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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

11th Annual Student Gender Conference Celebrates Isom Center’s 30th Anniversary

The 11th annual Student Gender Conference at the University of Mississippi, set for Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 28-March 1), celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

Generations of Feminism is the conference theme, which has been developed in broad terms with panels that feature Isom Center-affiliated faculty, as well as panels of students reflecting their interests, said Mary Carruth, Isom Center director.

“Hence our conference, with its mix of everyday and scholarly topics, will appeal to nonacademics and academics alike,” Carruth said. “Members of the Oxford and university communities are invited to attend panels of interest to them.”

All sessions are to be held in the Student Union, Room 404, and the public is invited to attend free of charge. The conference was planned and implemented by a faculty committee, chaired by Mary Hayes, assistant professor of English and director of the medieval studies minor.

Faculty panel titles and moderators include “Gender and the Academic Profession,” Kirsten Dellinger, chair of sociology and anthropology and professor of sociology; “Great with Child: Working Mothers in the Academy,” Allison Burkette, assistant professor of modern languages-linguistics; and “Below the Belt in the Bible Belt: Teaching Sex and Gender at Ole Miss,” Jaime Harker, associate professor of English.

“The forte of our conference is the presentations by undergraduate and graduate students on the topics of gender, women and sexuality,” Carruth said. “These are cross-disciplinary, ranging from literature and film to sociology, criminal justice and law.”

For example, the student session “Generational Feminisms: Definitions and Debates,” a spin-off of the conference theme, features Scarlett Cunningham of Oxford, a gender studies graduate teaching assistant, and undergraduate gender studies minors E’charial Gaines of Corinth and Allie Trotter of Cordova, Tenn., who will define and debate third-wave feminisms.

Other student programs include a roundtable on the film “The Anchoress,” moderated by Hayes, and a panel session titled “Honoring Gaia: Women, Activism and the Environment,” led by Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English and director of the environmental studies minor.

Of special interest this year, at the invitation of the conference chair, UM’s Office of Women’s Athletics will present the session “Tales from the Locker Room: Women Athletes at UM.” Also new this year is a student session on “Activisms and Alliances,” organized by senior gender studies minor Taylor Ridling of Shannon. The student panelists represent the UM chapters of the Feminist Majority and Amnesty International, as well as the Gay-Straight Alliance and One Mississippi.

A highlight of the conference will be the presentation of two annual student awards: the Sheila Skemp Prize and the Lucy Somerville Howorth Prize, given for the best essays in gender studies by an undergraduate and graduate student, respectively.

For more information, visit or call the Isom Center at 662-915-5916.