EDWARDSVILLE – The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Women’s Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is hosting its first Symposium on Women and Gender Thursday, March 19 in the Conference Center at the Morris University Center. Funded by a grant from the CAS Targeted Funding Initiative program, the event seeks to provide students and faculty from SIUE and institutions across the country with a multi-disciplinary view of topics and issues surrounding women, genders and sexualities, both past and present.

“This event is held in conjunction with Women’s History Month to celebrate women’s contributions in multiple ways,” said Women’s Studies Program Director Carolina Rocha, PhD. “The symposium is truly a collaborative effort by a number of faculty in CAS and across the University. For instance, SIUE Associate Professor of Art Barbara Nwacha created the Symposium logo and many colleagues were involved in reviewing abstracts and moderating panels.”

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Through 70 presentations by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty from SIUE and other higher education institutions, the symposium will investigate the interplay between gender and the social, cultural and legal norms that shape it, both in the U.S. and around the world. Presentations will range from women’s representation in the media to the gender pay gap to feminism in the U.S. and abroad, plus much more.

This event takes place prior to registration for the fall 2020 semester, an intentional decision that Rocha hopes will lead to an increase in enrollment for Women’s Studies classes this fall and, ultimately, elevated interest in the Women’s Studies minor.

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“As a CAS-sponsored program, the symposium presents a multitude of methodologies and themes related to women’s studies with the hope of being a model for other universities to propose similar events,” added Rocha. “We hope to initiate fruitful discussions and collaborations that will extend beyond the conference and create spaces of solidarity.”

The symposium aims to inspire new topics of research for SIUE graduate students and students participating in the University’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Program. Rocha believes the symposium will strengthen CAS’ position both regionally and nationally, showcasing research about a broad range of subjects dealing with women, gender and sexualities.

The symposium will culminate with a presentation by keynote speaker Amy Koerber, PhD, communications studies professor and associate dean for administration and finance in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. Koerber’s presentation, “Translation and the Rhetorical Power of Medical Expertise: A Critical Examination of Gender, Infrastructure, and Intimacy in the Larry Nassar Scandal at MSU,” will be held at 5:30 p.m.

Koerber’s presentation is free and open to the public.

Central to SIUE’s exceptional and comprehensive education, the College of Arts and Sciences offers degree programs in the natural sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences and communications. The College touches the lives of all SIUE students helping them explore diverse ideas and experiences, while learning to think and live as fulfilled, productive members of the global community. Study abroad, service-learning, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities better prepare SIUE students not only to succeed in our region's workplaces, but also to become valuable leaders who make important contributions to our communities.

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