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Women's Studies Program

Margaret Laurence Women's Studies Centre Speaker Series Presents

Feminisms Revealed:
What Does Feminism Look Like?

This year the Margaret Laurence Women's Studies Centre Speaker Series will focus on making feminism visible – revealing and exploring the many places where feminists are hard at work, and the many different ways in which feminists are working to make change. The series aims to build connections among feminist scholars, students, activists, artists and community workers, as well as to affirm and support the work of feminism in our communities.

Please join us for stimulating talks and conversation – All Welcome!


January 12, 6:00-7:30, 1L07, University of Winnipeg

The Empire Has No Clothes: Experiential Learnings of an Eco-feminist MLA
with Marianne Cerelli

In this talk Marianne Cerelli will explore four political experiences – what occurred, what she did, what happened and what we can learn from these experiences to work for change in the system of electoral politics, political parties, and health/environment/economy/development decision making. The four issues demonstrate how an Eco-feminist approach to politics is transformational by bringing together women's empowerment, with community development, health, sustainability and peace.

Marianne Cerilli was born in Toronto and grew up in Winnipeg. She has two degrees from the University of Manitoba, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Recreation Studies and a Bachelor of Education. She has traversed the political rapids as the youngest woman elected so far to the Manitoba Legislature, 1990-2003. Before pioneering new trails as an eco-feminist MLA she has gone from recreation leader and youth advocate, to volunteer and youth program consultant, to guidance counselor. Still trail blazing to the beat of her own drum, Marianne is starting her own community development business. Her business card says, Marianne Cerilli Change Agent: Community Development for Health, Sustainability and Peace. She is currently teaching part time at the University of Winnipeg, courses in women in politics, health education and Gender and Education. She is also currently an Advocate/Mentor in the core of Winnipeg at the West Central Women’s Resource Centre, a women’s advocacy and community development organization. With a career path that has been neither straight nor narrow, Marianne is also a mother/parent (with Glen) to six year old Mira, a writer and poet.


January 19, 7:00 - 8:30, Graffiti Gallery, 109 Higgins

Looking for Girl Land
with Chandra Mayor

Co-sponsored by the Manitoba Writers Guild and the Manitoba Arts Council

Part reading, part discussion, part performance, and part lecture, award-winning author Chandra Mayor embarks on an artistic feminist road trip to find and uncover Girl Land. In the never-never land of contemporary urban subcultures, where are the lost girls? What are their stories, and who’s telling them? What are the taboos against telling, and how do we subvert them? From the almost-inner circles of neo-nazi skinheads to hard core mosh pits, from feminism as a life-line to the secret blogs of lesbian bar staff, Chandra shatters silences to tell girl stories –– funny, beautiful, painful, and real –– and asks, what are your stories?

Chandra Mayor is a Winnipeg writer and editor. Her first book, August Witch: poems, was short-listed for four Manitoba book awards and won the Eileen McTavish Sykes award for best first book. She is the recipient of the 2003 John Hirsch award for most promising Manitoba writer. Her second book, Cherry, a novel, was short-listed for the Margaret Laurence award for fiction and won the Carol Shields Winnipeg book award. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and Chandra was a featured reader in the inaugural Poetry Train and Random Acts of Poetry events. She has appeared in writers' festivals and reading series across the country, and is currently the poetry co-editor for Prairie Fire magazine.


February 1, 12:30 - 1:30, University of Winnipeg

Are University Womyn’s Centres Feminist?
with Tanya McFadyen, Sabrina Deforest, Sarah Amoyt, Aviva Cipilinski and Meredith Mitchell

In this panel feminist student activists will discuss their views on and experiences with University Womyn’s Centres. They will discuss the role of feminism(s) within university womyn's centres by examining the intersection between feminist values and the customs, vision and practices of these centres, which can sometimes be in opposition to feminist values. They will also discuss the herstory of campus womyn's centres and feminist praxis, with a focus on both the Univeristy of Winnipeg's and University of Manitoba’s Womyn's Centres.

Tanya McFadyen is a fourth-year Honours Women's Studies student at the University of Winnipeg. During her four years at the University, she’s had the opportunity to be chairperson of the UWSA Daycare Management Committee, a member of the Women's Studies Program committee, a regular host of a feminist campus radio show called 'Say it Sista' on CKUW 95.9 and a research assistant for the Margaret Laurence Women's Studies Centre. Currently she is Vice President Internal for the University of Winnipeg's Students' Association. She loves to organize events on and off campus, do homework, and spend time with her five-year-old daughter, Emily.

Sabrina Deforest is the current co-ordinator of the University of Winnipeg Students Womyn’s Centre. She is a third year Education student and has been a member of the Womyn's Centre on campus since her first year at the University of Winnipeg.

Sarah Amoyt is currently the General Coordinator at The University of Winnipeg Students' Association and has been a feminist activist and organizer on and off campus.

Aviva Cipilinski is proud to be a tree huggin', gender bending, raging feminist activist from the prairies. It is her passion to advocate for change both on and off campus and to take up as much space as she possibly can with her voice, body and spirit. She currently works as co-coordinator at the UofM Womyn's Centre, is one of many co-hosts on UMFM's feminist radio show Eve's Third Wave and is the Women's Representative on UMSU council. She is also involved in starting up a new Radical Cheerleading group in the city and is am a part of the newly formed Ladyfest Winnipeg collective.

Meredith Mitchell is finishing up the honours program in women's studies at the University of Manitoba. She has been a collective member at the University of Manitoba Womyn's Centre since 2002 and this year is one of the co-ordinators. She is also involved in starting up a new Radical Cheerleading group. Meredith loves watching new members use the space and get excited about feminist action. Plans for the future – be more like my grandma.


February 22, 1:30-3:00, 2M70, University of Winnipeg

When Black Consciousness Meets White Consciousness
with Rozena Maart (Evening Reading to be announced)

Dr. Rozena Maart was nominated to the "Woman of the Year," award in 1987 at age 24, for her work in the area of violence against women and for starting, with four women, the first Black feminist organisation, WOMEN AGAINST REPRESSION, in Cape Town, South Africa. She is also the winner of "The Journey Prize: Best Short Fiction in Canada," 1992. Her collection of stories entitled Rosa's District 6 encapsulates the lives of the people in Cape Town's District 6. Set during South Africa's brutal apartheid regime, these moving and fascinating tales demonstrate that even at a time of profound racial intolerance and strife, life goes on. Her scholarly work focuses primarily on language: as speech, the imagination and writing. She has given visiting lectures in Canada, The United States and England and is the Director of the Biko Institute, a small educational institute in Guelph, with four divisions, one of which is the Amilcar Cabral Arts Collective: a small collective whose focus in Media Arts is first and foremost the politics of resistance. Her work has been selected along with 23 African Canadians to be part of Black Ink/Encre Noire, which will be introduced by the new Governor General of Governor and will travel throughout the 10 provinces of Canada. She currently lives in Guelph, Ontario.

The talk will present conceptualisations around White Consciousness and the usage of Black Consciousness, historically and in its contemporary form, to articulate and put forward a politics of consciousness and a consciousness of politics. Merges between and among Black Consciousness, psychoanalysis, derridean deconstruction and feminist theory and practice will be examined and in the process the outcome of particular research with violence against women groups will be presented.

Excerpts from The Politics of Consciousness: The Consciousness of Politics. When Black Consciousness Meets White Consciousness From Volume One, Chapter One I bring the politics of Black Consciousness into confrontation with the absence of the knowledge of politics in psychoanalysis; I bring Derridean deconstruction into the realm of Black Consciousness, hold psychoanalysis under the darkness of Black Consciousness, examining their commonalities and differences, srcutinizing their relationship to key concepts such as resistance, consciousness, the unconscious, the mind and transference. Black Consciousness, Derridean deconstruction and psychoanalysis all focus on the mind. But it is not the mind that acts, it is the body--agency, the flesh--the racialised being who acts through his/her racially constructed identity.

From Volume Two, Chapter Seven The functioning of White Consciousness is therefore a world of words; words emptied of their historical facts, deprived of an understanding of naming, and the knowledge that such naming be associated with the direct relations with which words hold true to their historical meaning. It is this absence of the knowledge of White Consciousness that is created through the absence of the words with which to say it.


February 28, 1:30, Bulman Centre MPR, University of Winnipeg

Queer and Mennonite: Putting My Protestant Work Ethic to Good Use
with Jan Braun, in collaboration with LBGT**Gender Week

Co-sponsored with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Manitoba Arts Council

In this reading and following discussion, writer Jan Guenther Braun will read from her work-in-progress, Somewhere Else, a work that tells the story of a young, queer Mennonite woman. Within this context there is an examination of how both personal and group mythology is created and why. Guenther Braun attempts to give a full and honest account of literary, theological, philosophical, geographical, and cultural influences within a blood, sweat and tears narrative struggling towards a personal truth.

Jan Guenther Braun is a writer who is also part of a collectively owned organic grocery store. On the weekends she performs civil marriages. In the past year she was selected for the Manitoba Writers’Guild Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program, won the Manitoba round of the CBC Poetry Face-Off and received a Manitoba Arts Council Emerging Writers’ Grant. Jan is currently at work putting the finishing touches on her first novel which is tentatively entitled Somewhere Else. Originally from Saskatchewan, Jan grew up on a farm and moved to Winnipeg in 1997 earning a Bachelor of Theology from Canadian Mennonite Bible College in 2000 followed by a B.A., English Literature (Hons) from the University of Waterloo. In her work as an undergraduate in English Literature she focused on the transformative power of performance poetry within the context of communities in conflict. With a background in theology, farming, and performance poetry she integrates these themes in her writing through the lens of a queer Mennonite.


March 2, 2:30 -3:45, 3M63, University of Winnipeg

She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She Comes: teaching places in the path of beauty with Debbie Schnitzer

In her imaging of the possible life and death of Shakespeare's unknown but equally gifted sister, Judith, Virginia Woolf observes that "if we worked for her," she would "come," "put on the body she has so often laid down." In this discussion of my own practice, I am imagining and exploring the conditions that encourage us to position ourselves thoughtfully and joyously in such meeting places, shape rooms that sustain and reveal our diverse, multivalent responses to the call of art.

Debbie Schnitzer is intrigued by correspondences among art forms, the biology and biography of the creative process and the way we represent and value the arts of discovery in learning cultures. She works as an editor, teacher, writer and activist.


March 8, International Women’s Day, 3:30-5:00, 3M63 University of Winnipeg
International Women’s Day Panel Discussion

Forming a Feminist Identity: Coming Out as A Feminist in the21st Century
with Meredith Milne

This panel is organized by University of Winnipeg Women’s Studies student Meredith Milne as part of her Women’s Studies practicum placement at the Margaret Laurence Women’s Studies Centre. Meredith Milne observes that as a young feminist it is difficult to identify with feminist ideologies and disclose your beliefs. She is organizing this panel to focus on ways we can help other women (young and old) to form their feminist identity. She will bring together women from different backgrounds to talk about how feminism has influenced them and to identify struggles that feminist activist and academics face everyday. The challenges and obstacles feminists face to create a positive space for women will be a focal point of the discussion. Panelists will discuss how they came to be feminists, how they challenge societal norms of patriarchy in our society and how they have learned to create understanding and form coalitions with other women. Concrete strategies women can implement for change will also be offered.


March 9, International Women’s Day

Celebrating Feminist Culture! An Evening of Feminist Activism and Performance
at the West End Cultural Centre (Watch for Details!)

Be a part of the organizing team email roewancrowe@mts.net to get involved.


March 15, 7:00 pm Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg

The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in the New Age of Empire
with Cynthia Enloe

Cynthia Enloe, who grew up on Long Island and received a Ph.D. from the University of California/Berkeley, has served as chair of Clark’s Government Department and Director of Women’s Studies. Professor Enloe is currently a Research Professor in the IDCE Department and teaches the intensive seven-week seminar, “Gender, Militarization, and Development.” She has been awarded Clark’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year three times and has been named the University Senior Faculty Fellow for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.

Enloe’s feminist teaching and research has focused on the interplay of women’s politics in the national and international arenas, with special attention to how women’s labor is made cheap in globalized factories (especially sneaker factories) and how women’s emotional and physical labor has been used to support governments’war-waging policies, and how many women have tried to resist both of those efforts. Racial, class, ethnic, and national identities and pressures shaping ideas about femininities and masculinities have been common threads throughout her studies.

In recent years, Enloe has been invited to lecture and give special seminars on feminism, militarization, and globalization in Japan, Korea, Turkey, Canada, Britain and numerous colleges across the U.S. She has written for Ms. Magazine and Village Voice and has appeared on National Public Radio and the BBC. She serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals, including Signs and the International Feminist Journal of Politics. Among her nine books are: The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War (1993), Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (2000), Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women ‘s Lives (2000), and The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, (2004).

Events from last term >

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