For more information on each of these lectures, click on the titles.
2014-15 Road Scholars Public Lecture Program
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Agents of Change: A Legacy of Feminist Research, Teaching, and Activism at the University of Oregon
Agents of Change chronicles the history of the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women in Society and the UO Department of Women’s and Gender Studies within the broader context of the Women’s Rights Movement. By 1970, women faculty members across universities in the United States were beginning to teach the first women’s studies courses, while also taking on the fight for pay equity and affirmative action in hiring. This presentation will include clips from the documentary. Presented by Gabriela Martínez, Associate Director of CSWS and Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication.
Athletes, Artists, Twirlers, and Jocks: Gender in Figure Skating
What’s up with gender in figure skating? Why do skaters compete officially as “Men” or “Ladies”? Why do people question whether figure skating is really a sport, or assume that all the female skaters are straight and all the male skaters are gay? How are race, class, and sexuality involved with gender in the practice and reputation of figure skating? This talk looks at the culture of figure skating, including performances by famous skaters such as Johnny Weir, Michelle Kwan, and Oregon’s own Tonya Harding, and considers the workings of gender in figure skating from both inside and outside the sport. Presented by Erica Rand, the Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture and of Women and Gender Studies at Bates College. In the fall of 2014, she taught a course on Queer and Trans Sports studies at the University of Oregon.
Girls in Motion: Japanese Bus Conductors as Figures of Nostalgia
This talk draws on literature, film, newspapers, songs, television, and comics to show how Japanese bus conductors were conceived as modern girls in motion, ideal laborers, and figures of nostalgia. Some of the most visible workers on the streets of Japanese cities and countryside were the women who took tickets and called out bus stops. Known by the diminutive title “bus girls” [basu gâru], they developed their own vocabulary, creating words used by their counterparts in China and Korea, and influencing notions of gender in other parts of Asia. They even developed a distinctive fashion. Bus girls were especially common from the early 1920s until the mid-1960s, when the so-called “one-man bus” staffed only with a driver became the norm. Presented by Alisa Freedman, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.
Global Feminisms in Media Development
This talk looks at the different ways in which “feminism” gets to be articulated around the world, and in particular in the developing world, through media development. It also reveals how grassroots media development and other media discourses contribute to the empowerment of women and minority communities. Presented by Gabriela Martínez, Associate Director of CSWS and Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication.
Jane Grant: A Feminist Legacy
This talk tells the story of Jane Grant’s impact on feminist history, from her co-founding of The New Yorker to her activism in early women’s rights movements, and the serendipitous events that brought her legacy to the University of Oregon and the Center for the Study of Women in Society. Presented by Michael Hames-García, Director, Center for the Study of Women in Society, and Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies.
Love in the Workplace on Japanese Television
Bright, independent young women came to Tokyo from the countryside in search of love in the workplace in several of the most popular, Japanese TV dramas of the 1990s. Employed as corporate secretaries and in service industry jobs, they almost always had marriage as their end goal. But a new kind of female romantic lead has appeared in recent years—the career woman who strives for success in both her job and personal life. In this talk, the presenter surveys television conventions and asks how fictional characters affect the lives of women who watch and possibly even emulate them. With a unique narrative style and visual conventions compared to programs produced in other nations, the Japanese dramas are more than mere entertainment—they are designed to educate viewers about real social issues. Because Japanese television dramas attract a large and diverse audience at home and abroad, they are a good way to view social values and trends and assess the nation’s global image. Presented by Alisa Freedman, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
Modernism and Fashion: Dressing for Work and Play in Jazz-Age Tokyo
This talk examines how women’s fashion defined Jazz-Age Tokyo, representing larger social desires and fears about rapid national modernization. The presenter will show an array of visual and literary sources, including advertisements, film, popular fiction, and journalism, to provide a composite portrait of clothing’s significance in the Japanese city. In the global imagination, Tokyo is still characterized by its unique street fashion. Presented by Alisa Freedman, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.
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Political Economy of Memory: Women and the Oaxaca Uprising
This talk reviews the unprecedented takeover in August 2006 of the state’s radio and television stations in Oaxaca, Mexico, when women marched to voice their political, social, economic, and cultural concerns and ended up taking over the airwaves. Presented by Gabriela Martínez, Associate Director of CSWS and Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication.
Queens and Amazons in Renaissance Art and History
This presentation offers 16th- and 17th-century literature and music—together with visual images of paintings, engravings, and sculptures —that portray women forcefully as queens and Amazons. Presented by Amanda Powell, Senior Instructor, Romance Languages; and Dianne Dugaw, Professor, English.
Renaissance Woman of the “New World”: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
This talk explores the life and impact of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Sor Juana was the most widely published and bestselling literary writer of Spain and its far-flung empire. The elegance and pointed humor of her works and the example of her life still provide a model of excellence and achievement today. Presented by Amanda Powell, Senior Instructor, Romance Languages.
The S-Word: The Squaw Stereotype in American Popular Culture
Who has the right to represent others, under what circumstances, and in what ways. Whether in television programs, films, advertisements, or in popular music such as hip-hop and rap, women are generally absent, under-represented, or misrepresented. Women of color are often invisible. When Native women are seen it is usually in one of two stereotypical portrayals: Indian princess (young, female noble savage) or squaw (older woman/drudge). Place and landform names, products, and references in literature and popular culture that use the word “squaw” contribute to a climate of stereotypical thinking about Indian women, and limit imaginative possibilities and narrow self-perception. A visual analysis of names, products, and places illustrates the persistence of this term. Presented by Debra Merskin, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication
Sexing the Media: How and Why We Do It
Sex in the media is one of the hottest topics of the day. We know that advertising, television, cinema, and other forms of communication use sex to sell us products and pump up story lines. The question is: why are sex and sexuality such effective tools for getting our attention? This talk—which includes slides and video clips—is based on research conducted by journalism professor Debra Merskin for Sexing the Media: How and Why We Do It (Peter Lang, 2014), a textbook that explores answers to this question through historical, sociological, psychological, and ideological perspectives. Dr. Merskin’s book looks at how media and other social institutions use sex and sexuality (the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses) to advance economic and ideological interests. Cinema, music, music videos, television programs, advertising, and the Internet are discussed as carriers of deliberately constructed messages that contribute to and support a master narrative that privileges heterosexuality and monogamy. Presented by Debra Merskin, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication
Snake Oil and Mothers’ Milk: Images of Gender and Disease in Early Advertising
Drawing on the analysis she conducted on a comprehensive medical trade card collection, this illustrated lecture discusses the ways women are depicted in the images found in North American patent medicine advertising trade cards ca. 1870-1895. Presented by Phaedra Livingstone, Assistant Professor, Arts Administration.
Warrior Women in Anglo-American History and Song
This presentation introduces audiences to the courageous heroines of ballads and history—Hannah Snell in 18th-century England, Deborah Sampson in Revolutionary America, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman in the American Civil War—as well as the folk songs that celebrate their valor and deeds. We’ll listen to ten ballads from the 120 songs I have collected, in varied contexts and musical styles from Elizabethan to present-day cowboy songs. We also will discuss aspects of national history and politics illustrated by the songs, the cultural forms that shape heroism and women, and the popular music traditions of ordinary people. Presented by Dianne Dugaw, Professor, English.