Inspiring Women Speakers Highlight Women’s History Month

Posted: March 1, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

The university celebrates Women’s History Month this March with an array of musical and theater performances and films, lectures by prominent women, and workshops, all evoking this year’s theme of “Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility.”

On Wednesday, March 17, University of Virginia Professor Deborah McDowell will present the annual Sojourner Truth Lecture at 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Assembly Room G. McDowell is also the African American Studies Scholar-in-Residence and will be speaking at George Mason throughout the semester in that role. She is the author of “The Changing Same”: Black Women’s Literature, Criticism, and Theory and Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories. She coedited Slavery and the Literary Imagination with Arnold Rampersand and served as period editor for the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. This lecture is cosponsored annually with African American Studies.

Linda Pershing presents “Women Get Naked for Peace: Gendered Bodies in the War with Iraq” on Thursday, March 18, at 1 p.m. in the Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall. Pershing is director of Women’s Studies at the University of California, San Marcos. In the months preceding the war, groups of women demonstrated in the nude, using their bodies to spell out “No War” and “Peace” in meadows and on beaches. Their images provided a sharp contrast to media images of Iraqi women dressed in dark clothing with all but their faces covered.

Award-winning graphic designer and illustrator Luba Lukova will talk about her career on Tuesday, March 23, at 1:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. She takes exception to the way in which graphic design is relegated to a low status by art critics and has fought tirelessly for the profession to be given its due. Head of the Luba Lukova Studio in New York, Lukova’s clients include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Sony Music, and Polygram Records. Her works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, among others.

Robin Jacks, organizer of the Southern Girls Conventions, will be on hand to discuss women’s activism on Wednesday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Room 239A. The Southern Girls Convention is an annual grassroots meeting of pro-woman activists devoted to empowering women and girls in the South, discussing Southern culture, views, and stereotypes of the South, and talking about the struggle for social justice. For more information about the group, check out its web site at www.southerngirlsconvention.org.

Also on March 31, at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema, a theater group from Old Dominion University (ODU) will perform Willow Song: In Memoriam. The piece is based on the true story of an ODU student who was murdered by an intimate partner in March 2002. In an effort to educate people about the warning signs in relationships that have gone wrong, ODU’s theater faculty and students interviewed the friends and family of the victim and have interwoven these memories with excerpts from Shakespeare’s Othello and comments by counselors, police officers, and those who have been in abusive relationships. The theater group performs this piece at colleges and universities throughout Virginia.

Author Miriam Ching Yoon Louie discusses her book, Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory, on Friday, April 9, at noon in the Johnson Center Cinema. Summarizing the histories of Chinese, Mexican, and Korean immigration, Sweatshop Warriors examines the practices and policies that propel women, men, and children into dangerous and poorly paid jobs. Devoting more than three decades to empowering women of color, immigrant women workers, and grassroots Asian communities, Louie serves on the board of the Women of Color Resource Center in Berkeley, Calif., which she helped found in 1990.

All events are free and open to the public. The activities are sponsored by the Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center. For more information, call 703-993-2896.

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