Penn State Behrend’s Sixth Annual Gender Conference
April 4 and 5, 2013
Featuring a talk by Sapphire, the author of “Push”
Teenager Precious Jones is illiterate, impoverished, pregnant, and a victim of incest. The protagonist of Sapphire’s acclaimed 1996 novel Push (later adapted as the Academy Award winning 2009 film Precious) is the kind of narrator who is rarely heard from in contemporary American fiction. But through her experiences at an alternative school, Precious learns to write and to reclaim her voice.
“You know, [for so long] there has just been this space filled by statistics and jokes, but never with a real human being,” author Sapphire has said about her creation. “And in that way I feel I've done my work . . . every time I let Precious’s voice come through, I just felt the rawness and the power coming from a worthy human being.”
In celebration of Sapphire’s April 4 speaking engagement at Penn State Behrend, the theme of this year’s gender conference is Voice and Visibility. Whose voices have been forgotten? Who are the faces over-saturating our popular culture? What subjects remain taboo, and what do they reveal about ourselves? How can the humanities and the arts illuminate new stories and provide new perspectives? We welcome papers, posters, multi-media projects, panels and roundtable discussions.
About the Conference
The annual gender conference provides a forum for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage academic work on issues of gender and to hold a campus-wide discussion. No previous conference experience is required, and students from all academic disciplines are welcomed. We strive to provide a thoughtful but low-key experience. To submit an idea for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide a title for your proposed project, and make sure that you have delivered a clear explanation of how it relates to the theme. All submissions will receive a response. Any questions about the process should be addressed to Dr. Sarah Whitney at email@example.com. The deadline for submissions for this year's conference is now closed.
Friday April 5
10:10-11:00: “Difficult Subjects in Life and Writing, Part II”
Ms. Elizabeth Fogle, facilitator
1:00-1:30: Poster Session #2: “Celebrating African American Women’s History”
1:30-2:15PM: “Gender and Sexuality - A Student Roundtable”
Dr. Mara Taylor, facilitator
2:30-3:15: “Gender Stereotypes in Science - A Student Roundtable”
Dr. Amy Carney, facilitator
3:30-4:15: “ Literature For Adolescent Girls – Where Are We Going?”
Dr. Sarah Whitney, facilitator
4:15-4:45: “Sexual Violence in the Media: New Perspectives”
Dr. Kim Todd, facilitator
6PM – Faculty Performance – "Resisting Fascism's New Man: Mario Castlenuovo-Tedesco's settings for voice of Walt Whitman's 'Calamus' Poems"
In 1936, Italian Jewish composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco set for voice ten of Walt Whitman's "Calamus" poems. Following a performance of the cycle, we will discuss the songs in their historical context, focusing on such topics as the reception of Walt Whitman in Italy, Italian Fascist patronage of the arts, and Castlenuovo-Tedesco's aesthetic. Our argument is that this song cycle complicates the received wisdom that artistic representations of masculinity in the Fascist period always towed the Fascist party line. Specifically, the version of masculinity that emerges from the songs is not the Fascist dream of a virile masculinity poised to "believe, obey, fight."