Activists Angela Davis, Cindy Sheehan join feminist discussion of war at SU symposium Oct. 19-21
Activists Angela Davis, Cindy Sheehan join feminist discussion of war at SU symposium Oct. 19-21October 05, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
In these turbulent times of international conflict, the roles of women have changed dramatically since the days of male-dominated warfare. More and more, women are volunteering for military service, joining resistance movements, becoming suicide bombers or engaging in military intelligence work. Other women duck bombs and dodge landmines, hide from occupying troops, continue to cheerlead, nurture, send supplies or sell their bodies as recreation for male soldiers.
The changing role of women in times of war prompts many questions: How is feminism to deal with such diversity of women’s involvement with, support for, and resistance to, war and militarism? Is there any one feminist analysis of war? Are women ever liberated through war or has women’s liberation just been used as a guise to justify war? Can militant martyrs, mourning mothers and everyone in between fit under the feminist tent?
To address such questions, the Women’s Studies Department in The College of Arts and Sciences at SU will present this semester’s Ray Smith Symposium, “Feminism and War,” a three-day conference Oct. 19-21, on the SU campus and at the Marx Hotel and Conference Center. The symposium will include traditional academic panels, a speak-out session, a protest rally, an art installation and a fashion show highlighting militarism’s permeation of popular culture. Feminist scholars and activists from across the country and around the globe will gather to explore the issues facing the world’s women as they are impacted by war and militarism on a daily basis.
“We wanted a space to enlarge the discussion of the changing relations offeminism to war globally,” says Chandra T. Mohanty, an SU professor of women’s studies and feminist scholar who grew up in India. “Our focus is current U.S. imperial wars and militarization and its horrendous impact on women of the global south.”
Nationally known peace activist Cindy Sheehan and feminist author Cynthia Enloe will open the symposium with a plenary session on Thursday, Oct. 19, at Hendricks Chapel. The session is presented in collaboration with Syracuse Symposium 2006. For more information on the series, visit http://symposium.syr.edu/.
Questions of gender, imperialism, oppression and liberation will be explored as they impact the lives of women not only in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. but also around the world in places like Palestine, North and South Korea, Argentina, Israel and Northern Ireland.
The symposium’s goals are to get a clearer understanding of the relationship between women and war, and to engage participants in conversation about war while considering race, class and imperial aggression. The majority of wars globally are waged by, with and on the bodies of the economically disadvantaged and people of color.
The plenary speakers include feminist scholars such as Zillah Eisenstein, Margo Okazawa-Rey, Jasbir Puar, Patricia Mc Fadden and activist Leslie Cagan. The event will feature 23 panels with 80 participants from as far away as the West Bank, Germany and Hawaii.
“War is never good for women and yet women are both the new actors and the new/old collateral damage of war,” says Eisenstein, feminist political theorist and plenary speaker. “This conference is so important because it ends the silence and encourages insurgent dialogue and examination about women and war.”
Registration for faculty members is $30. A student registration of $15 can be waived by volunteering at the events. Members of the Syracuse community may attend for free. For information on speakers, a schedule of events and registration information, visit http://womens-studies.syr.edu/conferences.htm.