of gender and sexual identities through different forms of media and culture at specific moments in American history.

Room: 32-144

Moderator: Kathleen Daly (PhD Candidate, American and New England Studies, Boston University)

PANEL C: Theoretically Speaking

This panel presents new approaches to queer theory and psychoanalysis and considers the ways that these approaches can reshape beliefs about gender.

Room: 32-155

Moderator: Christian Engley (PhD Candidate, English, Boston University)

PANEL D: Constructing Networks

This panel investigates how physical and virtual networks, and their associated technologies, function as spaces for innovative expressions of gender.

Room 32-141

Moderator: Karen Robbins (PhD Candidate, American and New England Studies, Boston University)

12:30 - 2:00 PM: Lunch with Keynote Presenters

Join the keynote presenters in a roundtable discussion on marriage equality.

2:15 - 5:30 PM: Panel Sessions

2:15 - 3:45 PM: Concurrent Panels # 3

PANEL A: Women in the Aftermath

This panel addresses how women's social and political roles change in the wake of traumatic events like war, terrorism, and natural disasters.

Room: 32-124

Moderator: Kathryn Frazier (PhD Candidate, Psychology, Clark University)

PANEL B: Bodies Breaching Borders

This panel adopts an international scope as it considers a range of women’s health issues from eating disorders to reproductive rights.

Room: 32-144

Moderator: Kathryn Soderholm (M.P.H. (2012), Boston University School of Public Health)

PANEL C: Postcolonial Stories

This panel considers how beliefs about gender and nationhood shape one another in various postcolonial contexts.

Room: 32-155

Moderator: Heidi Effenberger (M.A. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, Boston University)

PANEL D: Powered Dynamics

This panel looks at the intersections of multiple minority identities that shape the lives of women in religious, urban, and industrial spheres.

Room: 32-141

Moderator: Asimina Nikolopoulou (PhD Candidate, English, Northeastern University)

4:00 - 5:30 PM Concurrent Panels #4

PANEL A: Figuring the Fe/Male Body

This panel highlights opportunities for re-envisioning the sexed body afforded by medicine, television, and literature.

Room: 32-124

Moderator: Kathryn Soderholm (MPH (2012), Boston University)

PANEL B: Mass Movements

This panel considers how women around the globe have mobilized their bodies and voices to affect political and social change.

Room: 32-141

Moderator: Kathleen Daly (Ph.D. Candidate, American and New England Studies, Boston University)

PANEL C: Voicing Political In/Security

This panel examines the larger implications that women’s rights have for national and international policy-making.

Room: 32-144

Moderator: Brian M. Balduzzi (J.D. Candidate, Boston University School of Law)

7:00 PM: Post-conference drinks and networking (off-site)

For more information, contact

Contact Us

Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085

Next Steps

Course List