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The Desert is Blooming

By Christine Gailey, Chair


Much has happened in Women's Studies and all of it is positive. To start, please join us in welcoming two new faculty members, Professors Alicia Arrizón and Hershini Bhana.

Alicia Arrizón will be sharing her time between Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies. Hershini Bhana will be full-time in Women's Studies. Our hire in 2000, Professor Amalia Cabezas, also begins teaching at UCR this Fall. With all of the novel approaches, innovative ideas, and energy our new faculty bring to the Department, watch for new courses in Winter and Spring 2002!

Women and Science Speaker Series

Thanks to Professor Margie Waller (Women's Studies and English), Women's Studies' highly successful speaker series on Gender and Science will continue this Fall. Watch for the fliers: all talks will be free and open to the UCR community.

Visiting Regents Lecturers

Two Regents' Lecturers with links to Women's Studies will be in residence at UCR at different times during Fall term.

Dr. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo is Executive Director of the Women's Aid Collective (WACOL) in Nigeria. She will be visiting UCR from October 10 through November 2. Women's Studies is sponsoring a public lecture by Dr. Ezeilo on the afternoon of October 24. Prof. Margie Waller will be hosting Dr. Ezeilo, so please contact Prof. Waller if you would like to arrange a talk.

Cleve Jones will be in residence from mid November through the early part of December. Jones is a world-renowned HIV/AIDS activist and a founder of the AIDS Quilt Project. He will be giving a public lecture on changing social dimensions of the HIV/AIDS crisis on Monday afternoon, Nov. 26, 2:40, in UV #10. He'll also be giving a talk on the political economy of AIDS on Monday, Nov. 19, 12:15-1:30 pm in HMNSS 1500. Everyone is welcome.

New Faculty Search: Gender and Racialization

Women's Studies is thrilled to announce a new, full-time, tenure-track, assistant professor position involving research and teaching on gender and race as intertwined processes. If you know a doctoral student who's finishing this year, or a recent Ph.D. whose research is along these lines, please let them know. The ad is as follows:

The Department of Women's Studies at the University of California, Riverside invites applications at the assistant professor level for a full-time, tenure-track position beginning July 1, 2002. We seek an innovative scholar engaged in interdisciplinary, comparative studies of race in relation to issues of gender, class, and nationality/ethnicity. The successful candidate will teach core and elective courses on gender and race, and women and social movements. Postcolonial and colonial research reconceptualizing race in relationship to gender and power is welcome. We welcome applicants with social science or humanities backgrounds, and are especially interested in scholars with interdisciplinary training. Ph.D. must be in hand at time of appointment. Please send Curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, written samples of scholarship, evidence of teaching ability, and other supporting materials to: Chair, Search Committee, Department of Women's Studies, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521. Review of completed applications will begin on November 1, 2001 and will continue until the position is filled. The University of California is an EEO/AA employer.

The finalists will visit UCR in Winter 2002 to give talks and meet with faculty and students.

We all wish Irma Kemp a speedy recovery: The office is not the same without her cheery competence!

Meet the Faculty:

Hershini Bhana:

Hershini Bhana was born in Durban, South Africa--a cauldron of political antagonism. She grew up watching the tensions between the descendents of Indian indentured laborers shipped in to work on the sugar-cane plantations, Zulu descendents of the Mafekane and white British settlers whose bumper stickers claimed Durban as the 'Last Outpost'. Of this background Dr. Bhana says, "Small wonder my work is concerned with articulating a hybrid (social) body of blackness that recognizes the traumatic condition of Otherness. I work with literature and the arts to trace the lives of women whose bodies re-map the black Atlantic, negotiating regimes of sexuality, gender, race and class. I insist that the diaspora is characterized by what Toni Morrison calls re-memory, tangible clusters of material forces waiting out there to grab hold of us as we pass by. I walk around Riverside, looking for portals in the landscape, remembered moments that enable me to pass through into the world of ghosts. I write and teach extensively about the politics of the ghost, insisting that the postcolonial landscape is haunted by our spectral ancestors who need to be recognized in order for the black community to heal from what Fanon called the 'nervous condition of the native' and move towards redress.

Dr. Bhana received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 1999. This Fall she will be teaching a class that looks at contemporary black texts that revolve around issues of pain and trauma. In 2001-2002, she also will teach "Crossing the Borders of Identity: The Politics of Racial Passing," focusing on the crisis in the project of nation building precipitated by black women whose ambiguously marked bodies threaten fixed ideas of race and gender. Using texts such as Danzy Senna's Caucasia and art by Adrian Piper, she will contextualize the problematic politics of mixed-race, insisting on new theories of identity that are determined, first and foremost, by the ghosts that haunt the landscape.

"I take my responsibility as a teacher seriously for within it lies the potential to touch the lives of students, many of whom don't know how important they are, and thus to change the world. "

Amalia Lucía Cabezas:

Amalia Lucía Cabezas received her B.A. in Women's Studies and Latin American Studies from Pitzer College, in Claremont, California (1992) and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (1998). Her research is focused on women's labor, sexuality, sex work, international tourism, and human rights with a focus on the Caribbean region. Dr. Cabezas' recent publications include: "Globalization, Sex Work and Women's Rights" in Alison Brysk, ed., Globalization and Human Rights: Transnational Problems, Transnational Solutions? (University of California Press, forthcoming) and "Legal Challenges to and by Sex Workers/Prostitutes" in the Cleveland Law Review.

In 1999-2000, Dr. Cabezas was a Fellow at the Humanities Research Institute's Feminist Crossings Seminar led by Professor Marguerite Waller. During 2000-2001 she was a UC President's Post Doctoral Fellow at UCLA. Now that she has settled at UCR, Dr. Cabezas is co-directing Women in Coalition with Dr. Piya Chatterjee. When asked what at tracted her to UCR, Dr. Cabezas responded, "There were so many reasons why I wanted to work at the Department of Women's Studies. The extraordinary intellectual force of its leadership and faculty, as well as its internationalist and activist vision impressed me immensely. I also feel tremendous academic opportunity and support to do groundbreaking work in my field, all of which made this the only department for me." In addition, Dr. Cabezas was attracted to UCR for its "exciting and vibrant student population, along with the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds - many of whom come from immigrant families and are the first generation to attend a university."

Dr. Cabezas comes to UCR having taught courses on Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, and Women's Studies at UCLA, UC Irvine, and at Cal. State Dominguez Hills. Here at UCR, Dr. Cabezas is teaching WMST 190: Women, Work, and Capitalism during the Fall '01 term. In Winter '02, she'll be teaching WMST 001: Gender and Sexuality and two courses in Spring '02, one of which will be WMST 040: Sexuality and Culture.

Faculty & Staff Notes

Alicia Arrizón and Marguerite Waller received a grant from the UC Center for Ideas and Society to organize a conference on Sexualities and Knowledges, slated for February 22-24, 2002 at UCR.

Piya Chatterjee's book, A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation, has received the John Hope Franklin Award.

Roxene Davis, Administrative Assistant for Women's Studies, was recently named an Independent Sales Director by the Mary Kay Corporation. Do we see a pink Cadillac in her future?

Christine Gailey presented a paper on the gender politics of international adoption at a conference on International Adoption drawing participants from 10 countries, held at Hamilton College, May 2-5, 2001.

Amy Ongiri (English) has been named as a Fellow by the John Hope Franklin Center on Interdisciplinary and International Studies, Duke University. She'll be in residence at the Center for this academic year. Professor Ongiri's project is titled "We Are Waiting on You: Black Community, the Crisis of Black Masculinity, and the Search to Define A Black Aesthetics."

Alicia Arrizón

Alicia Arrizón came to UCR in 1992 after being trained in Latin American Literatures and Cultural Studies at Stanford University. She is author of Latina Performance: Traversing the Stage (Indiana University Press, 1999), which was selected as one of ten "Outstanding Academic Titles" by Choice in 2000. Some of her articles have appeared in TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, Ollantay: Theatre Magazine, Mester: Literary Journal, Theatre Journal and Theatre Research International.

Professor Arrizón's academic interests are firmly situated in contemporary cultural studies, with a strong commitment to the interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and ethnicity and their interchange with gender, class and sexuality. The interdisciplinary concerns she has link the fields of visual arts, literature and critical theory. Currently, Professor Arrizón has been quite involved in working on her book-in-progress, Transculturation and Performance in Post-Spanish Sites. This study will encompass cultural sites altered by Spanish colonial and imperialist interventions. By discussing the racial marker of mestizaje as a form of transculturation in Latin America, the U.S. Latino cultural context, Caribbean sites and in the Philippines, Arrizón intends to open new possibilities for understanding the transnational specter of performance culture.

As a teacher, Professor Arrizón's methodology reflects the ongoing effort to frame knowledge in a comparative perspective: one that encourages the examination of difference beyond traditional models of critical inquiry. Within Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies, she believes, critical studies are at the heart of multiple debates. Among such debates the analysis of race, queer studies, gender differences and class responses, these epistemological inquiries, insisting on the link between conceptual theory and material culture.

Women in Coalition

Piya Chatterjee and Amalia Cabezas have been named Co-Directors of Women in Coalition, the research arm of the Women's Studies Department. Devra Weber (History) continues to head the Rural Women's Empowerment Project. Affiliated faculty have been writing grant proposals and planning new collaborative research projects.

One of the projects getting underway brings Women in Coalition into closer association with Lideres Campesinas, the internationally known farmworker women's organization, linking women workers in California and Mexico.

The project is aimed at introducing accessible primary health care services to migrant farmworkers in the Coachella Valley.

Women in Coalition welcomes your ideas and involvement. If you would like to do an internship with Women in Coalition, you can get course credit for it. through WMST 198-I. You can contact Professor Chatterjee for the details and to sign up.

Women in Coalition is located in Watkins 2121J. Watch for WIC's new website, which will be up and running soon.

Where We Stand On Terrorism and Women's Rights

Christine Gailey

We are still reeling from the horrifying events of September 11. Recurrent images rob us of sleep: images of explosions, dedicated rescue workers, desperate families and friends awaiting news of their missing. It may be easy to ignore one of the key realities of the World Trade Center as a workplace. At least a third of the missing are people born in other countries. What haunts me particularly is knowing how many of the maintenance staff in the twin towers were recent migrants to this country, working at minimum wage jobs with no benefits. What happens to their families, their children?

As we sort through our strong emotions coming out of this collective trauma, as feminists we need to be very careful of proposed "solutions" to the violence. Certainly the terrorists do not value women's rights. But one theme runs across cultures and nations: feminist scholars have stressed, in one way or another, that militarism spells disaster for women's rights. They inform us that most casualties in war are women and children, not soldiers. We know that the countries where women are well represented in decision-making echelons are few and far between, and do not include the USA.

We need to remember that women's rights advocates in most Islamic nations are beleaguered by fundamentalist extremists and often struggle with their own governments. Let us remember, too, that women's rights agendas in this country also are under attack by fundamentalist extremists: Jerry Falwell's inflammatory remarks, blaming the situation in part on the ACLU, gays, and feminists, are a frightening reminder of our parallel struggles.

Above all, let us not forget that people are not their government. Afghani women and girls have suffered far too much from the Taliban: They do not deserve to dread US attacks like salt in their open wounds.