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Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth

217 Wilson Hall
6256 Hinman Box
Hanover, NH
03755-3529 USA
Phone: + (1) 603 646-8867
Fax: + (1) 603 646 0998
Email: GRID@dartmouth.edu
 
Home >  Events

Spring 2015

Just Words: Free Speech and Social Change

The Spring 2015 GRID Seminar will bring together students, researchers, media practitioners, and activists to examine the value and limits of the right to freedom of expression in the pursuit of social justice. The ability to communicate without government censorship is crucial in bringing about social and political change and, yet, unregulated speech, especially in the form of on-line abuse of activists on social media can silence and marginalize. Words—and pictures and videos—can galvanize political movements, but can also be used to harass and threaten those engaged in them, and it isn't always the case that more speech is a sufficient response to harmful speech, given the instantaneous global reach of the internet and the difficulty of responding effectively. The participants in this seminar will attend a series of public lectures on these and related issues and will also engage in group discussions with visiting speakers.

justwords

Video from series

Photos from series

 

Public Lecture Series

Friday, April 17

"Harriet's Legacy: Navigating Intersectionality in the Age of Post Racialism"

  • Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Critical Race Theory and Law
    • 3:30pm - Filene Auditorium, Moore

Wednesday, April 22

"The Limits of Critique: Language Policing and Social Movements"

  • Brittney Cooper, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies 
    • 5:00pm - Filene Auditorium, Moore

Friday, May 1

"Who Pays for Free Speech"

Tuesday, May 12

"The Silence is Broken"

  • Rebecca Solnit, writer and activist 
    • 4:30pm - Filene Auditorium, Moore 

Tuesday, May 19

Musical Performance

  • Toshi Reagon, singer-songwriter, musician and civil rights activist. 
    • 4:00pm - Filene Auditorium, Moore 

 

GRID Fellow Seminar

Our goal is to bring together a group of interested Dartmouth faculty, professional staff, and graduate students, from the different academic divisions and professional schools to engage in interdisciplinary debate and study on the topics of crisis, the erosion of justice, social inequities, their effects on individuals, families, and communities, and ground systemic analysis and change in the insights offered by critical social and gender-based theory, activism, and the arts.

WGST Associated Course

WGST 96: Advanced Research In Gender Studies

This course is WGST's curricular connection with the Gender Research Institute's annual spring research seminar. Each offering of WGST 96 will center on texts written or created by GRID's guest speakers and complemented with other relevant theoretical, critical, or artistic material. Students matriculated in WGST 96 will automatically be considered GRID Fellows and will have the opportunity of meeting and directly engaging in conversation with the authors and artists studied in the course. In addition to regular class sessions, students will also attend the GRID seminar meetings and public lectures. Students will be expected to produce a publishable paper on a topic of their choice as it relates to the theme of the seminar. Final projects may be co-authored with any GRID Fellow. Prerequisites: Major and Minors in WGST; or Permission by Instructor

Spring 2015: Just Words: Free Speech and Social Change
The course examines the value and limits of the right to freedom of expression in the pursuit of social justice. Together, we will explore how everyday life is shaped by language and systems of representation and in turn how subjects use language as an act of agency that has important consequences. "The vitality of language," as Toni Morrison puts it, "lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, and writers" (Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1993). The politics of language––embodied as well in music, images, everyday encounters, and signs––produce in this sense subjects and imagined worlds of becoming. We will explore how everyday people use language and express themselves––individually and collectively––to imagine, organize, and actualize more just worlds free of sexism, classism, racism, colonialism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, sexual violence, and militarism.

Students in this course will become familiar with historical and contemporary examples of how journalists, musicians, writers, artists, activists, and everyday people challenge and disrupt government censorship, the regulation of speech, and institutions of violence that limit the right to freedom of expression in the pursuit of social justice. In particular, the course includes a strong emphasis on the gendered and colonial politics of contemporary warfare in the Middle East and how dominant media representations of the Global War on Terror sanitize the war's injurious effects of bodies and police public modes of grieving. The course therefore also examines how activists and journalists use film, media, art, testimonies, and narrative practices to tell a counter-narrative of the Global War on Terror's injurious effects on bodies. We will engage a variety of texts that blur the perceived boundaries between the militarization of everyday life on the homefront and warfront. Topics include but are not limited to:

• Language, power, and representation;

• Carceral violence and institutional racism;

• Epistemic violence, testimonies, and the production of silences;

• Militarized violence, drone warfare, and global anti-drone movements;

• Prostitution, sexual assault, marriage, ethnic politics, and sexist economies in the "Iraq War" for American women and Iraqi women;

• Resisting the militarization of everyday life on the home front;

• Policing of bodies and speech in architecture, the police state, institutions, and media;

• Music, political affect, and social justice movements.

In addition, students in this course will attend the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth (GRID) public lectures on these and related issues and will also engage in group discussions with visiting speakers. The course will engage the texts written or created by GRID's invited guest speakers and additional course material complements these topics with other relevant theoretical, critical, and artistic texts.

Students will meet in a seminar format each week with the instructor of the course. Students matriculated in WGST 96 will automatically be considered GRID Fellows and will also be required to meet on designated evenings with GRID faculty, staff, and graduate student fellows to discuss various topics pertaining to the speaker series. Students are also expected to participate in the private lunches or dinners together with the full cohort of GRID fellows and speakers and to attend the public lectures.

Dr.Gallagher, GRID Postdoctoral Fellow

 

Last Updated: 3/1/16