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Authors Meet Critics

Authors Meet Critics sessions are designed to bring authors of recent, cutting-edge books, deemed to be important contributions to the field of women’s studies, together in robust conversation with discussants that both celebrate and critically engage the publication.

Narrating Love and Violence: Women Contesting Caste, Tribe, and State in Lahaul, India
Author: Himika Bhattacharya, Syracuse University
Thu Nov 8 2018, 2:30 to 3:45pm
Room 209-211

Narrating Love and Violence: Women Contesting Caste, Tribe, and State in Lahaul, India is the first ethnographic exploration of women’s stories from the Himalayan valley of Lahaul, in the region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The book focuses on how both love and violence emerge and function at the intersection of gender, tribe, caste, and the state in India. Bhattacharya privileges the everyday lives of women marginalized by caste and tribe to show how state and community discourses about gendered violence serve as proxy for caste in India, thus not only upholding these social hierarchies, but also enabling violence. Bhattacharya centers Lahauli women’s narratives as a site of knowledge demonstrating how women on the margins of tribe and caste know both, love and violence, as agents wishing to re-shape discourses of caste, tribe and community.

Elora Halim Chowdhury, UMass Boston
Srirupa Prasad, University of Missouri-Columbia
Chinnaiah Jangam, Carleton University
Pedro Di Pietro, Syracuse University
Azza Basarudin, UCLA

Embodied Reckonings: "Comfort Women," Performance, and Transpacific Redress
Author: Elizabeth W. Son, Northwestern University
Thu Nov 8 2018, 4:00 to 5:15pm
Room 209-211

Embodied Reckonings examines the political and cultural aspects of contemporary performances that have grappled with the history of the “comfort women,” the Japanese military’s euphemism for the sexual enslavement of girls and young women—mostly Korean—in the years before and during World War II. Long silent, in the early 1990s these women and their supporters initiated varied performance practices—protests, tribunals, theater, and memorial-building projects—to demand justice for those affected by state-sponsored acts of violence.
Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, the study argues for the central role of performance in how Korean survivors, activists, and artists have redressed the histories—and erasures—of this sexual violence. Merging cultural studies and performance theory with a transnational, feminist analysis, the book illuminates the actions of ordinary people, thus offering ways of reconceptualizing legal and political understandings of redress that tend to concentrate on institutionalized forms of state-based remediation.

Patrick Anderson, University of California, San Diego
Cathy Schlund-Vials, University of Connecticut
Laura Kang, University of California, Irvine
Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction
Author: Sami Schalk, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Fri Nov 9 2018, 9:30 to 10:45am
204-205 (LCD)

Sami Schalk’s Bodyminds Reimagined generates a rich and necessary conversation between black feminist thought and disability studies, bringing these two seemingly disparate fields together at the site of black women’s contemporary speculative fiction. Looking to Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, N.K. Jemisin, Phyllis Alesia Perry, and Shawntelle Madison, Schalk amplifies the power, potential, and pleasures of literary worlds in which given hierarchies of race, gender, and ability no longer hold traction. Using non-realist devices such as time-travel, shape-shifting, and non-human characters, these black women writers re-imagine the possibilities and meanings attached to bodyminds—what Schalk defines as the mutual imbrication of the mental and physical—and in so doing, provoke us to question governing assumptions around (dis)ability, race, gender, and sexuality. Bodyminds Reimagined thus foregrounds the disruptive capacity of black women’s speculative fiction to challenge the rules of reality, bringing us into contact with worlds that productively defamiliarize our own.

Moya Bailey, Northeastern University
Alison Kafer, Southwestern University
Jina B. Kim, Smith College
Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington, D.C.
Author: Treva Lindsey,  The Ohio State University
Fri Nov 9 2018, 4:15 to 5:30pm
204-205 (LCD)

Home to established African American institutions and communities, Washington, D.C., offered women in the New Negro movement a unique setting for the fight against racial and gender oppression. Colored No More traces how African American women of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century made significant strides toward making the nation's capital a more equal and dynamic urban center. Drawing from these differing but interconnected African American women's spaces, this book excavates a multifaceted feminist, cultural history of struggle toward a vision of equality that could emerge and sustain itself. Upward mobility to equal citizenship for African American women encompassed challenging racial, gender, class, and sexuality status quos. Colored No More maps the intersection of these challenges and their place at the core of New Negro womanhood.

Nadia Brown, Purdue University
Brittney Cooper, Rutgers University
Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland 
Author: Robyn Spencer, Lehman College
Sat Nov 10 2018, 8:00 to 9:15am
204-205 (LCD)

This book examines the impact of women’s experiences, internal politics and political repression on the evolution and dissolution of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. Spencer shows how members interpreted, implemented, and influenced party ideology and programs, how they dialogued about gender politics, and organizational priorities. Challenging the belief that the Panthers were a projection of the leadership, Spencer draws on interviews with rank-and-file members, FBI files, and archival materials to examine the impact the organization's internal politics and COINTELPRO's political repression had on its evolution and dissolution. Spencer also centers gender politics and the experiences of women and their contributions to the Panthers and the Black Power movement as a whole, providing a panoramic view of the party's organization over its sixteen-year history.

Tiyi M. Morris, Ohio State University
Mary Phillips, Lehman College, CUNY
Akinyele K. Umoja, Georgia State University

Sarah Soanirina Ohmer, CUNY Lehman College

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
Author: C. Riley Snorton, University of Chicago
Sat Nov 10 2018, 9:30 to 10:45am
204-205 (LCD)

Black on Both Sides identifies multiple intersections between blackness and transness from the mid-nineteenth century to present-day anti-black and anti-trans legislation and violence. The book takes as its archive an eclectic collection of materials, including late 19th century sexological texts, plantation medical records, fugitive slave narratives, Afro-modernist literary productions, documentary films, and mid-twentieth century journalistic accounts of black trans people and critically engaging black queer studies, black feminist theory, disability theory, and transgender studies, the book demonstrates how race figures prominently in the development of the category of transgender. And how blackness finds articulation in and through transness. Reconstructing these theoretical and historical trajectories furthers our imaginative capacities to conceive more livable black and trans worlds.

LaMonda Horton-Stallings, Georgetown University
SA Smythe, University of California, Irvine
Tiffany Lethabo King, Georgia State University
The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in a Digital Age
Author: Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, San Francisco State University
Sat Nov 10 2018, 5:00 to 6:15pm
204-205 (LCD)

Anchored in the lives of Filipina migrants and their families in the Philippines, this book makes visible the various forms of care work required in the maintenance of the transnational family; demonstrating just how many people are uniquely affected by migration and separation. In accordance with subtheme two, the book critically rethinks how members of transnational families are actively crafting radical family forms under the current neoliberal moment that force their separation. It pays attention to how technology render Filipina migrants as Skype mothers while they forge solidarity among each other through their structural positions as precarious workers, undocumented people and transnational mothers. The book’s feminist and participatory qualitative research with Filipino migrant organizations offers new avenues of collaboration towards movement-building of Filipino domestic workers in NYC and transnational connections to liberation movements in the Philippines. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of today's transnational and transnational activists: migrant women.

Ethel Tungohan, York University
Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara
Conely de Leon,  York University
The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives
Author: Macarena Gómez-Barris, Pratt Institute
Sun Nov 11 2018, 9:30 to 10:45am
204-205 (LCD)

In The Extractive Zone Macarena Gómez-Barris traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital. The work of Indigenous activists, intellectuals, and artists in spaces Gómez-Barris labels extractive zones—majority indigenous regions noted for their biodiversity and long history of exploitative natural resource extraction—resist and refuse the terms of racial capital and the continued legacies of colonialism. Extending decolonial theory with race, sexuality, Chicanx feminisms, and critical Indigenous studies, Gómez-Barris develops new vocabularies for alternative forms of social and political life. The work builds upon feminist and queer of color scholarship towards a methodology that fully engages visual arts and social movements of political futures. Gómez-Barris excavates the genealogies of Indigenous Feminist Anarcho-critique as the center of decolonizing politics mediated by the art praxis of Mujeres Creando. The author reveals emergent modes of hemispheric living that unmoor occupation and resource dispossession.

Adela C. Licona, University of Arizona
Julietta Singh, University of Richmond
Emma Perez, University of Arizona, Tucson