The third annual Gender Studies Symposium at West Virginia Wesleyan will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in Loar Auditorium. This year's symposium will focus on issues of reproductive justice from both national and local perspectives. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Jeanne Flavin, author of "Our Bodies, Our Crimes" and professor of sociology at Fordham University, will present a talk entitled "Being Relevant: Mobilizing for Reproductive Justice in Everyday Life" through a discussion of issues raised in her book in addition to her work as the president of the board of directors of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
Representatives from WV Free, West Virginia's statewide advocacy organization for reproductive rights, will discuss the most relevant issues of reproductive justice affecting women, men, and families living in the state of West Virginia. Presenting at the symposium will be Rachel Huff, education and outreach manager for WV Free, and Danielle Mullins, WV Free field organizer, who is also a 2012 graduate of Wesleyan's Gender Studies program.
"Rhetoric around women's bodies and reproductive health has been in the spotlight during debates about the implementation of new national health care regulations," said Jessica Scott, coordinator of Wesleyan's gender studies program.
"While some individuals have long decided their votes along anti- or pro-choice lines, developing an ethic specifically in relation to reproductive health has become part of the meaning of civic engagement in this election year," Scott said. "The way we both talk and fail to talk productively about women's bodies and reproductive health means that we have a lot of work to do in developing that ethic. This event should be part of that conversation for campus and community members."
Since its establishment in 2010, students have attended the Gender Studies Symposium to gain increased awareness about the practical work being carried out in their own communities and in the larger world using the theoretical frameworks generated by Gender Studies as an academic discipline through presentations by national and international experts in their respective areas of pedagogy, activism and critical thought.