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College organizes symposium on media and feminism

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Posted on April 21, 2016 |
By Addison Independent



MIDDLEBURY — The 2016 Gensler Family Symposium on Feminism in a Global Context, April 25-29 at Middlebury College, will explore how a host of new media productions, on television and on the web, are focusing on people of color, and queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people.

“#IntersectionalTV: Mediating Race, Gender, and Sexuality” includes a weeklong series of activities at Middlebury College where students, scholars and media producers discuss how the internet has altered the landscape of programming. The symposium will hone in on the new media ecology as well as the emergence of a host of “minority” show runners and producers to understand their impact on our understandings of feminism.

On Monday, April 25, the symposium will start off with a student-curated screening of web-based productions that capture intersectional issues (Crossroads, 7 p.m.).

On Wednesday, April 27, Susan J. Douglas, Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, will give the keynote address, titled “Enlightened and Embedded Feminism: Where Are We Now?” at Dana Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Douglas is an award-winning media scholar, blogger and columnist for magazines such as In These Times. Her most recent publication is the provocative “Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work Is Done” (Henry Holt, 2010), in which she analyzes the mixed messages surrounding women, and the struggle in the media between embedded feminism on the one hand and enlightened sexism on the other.

In an event titled “Excursion to Shondaland” on Thursday, April 28, students will host and discuss a screening of contemporary television shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) and “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC) at the Crossroads Screening Room from 8 to 11 p.m.

On Friday, there will be two panels dedicated to television and web-based series at Axinn 229 from 1 to 5 p.m. The first panel, “Desires that Matter: Visualizing Web-Based Intersectionality,” includes presentations by Ariane Cruz, assistant professor of Women’s Studies (Pennsylvania State University) and Aymar Jean Christian, assistant professor of Communication Studies (Northwestern University). Their presentations are titled “Mis(Playing) Blackness: Black Female Sexuality in The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and “The Value and Exchange of Intersectional Distribution,” respectively.

The second panel, “Casting in the Dark: The Politics of Production,” will include presentations by Kristen Warner, assistant professor of Telecommunication & Film (University of Alabama) and Brian Herrera, assistant professor of Theater (Princeton University). Their presentations are titled “When a Modifier-Less Identity is the Goal You’re Gonna Have Problems: Shonda Rhimes and the Limits of Universal Discourse” and “All Ethnicities? On the Paradoxical Practices and Privileged Pleasures of Casting in Contemporary US Television,” respectively.

All of the events are free and open to the public.

The symposium is organized by the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. For further information, contact Karin Hanta by email [email protected] or by phone: (802) 443-5937.

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