Spectrum 2017

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VOL. 5

2016-2017

SPECTRUM The TCU Women and Gender Studies Newsletter | Editor Jamalin R. Harp

Inside the Volume Message from the Director Theme Semester New Partner Programs Wise Woman Award Faculty Research and Creativity Award Faculty Profile Faculty Promotions Ambassador Peters Faculty Book Publications Faculty and Graduate Student Fellowships Women’s March in Austin Ambassador Mukantabana Graduate Student Research Award Drag Out V-Week + Carry On Karaoke Priscilla Tate Awards Graduating Students Undergraduate Student Spotlight Service Learning Green Honors Chair

Message from the Director
 Dr. Theresa Gaul This has been a momentous year in Women and Gender Studies at TCU! In addition to the typical busy slate of programming, awards, symposia, service learning, and thought-provoking class offerings, this year we began strategic planning and underwent our first ever Academic Program Review. Because our Program doesn’t offer a major, we were not part of the calendar of regular program review at TCU. Due to our exponential growth over the last five years, the pressure this has placed on existing resources, and the opportunities it has made possible, it became obvious that engaging in this process would be very valuable in helping us determine our future directions at this pivotal moment. The year-long process began in August with a retreat for faculty and staff affiliates, where they identified five top areas of priority in which they wished to see the Program develop: 1) find a secure 1


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home in a unit with Department status, faculty lines, and office space; 2) develop and offer a major; 3) enhance sexuality studies within the WGST curriculum; 4) take concrete measures to explore the feasibility of developing a master’s degree or joint master’s degrees; 5) contribute to the University’s dialogue on diversity through research, teaching, programming, and curricular development, including (but not limited to) determining the feasibility of joint programs of study with the University’s new Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) Program.

Chancellor Victor Boschini, Jr. meets with WGST students

The next stage involved the writing of a Self-Study Report. To do so, Graduate Assistant Meredith May, Core Affiliate member Margaret Lowry (who was hired as a consultant to assist with the report) and I gathered a variety of forms of data on the Program. This included material gathered by Institutional Research on the profile of our students and enrollment and graduation statistics for our classes and Program; insights provided during the fall semester by three focus groups, one at the undergraduate level, one at the graduate, and one consisting of faculty; and student comments from SPOTS in all WGST classes over the past several years. Students in Professor Gabe Huddleston’s research methods class conducted content analysis of the data. The resulting Report recounted the history of the Program at TCU, its current strengths and challenges, its vision for the future (building off the five priorities mentioned above), and the resources necessary to fulfill this vision. This Report was shared with the WGST Advisory Council and affiliates, who gave feedback which was then incorporated into the final version.

The next stage consisted of a 2-day campus visit in February by three external reviewers: Dr. Tracy Butts, Chico State University; Dr. Susan Shaw, Oregon State University; and Dr. Penny Weiss, St. Louis University. These reviewers were carefully chosen by the WGST Advisory Council for the various kinds of expertise they brought, which included experience in WGS program administration, developing majors and master’s degree curricula in WGS, and working in programs which combined multicultural study with WGS. After reading the Self-Study Report in advance, the reviewers met with approximately 60 students, faculty, and administrators while on campus. They then produced a report with recommendations, which they addressed to Provost Nowell Donovan. Along with Dean Bonnie Melhart and Director of Assessment Catherine Wehlburg, I met with Provost Donovan to discuss the contents of the report in March. He then wrote a response to the Report, which was shared with WGST faculty/staff affiliates, and he met with them in April, to complete the official Academic Program Review process. The major recommendations of the external reviewers’ report were that the University should 1) strengthen the academic profile of the unit by granting it department status, providing staff and office space, and support it in

Dr. Penny Weiss, Dr. Susan Shaw, and Dr. Tracy Butts, the three external reviewers who assisted in WGST’s program review

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developing a major and enriching graduate offerings to truly credential students in the field; and 2) bring TCU’s WGST program up to the standards of the discipline today, which requires the hiring of its own faculty who can teach a broad range of core courses on a regular basis, who are trained in the theories and methodologies of the field, and whose professional development is tied to the discipline’s journals and conferences. The immediate outcomes of the review were that the Provost affirmed the University’s commitment to WGST; signaled his support of the development of a major within two years, the enhancing of graduate offerings, and movement to departmental status; and granted us two positions for immediate hire, a Lecturer for the academic year 2017-18 and a full-time Associate Director (staff position) beginning in summer 2017. These two positions represent the first full-time positions ever funded in the WGST Program, and the searches are currently ongoing. In September we will be putting forward a budget proposal for the Program to the Provost which will include requests for a cluster of tenure-track faculty hires necessary to develop the academic curriculum of the Program. With two new employees and a major in the works, you can see that my comment at the beginning of the column that this was a momentous year for WGST is indeed true. The transformative potential of the Academic Program Review for WGST at this juncture cannot be overstated, and we look forward to a new day for Women and Gender Studies at TCU!

Theme Semester
 by Dr. Kassia Waggoner, WGST Core Affiliate and former WGST Graduate Assistant The Women and Gender Studies Program at TCU sponsored a theme semester last fall on politics, a topic selected by WGST faculty and students. The interdisciplinary schedule of events explored the myriad ways politics relates to women, gender, and sexuality and how it intersects with identity in a range of situations. They were planned and organized by members of this year’s theme semester committee: Joanne Green, Margaret Lowry, Layne Craig, Amanda Barnett, Kassia Waggoner, Jason Helms, Mariam MacGregor, Meredith May, Lindsay Knight, and Stacy Landreth Grau.

Voter Registration Service Project To kick off the theme semester, the Women and Gender Studies Program participated in voter registration at various locations on campus for a total of three times throughout the semester.

Amanda Barnett, Angela Moore, and Dr. Layne Craig helping register student voters

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Navigating Gender Politics in the Workplace Part 1: WGST Book Club The first event of the themed semester was WGST book club hosted by Triota and Neeley School’s Women in Business Network. Fifteen students, staff, and faculty were in attendance and engaged in productive dialogue over the text Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel.

Are You Man Enough? Gender, Media and the American Presidency Together with the American Association of University Women, Student Development Services, and the Department of Political Science, WGST hosted Book club attendees with their copy of Dr. Meredith Conroy from the University Frankel’s work of California-San Bernadino. Her lecture, “Are You Man Enough? Gender, Media, and The American Presidency,” analyzed the gendered dynamics of candidates’ rhetoric and news media reports of presidential elections. She discussed the consequences of established gender hierarchies for political representation and considered the implications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the White House.

Race Class Politics in Global Literature

Left: Dr. Meredith Conroy delivers her “Are You Man Enough?” lecture

Right: Conroy speaks with WGST members Co-sponsored by QEP: Discovering Global Citizenship, WGST at dessert and discussion group had the opportunity to host a luncheon discussion with Mauritian poet and novelist Ananda Devi on Monday September 29. Devi is the author of twelve novels and a number of poetry and short story collections. Her fiction and poetry has long focused on the intersections of gender, social class, and national identity. In a conversation with WGST students and faculty, Devi discussed the ways in which global literature helps readers to cross cultural and political divides and better understand the motivations and complex inner lives of those often dismissed as “other.”

Wise Woman Pedagogy Workshop: Feminism, Advertising, and Activist Politics Ananda Devi talks about the power of literature with WGST members

On October 6th, Dr. Jacque Lambiase, the winner of the 2016 Jean Giles-Sims Wise Woman Award, lead a pedagogical workshop entitled, “Wise Woman Pedagogy Workshop: Feminism, Advertising, and Activist Politics.” Her presentation included a short history of the ways that feminists have protested 4


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against advertisers, companies, and brands. Lambiase explained the ways that this history helps us make connections in the classroom to qualitative and quantitative content analysis so that students may see for themselves the ways that media portray women, people of color and the LGBT community. She encouraged students and faculty to get involved in original research and develop their own protests through connective digital culture.

Navigating Gender Politics in the Workplace Part 2: Panel Discussion Continuing our action-packed October, on Thursday October 13 Women and Gender Studies co-hosted a panel discussion with the Neeley School's Women in Business Network on navigating gender politics in the workplace. This event served as a follow up to our book club selection and allowed for further dialogue regarding the ways that women and minorities are often marginalized in the work place and the ways to combat micro and macro aggressions.

Panel discussion co-hosted by

Women, Gender, and Politics Graduate Symposium

the Neeley School’s Women in

On Friday, October 28, WGST hosted its third annual graduate student symposium. This year’s keynote address was given by Professor Mathilde Mukantabana, the Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Her talk entitled, "We Women in Politics: The Case of Rwanda and the Difference We Make," focused on women in positions of power in Rwanda and activist efforts in the region. In addition to the keynote address, Dr. Carrie Currier conducted an interview with Ambassador Mukantabana on the topic of “We Women in Politics: Implications for the Global Community.” The graduate symposium also featured this year’s Graduate Research Award Recipient, Meta Henty, who presented her research entitled, “#TeenMoms Disrupt Dominant Discourses: An Interactive Workshop.” The afternoon concluded with symposium presentations by TCU graduate students on the topic of politics. WGST wishes to thank the members of the graduate student committee charged with organizing and creating the program: Jamalin R. Harp, Kaylee Henderson-Haefner, Sofia Huggins, Adam Nemmers, and Rachel Johnston. Business Network

Election Watch Party On November 8, WGST co-sponsored an Election Watch Party with SGA. Dr. Jacque Lambiase kicked off the event with a nonpartisan

Above: Grad student speaks at Grad Student Symposium
 Below: Ambassador Mukantabana and Dr. Carrie Currier

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discussion of symbolism in this year’s election including the ways music was used to establish the ethos of the candidates during their speeches, rallies, and events and the emblems candidates chose to wear, such as Hillary Clinton’s glass ceiling pendant. Several WGST undergraduate students, including Tamera Hyatte and Spencer Nast, spoke at the event regarding the significance of the election and the need for students to become involved in the election process at the national and local level in order to make a difference. Students in attendance enjoyed a variety of activities during the event including green-screen photo-shoots with the candidates, pin the tail on the donkey or trunk on the elephant, and political trivia. Dr. Jacque Lambiase speaks on the rhetoric of political elections

NEW PARTNER PROGRAMS Women and Gender Studies is pleased to be working collaboratively with two new partner programs going forward. After calls by students for a curriculum engaged with issues related to race and ethnicity, faculty and staff across the university developed these new offerings. African American and Africana Studies, co-directed by WGST Core Affiliates Dr. Melanie Harris and Dr. Claire Sanders, offers a minor. The Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Program (CRES), directed by Dr. Max Krochmal, WGST Core Affiliate, offers a major, minor, and emphasis to undergraduate students and will develop co-curricular programming and communityengaged learning. Many WGST affiliates have been involved in developing the CRES Program, including Carrie Currier, Joe Darda, Emily Farris, Melita Garza, Theresa Gaul, Hanan Hammad, Jason Helms, Fran Huckaby, Gabe Huddleston, Jacque Lambiase, Celeste Menchacha, Joddy Murray, Mona Narain, Santiago Pinon, Sarah Robbins, Katheryn Sederberg, Ebony Rose, and others. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with these programs as we carry out our linked missions.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO 2017
 JEAN GILES-SIMS WISE WOMAN 
 AWARD WINNER

DR. RIMA ABUNASSER Dr. Abunasser is an Instructor in the English Department. She has taught WGST’s 20003 course Introduction to Women and Gender Studies, the 40003 Advanced Seminar, and regularly teaches English classes, such as Global Women’s Literature, that contribute to the WGST curriculum. Dr. Abunasser receiving the Wise Woman Award from Dr. Gaul at the WGST Garden Party

Comments from Dr. Abunasser’s Students: “Dr. Abunasser not only encourages her students to be aware of the issues outside of our western perspective. But she does this by teaching about equality and justice, making her students a little more ethical and decent everyday. Global women's lit should be a required TCU course if we want to create the leaders of tomorrow.” “Dr. Abunasser has such a great and inspiring spirit, she truly is a pleasant person who is very approachable and easy to talk to. Dr. Abunasser is also very intelligent and very helpful when help is needed. Words cannot explain how much I enjoyed her lectures.” “My professor is extremely knowledgable and passionate about her field of study. I have learned more about historic events and the role women have played in them over this past 3 months than in all my lifetime. Dr. Abunasser is someone I look up to as a woman, and is proof that we, women, are talented, capable, and as intellectually capable as men.”

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Faculty Research and Creativity Award: Dr. Francyne Huckaby
 by Dr. Jason Helms, Assistant Professor of English and WGST Associate Affiliate
 Dr. Francyne Huckaby, Associate Professor of Education and Director of TCU’s Center for Public Education is this year’s recipient of the Women and Gender Studies Faculty Research and Creativity Award. Dr. Huckaby’s work fits the award particularly well as she deftly integrates creative approaches into her scholarship. In partial fulfillment of the award, Dr. Huckaby gave a public lecture entitled “Becoming Cyborg: A Black Feminist, The Living Camera, Participatory Democracy & Their Weaving.” The presentation offered an overview of her current digitally born ethnographic film project, Public Education Project: Participatory Democracy in Times of Privatization. This project will be notable for its important arguments Dr. Theresa Gaul presenting Dr. Huckaby with her plaque for the WGST Faculty and innovative form. Huckaby’s film Research and Creativity Award consists of conversations with public education activists and the public, particularly marginalized and displaced communities reclaiming their rights to education. The film is currently in process and her audience was treated to snippets of it along with a detailed overview of Dr. Huckaby’s rationale and methodologies. If this sounds boring and academic, the presentation itself was anything but. Dr. Huckaby created a stunning presentation that included evocative images, videos, and text accompanied by her carefully honed delivery. The audience hung on every word, picture, and cinematic moment. Dr. Huckaby delivering her

The idea of becoming cyborg as a form of feminist scholarship can sound a bit heady. In Dr. Huckaby’s capable hands the dense theoretical background became practical and accessible to students and faculty alike. The audience’s questions afterwards showed their interest and involvement in the project. Dr. Huckaby became a cyborg eye for us and teaches us to see. We patiently await the film project that will result from her current research. public lecture

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Faculty Profile

2016-2017

College of Fine Arts Dean Anne Helmreich 
 by Dr. Meredith May, WGST Graduate Assistant
 Dr. Anne Helmreich joined the faculty at TCU as Dean of the College of Fine Arts in August 2015. Not a stranger to TCU, Dr. Helmreich taught Art and Art History from 1996 to 2003. In between her first time at TCU and her return as Dean, Dr. Helmreich worked as an associate professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve and from 2011 to 2015 as the senior program officer at the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles. An accomplished scholar, she has received grants from the Getty Research Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Clark Library, the Harry Ransom Center, the Huntington, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art. Dr. Helmreich is also one of WGST’s affiliate faculty. Her interest in research on women and gender studies stems from her dissertation, which she completed at Northwestern University under Hollis Clayson, a leading figure in art history and feminism. Her dissertation examined a constellation of six artists, including Helen Allingham. Dr. Helmreich studied how Allingham, a British watercolor artist in the Victorian era, cultivated a deliberate domestic image and turned it into a brand identity in a intentional career move. Dr. Helmreich believes that there’s always been strong ties between fine arts and women and gender studies. She has taught courses on feminism and art, examining both female artists and how male artists represent women’s bodies. Additionally, Dr. Helmreich is excited about the expansion of Women and Gender Studies at TCU. The recent collaboration with TCU’s Art Gallery and the expansion of the curriculum fits within WGST’s commitment to interdisciplinary work and the College of Fine Arts’ dedication to diversity. Ideally, WGST can continue to expand both curriculum and programming within Fine Arts. Specifically, Dr. Helmreich would be interested in seeing plays and music co-sponsored by WGST and an expansion of physical space for students to think about feminist issues through both traditional academic work and through art and movement. WGST appreciates the support of all our faculty and staff affiliates!

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Congratulations to our 
 WGST Faculty on their Promotions!

To Emeritus Status: ✦

Dr. Claudia Camp, Department of Religion

To Full Professor: ✦

Dr. Jo Ellen Campbell, Department of History

Dr. Melanie Harris, Department of Religion

Dr. Julie O’Neil, Department of Strategic Communication

Receiving Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor: ✦

Dr. Max Krochmal, Department of History

To Instructor II: ✦

Dr. Chantel Carlson, Department of English

Dr. A. Layne Craig, Department of English

Karla O’Donald, Department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Dr. Angela Thompson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

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Visit with Ambassador Mary Ann Peters
 by Rachel Johnston, WGST Student and Doctoral Candidate in English

Ambassador Mary Ann Peters speaks

When I met Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters on her visit to TCU this January as the 2017 Frost Lecturer, I had some idea about her impressive career as a foreign ambassador, her leadership advocating for women’s political involvement as a powerful engine for social change, and her current mission as CEO for the Carter Center in Atlanta, working “to fight disease, hunger, poverty, conflict, and oppression around the world.” But, I did not expect to discover a more personal connection to her current work.

with WGST members

In 1998, as a freshman at Berry College in Rome, GA, I took a class called The Great Neglected Diseases, taught by Dr. Bruce Conn. In this class we learned of the horrors of parasitic diseases, mostly eradicated in the U.S. but still ravaging South and Central America and Africa with blindness, comas, heart failure, and death. The most memorable of these for me was the Guinea Worm, marked by the extreme elephantitis it causes in the limbs of its victims. In the late 1980’s Guinea-Worm disease, or Dracunculiasis, afflicted around 3.5 million people annually in 21 countries across Africa and Asia. As a sheltered 18-year-old from West Texas, I was horrified by the painful images of elephantitis, in which men and women often had to use wheelbarrows to move their swollen limbs and genitals from place to place, with no hope for a cure. At the time, the only way to remove the 10-inch-long worms was by slowly pulling them through small holes in the victim’s flesh and winding them around small sticks—an excruciating process that could take several days, and could not reverse elephantitis. I couldn’t understand why “someone” wasn’t doing more to eradicate this terrible disease. But, what could I, a lowly freshman making a solid D in this biology class, actually do? Throughout her visit to TCU, Ambassador Peters spoke with several groups on many different issues, but all answering the question “What can I do?” She breakfasted with an interdisciplinary group of graduate students interested in international academic leadership, advising them to find an issue they

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are passionate about, but one that is neglected, and raise awareness, bring people together to talk about it, reach out to companies that can provide aid, and start a movement. In a class on Middle Eastern Politics, she explained how diplomacy requires truly listening to the needs and ideas of the communities and countries you are working with, letting go of your own agenda and cultural codes in order to offer aid that is actually beneficial. She also met with students and faculty in the WGST program, advocating for women to take on leadership roles and become involved in politics and social activism, because of the great skills women have to offer in diplomacy and understanding others, and the balance female representation gives to political realms. In each case, Ambassador Peters used the example of the Guinea Worm, and the ways the Carter Center has worked on eradicating this disease that has attacked millions of people. She explained that the Carter Center chooses to work on neglected, underfunded programs rather than big names like the Zika virus. She showed how by truly listening to the people afflicted with Guinea Worm, the Carter Center discovered that educating victims was the greatest need, and that once the victims saw where the worm comes from, they were able to work themselves toward fighting the disease. She explained the ways she and other women advocates like Rosalynn Carter were able to raise funds, simply by presenting their concerns in thoughtful and rhetorically savvy ways. Lastly, during her Frost Lecture, Ambassador Peters shared an update on the Carter Center’s work with Guinea Worm Disease, and Left to right: WGST Graduate Assistant Meredith May, Ambassador Mary Ann how all of this work has paid Peters, WGST Director Dr. Theresa Gaul, Study Abroad Associate Director Dr. Tracy off: in 2016, there were only Rundstrom Williams. 25 reported human cases in just 3 countries. Several of my students attended this lecture. Freshmen, like I was when I first learned of the Guinea Worm. Like me, they were shocked at the disease, but Ambassador Peters also gave them answers to their question: “What can I do?” They are currently wrapping up essays inspired by this message, taking on neglected global issues by truly listening to the communities affected, seeing the value of their voices in raising awareness and educating others on neglected issues, and practicing their pitches to raise funds and make lasting changes. Through their work, and Ambassador (ret.) Peters inspiring message, I also see a little bit more of the answer to “what can I do?”
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WGST Faculty Book Publications
 Jessica Fripp — Assistant Professor, Art History Jessica L. Fripp Amandine Gorse, Nathalie Manceau, and Nina Struckmeyer, eds., Artistes, savants et amateurs : art et sociabilité au XVIIIe siècle (1715-1815) (Paris: Éditions Mare et Martin, 2016).

Kylo-Patrick Hart — Professor and Department Chair, Film, Television, and Digital Media Kylo-Patrick Hart, ed. Queer TV in the 21st Century: Essays on Broadcasting from Taboo to Acceptance (McFarland and Co., 2016).

Hanan Hammad — Associate Professor, History Hanan Hammad, Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (University of Texas-Austin, 2016).

Anne Helmreich — Dean, College of Fine Arts Anne Helmreich, Nature’s Truth: Photography, Painting, and Science in Victorian Britain (Penn State University Press, 2016).

Max Krochmal — Associate Professor of History and Director of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Max Krochmal, Blue Texas: The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Jessica Zeller — Assistant Professor, Dance Jessica Zeller, Shapes of American Ballet: Teachers and Training before Balanchine (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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WGST Faculty and 
 Graduate Student Fellowships

Babette Bohn — Professor, Art History Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art for 2017-18.

Stacie McCormick — Assistant Professor, English Recipient of a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation

Heidi Hakimi-Hood — Doctoral Candidate, English Recipient of an American Association of University Women American Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-2018

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Women’s March in Austin
 by Mayra Guardiola: WGST Student and Master's Student in English The chorus sings, “My body, my choice,” “Her body, her choice.” It’s hot, it’s crowded, and it’s exhilarating. I’m marching with the TCU WGST crowd that bussed down for the Women’s March in Austin, a heterogeneous mix of faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates. The chorus also includes a slew of men, fathers, and significant others that are marching. As I hold up my sign which reads, “Shed walls, not build them” with a glittery uterus right in the middle, I look ahead to what seems like an endless sea of people along with an endless sea of protest signs that are witty, funny, and just down-right inspiring. It’s hard to describe my experience that day since I’ve never been to a protest of that size. Nor have I protested a cause I’m immensely invested in and passionate about. You can feel people’s anger, their frustration, and their need to be around like-minded people, even if it’s for a little while. My experience marching in Austin gave me goose bumps but more importantly it gave me hope. Hope that there are still people out there who are organizing, who are spreading the word, who are willing to do what it takes to demand for women’s rights, minority rights, LGBTQ+ rights. Most importantly, that we are here to stay and we are here to make the country we live in a place for everyone. As I, a proud Mexican American, marched on, I couldn’t help but think about how we were marching on land that was once Mexico’s, land that was taken from them. For me, the March went beyond women’s rights; I was marching for my people, a people who were either considered Mexican or American depending whether they happened to live on one side of the river, and consequently treated as second-class citizens. I was 15


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also marching with my people, not necessarily of Mexican origin, but anyone and everyone who felt like outcasts, those who didn’t fit into what “American” was. Standing side-by-side fellow angry feminists, I felt invigorated to march for a cause that I have long researched, discussed, and argued about in my personal and academic life. Now it’s being made public and there was greater feeling. I was one of 50,000 people who marched in Austin on January 20, 2017. The march was successful in that it was replicated across the nation and made us known. It showed that we as a people can organize, protest, come together for a cause, and let our demands be heard. What I hope will come out of the March is more interest in organizing future protests and reaching across color lines and to other communities who are invested in the same issues. A quote that aptly fits my hope for the future and has since been viral on Twitter states, “If your feminism isn’t intersectional, then who is it even for?” Looking back at my sign from the march, I now realize that it wasn’t as inclusive or intersectional as I thought it was. Not all women have uteruses, and as black feminists on Twitter have pointed out in regards to the pink “pussy” hats, not all pussies are pink. But these can be lessons learned moving forward.

It seemed to me, at least, the Women’s March used strategic essentialism as their vehicle for protest—to use Gayatri Spivak’s concept of bringing in different debates between minority groups and put aside differences in order to come together and form a simplified group identity in order to fight for equality, hence “Women’s March” though setting aside any differences within. I wonder how we might do better, be better in our coalition-building with other groups for future marches and protests. As I grapple with where to go and what to do moving forward, I can’t help but to go back to square one: organization. With effective organization, the power of the people and protest cannot be overstated, a theme that has pervaded throughout my Chicano/a Civil Rights class that I am taking now. I want to leave you all with this: while I was marching, I had never more proud to be a queer Chicana from Dallas with roots directly in Mexico, nor have I ever been more proud to be a Horned Frog, and march with my fellow frogs. ¡Si se puede!

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Rwandan Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana
 by Dr. Kurk Gayle, Director of the Intensive English Program and WGST Associate Affiliate The keynote address of the WGST Graduate Symposium on Women in Politics was given by the Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States, Her Excellency Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana. The evening before she gave her remarks she did something else at TCU. She stood in solidarity with four other women from her country. These four, who self-identify as survivors of rape and genocide, were on campus demonstrating—in person and as subjects of a screened documentary film—how their voices have been critical to making positive and profound breakthroughs in international law and social justice. The ambassador’s speech for the WGST Graduate Symposium on October 28 was not, she felt, unrelated to the testimonies of the others given on October 27. Mukantabana, also a tenured professor in the United States with graduate degrees in history and in social work, used the occasion of her WGST address to stress the connections. Her talk was entitled, “We Women in Politics: The Case of Rwanda and the Difference We Make.” In it, she linked the difference women make in politics with the work of women, whether “in politics” per se or not. For example, she quoted Hillary Clinton, but not as Senator Clinton or as Secretary of State or as the Democratic Party nominee about whom President Obama said “with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America”; Mukantabana shared Clinton’s words from when she was First Lady: “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” And Mukantabana’s WGST audience were reminded that these remarks were made at the United Nation’s World Conference only months after the United Nations and the United States had refused come to the aid of those being systematically murdered and Ambassador Mukantabana speaking at the WGST raped in Rwanda. “Women were targeted during the Graduate Symposium genocide,” the ambassador noted. 17


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Afterwards, she said, women were the ones who “picked up the pieces of a literally decimated society and began to rebuild.” In just two decades, the rebuilding has been remarkable. The ambassador pointed out how Rwanda has been listed as a top performer by the “World Bank Doing Business Report”—one of the ten most improved economies on the planet and the second easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa. After the genocide, women in Rwanda have gained the right to own land, have pushed for laws against gender-based violence, and have found their way into traditionally male-dominated fields such as peacekeeping, Symposium attendees enjoy lunch in aviation, and STEM jobs. Then conjunction with Ambassador there are women “in politics” in Mukantabana’s talk Rwanda. The nation is the first in the history of democracies to have women outnumber men (now at a 2 to 1 ratio) in the parliament. The Prime Minister is a woman, and a third of all ministers of government are women. Mukantabana concluded her observations by pointing to the need for ongoing work of women in Rwanda. The WGST Graduate Symposium continued with an interview of the Ambassador by TCU TCU Student Claudine Political Science Associate Mukanyamwasa, who shared with Professor Dr. Carrie Currier. Women and Gender Studies in Fall The focus was “We Women in 2015 her experiences as a Politics: Implications for the genocide survivor and the Global Community.” aftereffects of genocidal violence Questions and answers led the on women. audience to think about political barriers to progress for women in society and whether or not the context of Rwandan politics applies to the American and transnational contexts. TCU Women & Gender Studies was able to invite the Ambassador to engage the campus community in the important conversations because of generous funding by TCU Discovering Global Citizens. The WGST initiative with the Ambassador has helped TCU work in other areas with the woman-led nation of Rwanda.

Dr. Carrie Currier interviews Ambassador Mukantabana

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Recipient of Graduate Student Research Award 
 by Meta Henty, WGST Student and Doctoral Candidate in English
 This Spring, I attended the Southeastern Women’s Studies (SEWSA) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in order to present my research on young mothers and digital activism. The conference was not only informative and interesting, but it was genuinely fun and even inspiring to see so many like-minded individuals passionate about gender studies. I was only able to experience this because of the support I have received from the TCU WGST Program, including the 2016 Graduate Research Award. The paper I presented at the conference is part of my larger research and dissertation, a portion of which has also been accepted for a book chapter in an upcoming collection about motherhood in pop culture. While I am a doctoral candidate in English, my dissertation is interdisciplinary in nature—with women and gender studies at the center—which has made the WGST Program and my recent conference presentation at an interdisciplinary women’s studies conference all the more relevant. I am analyzing the rhetorical landscape of popular and political representations of teenage mothers—namely the way in which teen pregnancy campaigns employ shame and stigma in order to warn young girls. This rhetoric is incredibly gendered as young mothers, not fathers, receive the blame. However, in recent years, young mothers have begun to create online communities and claim agency by telling their own stories and reshaping public discourse. They are also performing activism by providing a community and resources for other young women and families. I myself was a teen mom, and I know firsthand how stigmatizing and isolating the experience can be, which is why I believe the work of these young women is so important. Over the last four years at TCU, I have been able to grow as a scholar, and WGST has been an important part of that—from the courses I have had the honor of taking and teaching to the amazing faculty and community who have mentored and supported me along my journey. During my time at here, I have been awarded the Graduate Teaching Award by the English department and served as the Graduate Student Senate Secretary, the English Department Graduate Student Representative, and an inaugural member of Triota Honor Society. I have learned so much from all of my experiences at TCU, and I am looking forward to applying that knowledge and experience in the next chapter of my academic life. I am currently working on my dissertation and book chapter, as well as becoming a more active member of my community. Inspired by my experience at the Women’s March in Austin in January, I have been working to engage my fellow East Texans in feminist community-building and activism. I am projected to graduate in the spring of 2018, and I hope to attain a faculty position teaching either English or Women and Gender Studies. My dream job would be an interdisciplinary Women and Gender Studies post in which I could teach popular culture, rhetoric, and literature. No matter my assignment, I know that gender studies and my experiences with the WGST department will be integral in my life moving forward—in my teaching, my research, and my personal life.

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Drag Out V-Week + Carry On Karaoke
 by Angela Moore, WGST Student, PhD Student in English, President of Triota, and Founder of QUOTA
 Believe it or not, TCU has a history of Drag Shows. In the past they have been put on by the undergraduate LGBTQIA+ group on campus—in previous years called the Gay Straight Alliance, now called Spectrum—and did not happen every year. This past February Triota (TCU’s Women and Gender Studies Honor Society) coordinated with Spectrum and QUOTA (TCU’s graduate LGBTQIA+ group), to bring the Drag Show back to TCU’s campus. To add to the fun and increase opportunities for audience participation, the groups decided to pair the Drag Show with an hour of Feminist Karaoke. We wanted to host an event which would allow us to not only bring attention to, but also celebrate Women and Gender Studies, as well as sexual and gender diversity on campus. The event was MC’d by local Drag Queen extraordinaire Kiana Lee, and featured five other performers consisting of drag kings, queens, and trans-performers. The event showcased performance numbers that ranged from moving and poignant, such as Macklemore’s “Same Love,” to high-energy and risqué such as Brittany Spear’s “Toxic.” The karaoke, likewise, ranged in stylistic choices, from Lady Gaga to Green Day to the Dixie Chicks, but was always on point. By the end of the night we had seen hours of musical entertainment, handed out a lot of condoms, and raised over $300 for Safe Haven Tarrant County. A big thank you to the performers who came out and shared with us—Kiana Lee, Sapphire Davenport, Chanel St. John, Andre Versace, Addison L. Foster, and Mulan Alexander—members of Triota, Spectrum, and QUOTA for coming together to host such an event, to SGA for funding the event, and, most importantly, to all who came to join in on the celebration. We hope to see you next year!

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PRISCILLA TATE AWARDS  Madison White Winner of the Priscilla Tate Scholarship My name is Madison White and I am a senior graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, minors in English and Business, and a Women and Gender Studies emphasis. I am also a member of the Honors College and completed the Colloquia curriculum. Basically, I just love to learn! I have enjoyed this degree plan because of its applicability to real-world scenarios; I have seen how the topics overlap and interact and how a comprehensive approach is important to solving complex issues. I firmly believe my Women and Gender Studies education has shaped my perspective to analyze issues from a holistic point of view and always incorporate cultural factors. While at TCU, I’ve enjoyed involvement and leadership roles in multiple organizations, including Sigma Kappa Sorority. I view my sorority experience as a direct complement to my Women and Gender Studies education. Sigma Kappa Sorority was founded by five women who were the very first women to attend college in the New England area. They founded the sorority as a way to support one another during a time when many believed women did not belong in college. Their bravery and persistence is something I have admired and is what compelled me to want to lead and work hard to encourage growth in our chapter. I served as the Executive Vice President for 2015 and President for 2016. Being involved in a sorority is one of my favorite collegiate experiences because I am constantly surrounded by women doing amazing things in the community and alumnae mentors to encourage me and help me grow. I am so excited that upon graduation I will be working as a Leadership Consultant for Sigma Kappa! I will get to continue serving an organization I love and empower Sigma Kappa collegiate women across the country. In the more distant future, I am considering graduate school. I am still not sure exactly what I’d like to do with my life, but I know it will continue to involve serving my community and helping others be their best selves. Whatever I decided upon, I credit my success to my experiences at TCU and my involvement in the Women and Gender Studies Program. My Women and Gender Studies classes taught me to value the experiences of the individual and place them in a larger context. Without these classes, I would lack fundamental knowledge in analyzing the social issues that I hope to help solve. I truly believe that everyone should be required to take at least one Women and Gender Studies class and that the knowledge from my Women and Gender Studies classes will continue to influence my life long after graduation. 21


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Amy Wheeler Winner of the 2017 Priscilla Tate Research Award Amy Wheeler is a junior from Saginaw, Texas. As she is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Women and Gender Studies, she often intersects both fields in her academic studies and papers. She serves as a victim advocate for the Women’s Center of Tarrant County, which inspired her passion for the issue of sexual assault. Her award-winning paper, "Gender-Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo," focuses on this issue abroad. She is currently writing a senior thesis on the effects of rape culture on the legal system within the United States. Amy plans to attend graduate school for a PhD in political science after TCU.

Jamitrice Keating-Lynton Honorable Mention Priscilla Tate Research Award

Jamitrice Keating-Lynton graduated in May with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Modern Dance and a WGST emphasis. Jamitrice received Honorable Mention for the Priscilla Tate Research Award for her paper “Dance as a Mirror of Cultural Change Post World War I.” She was an officer in Chi Tau Epsilon, the Dance Honor Society, as well as in Triota, the Women and Gender Studies Honor Society. She has choreographed three works for performance while at TCU and has performed in DanceTCU seven times. She worked as a Resident Assistant in Clark Hall her junior year and Assistant Hall Director of GrandMarc senior year. The Women and Gender Studies program has been a source of deep reflection that constantly challenged and encouraged her to think critically about the issues happening around her. In 2015, she had the incredible opportunity to attend the National Women’s Studies Association conference in Milwaukee. Jamitrice hopes to become a dance therapist focusing on rehabilitation for survivors of human trafficking and sexual assault.

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Congratulations to Our Graduates!

December 2016 Graduates GRADUATE STUDENTS ✦

Dr. Molly Leverenz, English ✦

Dissertation: “Beauty and Romance in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction”

Advisor: Dr. Sarah Robbins

Dr. Ron Serino, Biblical Interpretation ✦

Dissertation: “King Solomon’s Whiteness: King James and the Scripturalization of Whiteness in Early Modern Britain”

Advisor: Dr. Timothy Sandoval

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ✦

Carson Rahrig, Communication Studies

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May 2017 Graduates GRADUATE STUDENTS ✦

April Daugherty, Master of Social Work

✦ ✦

Dr. Jamalin R. Harp, History Dissertation: The Capital’s Children: The Washington City Orphan Asylum, 1815-1890 Advisor: Dr. Kenneth R. Stevens

Jamalin R. Harp is a scholar of Early American history, her dissertation telling the story of the Washington City Orphan Asylum in the nineteenth century. Her work incorporates social history, women’s history, the history of reform, and the history of childhood. Harp completed her certificate in Women and Gender Studies in 2014 and served on the Women and Gender Studies Graduate Symposium Committee in 2016. One of her favorite parts of participating in the program was the interdisciplinary relationships it helped to foster. Harp will join the faculty of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as a lecturer in the 2017-2018 academic year.

✦ Simeiqi

He, Master in Theology and Ministry

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Dr. Meredith Lee May, History

Dissertation: Building a Business in the Bayou City: Houston and Women’s Entrepreneurship, 1945-1977

Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Sharpless

Meredith Lee May studied post-1945 US History. Her dissertation analyzed women's entrepreneurship in Houston, exploring how gender, race, and class impacted women's opportunities in the post-World War II era. In addition to holding graduate assistantships in the history department, she worked as the graduate assistant to Graduate Studies in 2015-2016 and as the Women and Gender Studies graduate assistant this year. In summer 2016, she worked as a research assistant for the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project. One of her favorite parts of participating in the WGST program was bringing together multiple parts of the campus for events and programming. Meredith will be joining the faculty at Kilgore College in the fall as an instructor in the history department.

✦ Dustin ✦

Naegle, Masters of Theology

Thesis: “Go Up (Again) to Jerusalem in Judah”: The Settler-Colonial Mythology of “Return” and “Restoration” in Ezra 1-6

Dr. Adam Nemmers, English ✦

Dissertation: Refounding America: Nation, Ideology, and the Modern(ist) Epic Novel

Advisor: Dr. David Colon

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UNDERGRADUATES (For graduating students who enrolled in the WGST Advanced Seminar, the title of their Community Action Project is given)

Alexandria Burden, History ✦

Myranda Fernandez, Communication Studies ✦

CAP: “Effortless Perfection: Stress Among Women at TCU”

Alexandra Morgan Harvey, Writing ✦

CAP: “Disrupting the Dress Code”

“The Dark Side of Equality: Addressing the Connection Between Female Alcoholism and Higher Education at TCU”

Jamitrice Keating-Lynton, Modern Dance ✦

CAP: “Beauty, Shades, and Shapes: Body Positive Yoga”

Katherine Louise Matthews, Journalism

Myrah Malik Osmani, News and Media Studies ✦

CAP: “Closing the Tab: Using the Messenger Shot to Address Sexual Assault in Bars”

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✦ Melinda

Carol Sherrard, Sociology

✦ Emma

Jean Sol, Sports Broadcasting

Emma Sol, graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Broadcasting, a minor in English, and an emphasis in Women and Gender Studies. Emma plans on spending the next year studying and applying for law school. Her goal is to practice sports law with a focus on women athletes. Emma believes the Women and Gender Studies program was key in helping her develop a passion for advocacy and equality, especially in the world of sports, and credits the program and its amazing affiliate professors for helping her determine her career path.

✦ Ashley

Nicole Tilley, Social Work

✦ Madison

White, Political Science

WGST minor and emphasis students from the Spring 2017 Advanced Seminar, taught by this year's Jean Giles-Sims Wise Woman Award winner Dr. Rima Abunasser (English). These students presented their Community Action Projects (CAP) at the Undergraduate Symposium in April.

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Student Spotlight: Tamera Hyatte
 by Dr. Meredith May, WGST Graduate Assistant
 Tamera Hyatte began pursuing journalism in order to “give voice to others.” As the Social Justice reporter for TCU 360, Tamera has reported on multiple issues concerning TCU students, including religion, sexual orientation, gender, and race. Her passion for journalism stemmed from her high school experience as a writer and managing editor for her school’s paper. In particular, she loves that journalists have the ability to “make a change” and influence society. Tamera declared her WGST minor prior to beginning TCU. She took her first WGST course, Introduction to Women and Gender Studies, with Dr. Kassia Waggoner and Dr. Margaret Lowry. In the course, she felt challenged beyond traditional thinking and appreciated how her classmates formed a strong bond. The course “changed my perspective on a lot of things and made me fall more in love with the program.” She has also taken Introduction to Women’s Writing and Gender and Society. All of her WGST courses have “opened my eyes to how patriarchy plays into society and how gender is formed.” For Tamera, WGST has impacted how she approaches other courses and her reporting. When she tackles a project or an article, she sees things from an intersectional approach and examines how multiple issues impact the people she is reporting on or studying. As a representative on SGA, Tamera worked to have open conversations about gender, race, sexual identity, and religion. As a campus leader herself, she would like to see more undergraduate women take on leadership roles on campus. Tamera did research on the issue and found that on college campuses, like TCU, where there are more women and fewer men, more men tend to take on a patriarchal role. She would like to see TCU push more initiatives to empower women on campus. She would also like to see more men get involved in WGST, because she has seen how the curriculum has impacted the male students in her courses. Moreover, WGST has inspired Tamera to go into politics. In her Intro to WGST course, she wrote a paper on the lack of representation of women in U.S. politics, and she is now planning to go to graduate school for either journalism or public policy. She is leaning toward public policy. “I think women have so much power…I think, politically, if we were to have more of an equal gender ratio in the House and Senate, that could benefit our country.” She has even considered running for Congress one day, noting that she is just a few years short of the minimum age requirement to run for the House. WGST would be delighted to see “Vote for Hyatte” signs someday soon.

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“It Was Good”: One Student's Service Learning Experience in Intro to WGST
 by Sunni Gatewood, WGST Minor The following is the reflection paper WGST minor Sunni Gatewood wrote as part of her service learning portfolio in Intro to WGST, taught in fall 2016 by Dr. Hanan Hammad and Dr. Sohyun Lee. All Intro to WGST sections include service learning in order to put what the students are learning into practice in the community. Going forward, Intro to WGST will fulfill the Citizenship and Social Values (CSV) requirement in the TCU Core Curriculum in relation to service learning.

When I discovered that I would be working with Refugee Services of Texas for the service learning project in my Intro to WGST course in fall 2016, I was apprehensive, to say the least. I was no stranger to volunteer work, but working with refugees was brand new to me. My biggest pitfall was being afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and not considering the knowledge I would obtain through service learning. I did not realize it at the time, but this experience would teach me more than I would learn in any book. By the end of this project, I would be able to empathize with people who have a struggle entirely separate from my own. I would be able to attach an intersectional lens to my perception of these people. I would be able to fully appreciate and articulate the knowledge and experience I obtained from service learning. My assigned family was the Shako family. They were forced to come to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which is experiencing a little-publicized refugee crisis. The Congolese refugee crisis is the result of armed conflict and unrest dating back to 1996, when Rwanda invaded the DRC in search of perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Although a peace accord was officially signed in 2003, there is still rampant violence and unrest within the DRC; for this reason, there are still many refugees being sent to the U.S. and other countries, including the Shakos. Their family consists of eight members: a mother, father, and six children, who range from three-years-old up to sixteen-years-old. The Shako family lives in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in a complex called Ladera Palms. My first visit to this apartment was a brief, somewhat frenzied introduction to the family, and we were accompanied by a translator and the RST Volunteer Coordinator. The purpose of this visit was simply to get to know the Shako family and to establish some goals for our mentoring. We decided the most important goal was to help teach the family English. Mr. Shako knew English well, but the rest of the family could only speak Swahili. So, during the next visit, we focused on English. Mr. Shako was not home, so we worked with Mrs. Shako. She was shy at first, but opened up very quickly when we started teaching her words in English. By the end of the session, we had traveled around the entire apartment; Mrs. Shako pointing at objects and us supplying her with the English word for them. The remainder of the sessions went much like the first one, except I focused on working with the kids. The older kids were generally busy, so I became very close with the younger kids. They each needed help 29


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with homework and learning how to speak English. One thing stuck out about these kids: they were genuinely passionate about learning. When I helped them with homework, they would watch attentively and try to ask questions. I bought them whiteboards and markers, and they loved spelling out numbers and asking me how to spell the names of different objects around the room. When I brought “word search” games, Nyota, the third youngest, was determined to work on them until she found every single word—and she did. I would show them pictures of different animals or objects and ask for the English equivalent, and they quickly picked up on it. Their desire to learn was unlike anything I have seen. I was continually impressed by the drive of these kids, and I have no doubt that they will one day be successful. At the end of most of these sessions, Mrs. Shako shared with us a traditional Congolese meal. This consisted of Ugali, which is a ball-shaped substance made of maize flour, Ndakala, which are small dried fish, and Kabichi, which is cabbage with a garlic and tomato sauce. Congolese people are known for being hospitable, and the Shako family was no exception. Any time we ate a meal together, they offered us food until we simply could not eat any more. I enjoyed sitting around the table with the family, because this was when Mr. Shako would tell us about life in the DRC. He discussed their home, their hobbies, and their jobs, and after every description of life in the DRC, he would finish the story with the phrase, “It was good.” This short, simple phrase always left me with a bittersweet feeling. While it is a seemingly small and insignificant addition, I feel that by tacking it onto the end of each of his stories, he is expressing his love and appreciation for life in the Congo. While this diaspora is something that many of us cannot even imagine, this family is optimistic and determined to succeed. I fully believe that with a little help, they will be able to thrive in this new country. As I spent time with the Shako family, I began to consider the ways in which different issues will affect them during their transition into the U.S. During class, we discussed intersectionality frequently. Intersectionality is defined by our course textbook Threshold Concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies: Ways of Seeing, Thinking, and Knowing as, “A theoretical framework that posits that multiple social categories intersect at the micro level of individual experience to reflect multiple interlocking systems of privilege and oppression at the macro, social-structural level” (114). When thinking about the interconnectedness of social categorizations, it is easy to see why the Shako family can be looked at through an intersectional perspective. Members of the Shako family are marginalized in several different ways, including race, nationality, social status, and language. Each of these factors increases the family’s struggle to assimilate to the U.S. lifestyle. When it comes to race and nationality, the Shako family will be at a clear disadvantage. Being African-American in the U.S. is already a struggle due to the bigotry of many Americans who forget that the historically “lesser” status of African-American people did not simply disappear when slavery was abolished. In addition to this, the Shako family will encounter fear and judgment due to their national origin, caused by widespread xenophobia and mistrust of refugees. In addition to making them subject to prejudice, the Shako family’s status as a refugee family affects their social status. The family currently lives in an apartment with two bedrooms, and they do not own a car. The family does not have a clear opportunity to advance their social status, because Mr. Shako cannot easily attain the job that he had in the DRC. On our second meeting, Mr. Shako told me that he was a doctor in the DRC, and expressed that he would like to pursue the same job in the U.S. After that meeting, I researched the process of becoming licensed to be a doctor for a refugee in a new country. I 30


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found that regaining status as a doctor is one of the most complex areas of immigration law; in fact, there is an entire book written about the intricacies of this process. Essentially, Mr. Shako’s status as a refugee will impede his ability to be successful and do what he loves in this country. Tacked on to this is the issue of language. While Mr. Shako can speak relatively clear English, his thick accent and difficulty understanding various English idioms and phrases will prove to be an issue for him as he attempts to find his place in society. He will be subjected to stereotyping and profiling based on his accent and difficulties with the English language. However, it is Mr. Shako’s family that will have to jump the biggest hurdle. When the children asked me to help them with their homework, all of it was in English, which leads me to believe that all of their lessons are in English. I cannot comprehend how these kids are expected to learn a subject such as math when they cannot even understand the language in which it is being taught. This will prove to be one of the most difficult struggles for this family, as it impedes their ability to learn; however, all of the aforementioned factors will have a profound impact on the Shako family’s ability to assimilate into America. Although they will have to live with each of these struggles, I have no doubt that this family will be successful. They will fight to overcome the odds that are stacked against them, because they are smart, optimistic, and most importantly, they are determined to thrive in America. Though I originally approached service learning with apprehension, I have never been happier about undertaking a project. When this project began, I was scared of helping people with whom I had nothing in common except for my humanity. I was afraid to step out of the private school bubble, which is all I have ever known. I was afraid of how this family would react to my attempts at helping them. I was afraid of embodying a white savior complex. My actual experience was nothing like my fears. I was able to interact with people I never would have met with otherwise. They allowed me into their home and taught me about their culture in exchange for knowledge about my culture. While my mission was partially to help them assimilate into American culture, I feel as if it was less of an assimilation and more of a celebration of both of our cultures. Additionally, this project opened my eyes to world issues. The Congolese refugee crisis is an issue that I had never heard about, and when I asked my friends if they had heard of it, none of them had. This suggests that there are many world issues that go relatively unreported in mainstream media. This experience made me passionate and invested in an issue that I would have been entirely ignorant about otherwise. While I cannot have a wealth of knowledge on each and every issue, service learning helped me to understand this particular issue in a new way. This leads me to my last point: experience is the best way to learn. Working with this family gave me insight into the refugee struggle that reading a book or article never could have. While a book can provide me with important facts, information, and statistics about refugees, nothing can compare to physically being in the presence of these people. Stepping into that apartment and being greeted by six sweet kids, delighted to see me and eager to learn; walking into the kitchen and seeing Mrs. Shako’s sewing supplies strewn about the table; smelling Ugali and Kabichi cooking on the stove; sitting at the dinner table and being practically forced to eat more because Congolese people are so hospitable; learning about life in the DRC and the various aspects of Congolese culture from people who have lived there; 31


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these are smells, visuals, tastes, and conversations that helped me understand these people in a way that a book could not. I am by no means claiming to understand the refugee struggle, but getting to know and love these people helped me to gain an empathy that I did not fully possess before this project. I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to meet this sweet family, and I hope that they will be lifelong friends so that I can watch them grow and thrive in their new home. My hope is that, one day, Mr. Shako and his family will be able to tell stories about their time here in America, and that they will end these stories with, “It was good.”

LOOKING FORWARD

CECIL AND IDA GREEN HONORS CHAIR
 KATHERINE SPILLAR We are thrilled to announce that Katherine Spillar, Founder and Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine, will be on campus Sept. 19-20 as the WGST Cecil and Ida Green Honors Chair. Spillar’s public lecture will be held on Wednesday, September 20 at 7 pm and is entitled “Rise Up! Feminist Activism and Civic Engagement in this Political Moment.” In addition to attending WGST classes, she will also conduct sessions on the 45th anniversary of Ms. Magazine and feminist coalition.

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@TCUWGST

STAY Women and Gender Studies Program at TCU

CONNECTED

Rees-Jones Hall 217

WITH

817-257-8484

http://wgst.tcu.edu/

WGST

wgst@tcu.edu

If you would like to donate to the WGST Program, use this link, select "Other" for your gift designation, and write in the program name. https://epay.tcu.edu/make_a_gift/

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