Communication Department to Present Muted Group Theory Colloquium

Posted: March 28, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

As part of Women’s History Month, scholars and students will gather on Thursday, March 31, to explore muted group theory with one of its originators, Shirley Ardener, an Oxford University social anthropologist. The colloquium, Muted Group Theory—Past, Present, and Future, takes place in the Johnson Center Cinema from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature discussions on explanations for the suppression or distortion of oppressed groups.

Ardener will begin the day at 9:30 a.m. with a keynote speech, “Muted Groups: The Genesis of an Idea and Its Praxis.” She is a member of the International Gender Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. Besides books on gender and muted group theory, she also publishes in the field of Cameroon Studies.

The event will also feature distinguished scholars who have worked with and extended Ardener’s work into communication. Cheris Kramarae, a senior scholar at the University of Oregon, will speak at 10:40 a.m. on “Muted Group Theory in Communication: Asking Dangerous Questions.” At 11 a.m., Jannette Dates, professor Emerita from Howard University, will present, “The Muted Voices of African American Women-Lessons for the 21st Century.” Following her will be Julia Wood from the University of North Carolina, who will wrap up the morning session with “Affinities between Muted Group and Standpoint Theories.”

In the afternoon, Mark Orbe from Western Michigan University will present “Continuing a Legacy of Theorizing from the Margins: Conceptualizations of Co-Cultural Theory” beginning at 1 p.m. The last of the speakers, Arizona State University’s Thomas Nakayama, will present “Muting and Finding an Asian American Voice” at 1:20 p.m. The day will conclude with a roundtable question and answer period, after which refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public. The Communication Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Women’s Studies, Office of the Provost, University Life, and New Century College are sponsoring the event. For further details, contact clehman@gmu.edu.

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