Jane Winston

Jane Winston

The year 2004-05 was a period of high energy and growth in Gender Studies. We broadened our engagement with gender issues by emphatically foregrounding race, ethnicity, and a transnational perspective. This broadening defined the scholarly events we sponsored and the undergraduate and graduate level courses we offered that year.

We welcomed a series of nationally and internationally prominent speakers including Aiwa Ong (Berkeley, Anthropology) whose public lecture, "A Cartography of Maids: from Neo-Slavery to Bio-Welfare" examined the intertwining roles of the state and NGOs in the circulation and subjugation of female domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines and Catherine Ceniza Chow (Berkeley, Ethnic Studies) who joined us as a Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Professor. Chow, whose Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipinio American History had just been published, delivered a lecture entitled "Towards Trans-Pacific Social Justice: Women and Protest in Filipino American History" and led students and faculty in a brown bag discussion of international adoption.

We joined with other academic units to further expand this transnational examination of gender, race, and ethnicity, including a panel discussion of Japanese cinema and representations of beauty, modern identities in China, and the role of Taiwanese photography in shaping ideas of beauty in Taiwanese society, and a public lecturer and brown bag event by Susan Willis (Duke, English/Literature) on the issues surrounding the Abu Ghraib photographs and addressed in her book, Portents of the Real: A Primer for Post 9/11 America (Verso). We co-hosted a public lecture by Nation columnist Katha Pollitt on the 2004 presidential elections and co-sponsored the premiere of a dance and performance piece reflecting on gender, race, and ethnicity, Race Travels: Care Packages from Trinidad to Chicago and Back Again as well as a queer storytelling performance by international performance artists Indra Windh and Del LaGrace Volcan. We procured a lecturership for the program's first Assistant Director, Jillana Enteen, whose hire also expanded our expertise in transnational sexualities and media studies. When Jillana took maternity leave mid-year, Amy Partridge assumed the Assistant Directorship along with her position as Director of Undergraduate Studies and head of the Undergraduate Board, in which capacity she supervised a particularly strong series of senior honors theses.

The Gender Studies Reading Group continued to grow under the leadership of Harvey Young (Theatre/RTVF/Performance Studies), and, in the spring, we launched the search for a senior scholar that resulted in the following year's hire of Mary Dietz.

Gender Studies was flourishing, and its contributions to the intellectual and political life of the campus were increasingly recognized, including by the substantial audiences attending our events and by the College's renovation and refurnishing of our office spaces, whose new library area and table sets were filled with intellectual conversations among undergraduate and graduate students throughout the year.