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NWSA, A History 2001 – 22nd National Conference

Monday, May 18, 2020  
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Cover of the 2001 conference program book

22nd National Conference | "2001.Women’" | June 13-17 | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN

Program Highlights

The 22nd NWSA National Conference in 2001 was all about questioning the future of feminism and women's studies, and there were several ways that the conference organizers and attendees made space for these questions. The first was through the constituency groups. While there were no new caucuses, there were more new task forces and interest groups than any other year, and those member initiatives are a significant indicator for the dominant interests and contentions within the field and movement. The bylaws define Task Forces as focusing on an issue relevant to NWSA that can be addressed through action, while Interest Groups focus on areas of scholarly inquiry. For example, the Anti-White Supremacy Task Force formed in 2011 to respond to white-centric feminisms that dismiss the lives, experiences, and theories of women and people of color within NWSA and the field. The Task Forces and Interest Groups that met at the 2001 conference were:

    Task Forces
    Academic Discrimination
    Anti-White Supremacy
    Feminist Mothers and Their Allies
    Feminist Scholarship
    Independent Scholars
    Law and Public Policy
    Medieval and Early Modern Women
    Women and Crime
    Science & Technology

    Interest Groups
    Bisexual and Transgender Interest Group
    Feminism & Activism
    Law and Public Policy
    Medieval and Early Modern Women
    Women and Crime

Another new way the conference held space for these questions was through "Research Cafés" and poster sessions, the latter of which continues today. The 2001 poster sessions included presentations of research on "Women and Tragedy on the Farm: Responsibility, Risk, Retelling and Recovery," "Grassroots Goes to the Polls: How Citizen ~ Initiatives Shape the Gay/Lesbian Movement," and "The Urban Influence on Women's Employment in 19th Century West Virginia." The Research Cafés, which were open, informal meetings to discuss ideas, common interests, works-in-progress, or a question of inquiry. The 2001 Café topics included "Third Wave Perspectives all Eating Disorders: How Do We Empower Ourselves?," "Women as Catalysts of Social Change: A Study of Women-Led Community Development Organizations," and "International House of Pedagogy: A Research Cafe Serving Feminist Teaching Practices."

The 2001 conference also housed NWSA's third embedded conference, "Programs on the Future of the Field." The embedded conference was "a series of Workshops and Discipline Review Panels considering the future of the field" and included review panels on History, Geography, Economics, and Sociology, as well as workshops like "Gender Studies/Women's Studies: Is Gender Studies the Future of Women's Studies?," "Public Intellectuals and Expert Discourses: How Can Women's Studies Better Inform the Public Sphere?," and "Transforming the Field in Transnational Contexts: What are the Questions? What are the Theories?"

Other strong indicators of what questions the conference organizers and participants were asking of feminism's future were the conference's plenaries. Whereas some years gave little information about the plenaries in the program, the plenaries of the 2001 conference were strongly emphasized and described in the program, with the titles even being included in the graphic on the cover. Below are the plenaries' abstracts, speakers, and individual topics.

    Life Itself
    Abstract: In seeking paths to heal broken spirits, toxic environments, and conflicts that lead to war, feminists are developing transformative spiritualities and exploring new strategies to bring about peace, sustainable environments, and social justice. This plenary will include visionary scholars/researchers/activists whose work provides clear mandates and analysis necessary for creating cultural transformation."
    Amy Lee – "Life Itself - In a Nutshell"
    Charlene Spretnak – "Re-Searching the Female"
    Starhawk – "Weaving Another World: Women and Global Justice"
    Abstract: How do infotechnology, biotechnology and virtual reality affect our ideas about the body, self, identity, sexuality, gender, race, class, disability, and politics? Many contend that we are entering a new world order based on the information age, the genetic revolution, and the digitalization of the human subject. This plenary will examine the intersections of feminist theory and practice with these new technologies.
    N. Katherine Hayles – "Disturbing Metaphoric Networks: The Body ill Cyberspace"
    Susan Hawthorne – "Technoglobal Appropriation: Feminist Engagements"
    Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa – "Using a Wheelchair: Eruptions, Disruptions, and Contradictions Within Feminist Spaces"
    The Future of Women's Studies: Is It Feminist? [Embedded conference plenary]
    Abstract: This plenary opens the NWSA 2001 Embedded Conference on the future of Women's Studies. Plenary participants will explore various issues that currently inform the debates on the future of Women 's Studies. How will Women's Studies change with new generations of scholars influenced by their own life histories, new theoretical interests, complicating identity issues, third-wave politics, and emerging Women's Studies Ph.D. programs?
    Robyn Wiegman – "Academic Feminism Against Itself"
    Johnnella Butler – "Difficult Dialogues and the Postmodern Dilemma; OR, Why We Ask Ourselves If the Future of Women's Studies is Feminist?"
    Sally Kitch – "Constructing the Future of Women's Studies: Little Red Riding Hood Sees the Forest Through the Trees"
    Transnational Feminisms and Global Technologies
    Abstract: This plenary will explore how feminists address the cultural and material politics of global survival and struggle. What is the current dialogue emerging between feminists in different countries regarding transnational interactions, world trade, global technologies, and political alliances? How does feminist theory in global studies, anthropology, and geography, and their relation to indigenous theories and practices, advance worldwide liberation movements?
    Kamala Kempadoo – "Recuperations and Revisionings: Transnational Feminism in Action"
    Cindl Katz – "Topographies, Counter Topographies, and the Development of Internationalist Feminisms"
    Riffat Hassan – "Muslim Women's Empowerment: Social Transformation through Education"

List of 2001 program committee members

See the full program here

From the NWSA President

Dear Conference Participants,

Greetings as we embark upon the 22nd annual NWSA Conference. The theme, 2001.WOMEN'S STUDIES.COM?, addresses the effects, challenges, and benefits of technology. In addition we will explore the future of women's studies, Jacquelyn Zita and her hardworking regional committee have prepared many new venues such as poster sessions and research cafes to add to our regular conference features.

We owe bur gratitude to Jacquelyn Zita, Chair of Women's Studies at the University of Minnesota, and her office staff, Jodi Horne, Kati Medvedev, and Kim Surkan, for their tireless efforts in putting together this conference at the site. Special thanks go to organizers of conference events: Dawn Rae Davis for the Writer's Series, Marwa Hassoun for the CD-ROM project, Sidney Matrix for the Professional Development Center, Kati Medevdev for the film series, Kathryn Lanier for the book exhibit, Patty Finstad for childcare, Terri Hawthorne for the Smartmart, Pal Darling for local outreach and publicity, Judith Roy for fundraising and the undergraduate student lunch, and Kathleen Laughlin, Peg O'Connor and Jacquelyn Zita for the embedded conference.

Sincere appreciation goes to Bea Thompson, NWSA Conference Coordinator, for the conference website and for putting together the program book. Thanks to Ellen Cronan Rose, NWSA Conference Chair, and her committee for conference scheduling. Thank you to Diana Scully, NWSA Treasurer, for her many hours overseeing financial negotiations and serving as institutional memory. We are eternally grateful to Loretta Younger, NWSA Executive Administrator, and the staff in the national office for all their hard work in support of the conference. Thank you to my plenary committee for their assistance in selecting speakers.

We are deeply appreciative of the financial support for the conference given by the University of Minnesota. Thank you to President Mark G. Yudof, the College of Liberal Arts, the Office for University Women, the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies, and the Department of Women"s Studies for their generous support.

These are a few of the people and groups who have contributed to making this conference what we hope will be an invigorating and intellectually challenging experience. Enjoy!

Annette Van Dyke, 2000-01 President

NWSA Governance

Below are the 2001 NWSA governance members, as well as the NWSA staff team. You can see the current Governing Council members, conference co-chairs, and staff members here.

2001 Governance Members

See the rest of the history project here

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NWSA Program Archives

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About the Writer

Victoria Agunod is the office assistant at the National Women's Studies Association, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul University. Victoria received their BA and MA in Women's and Gender Studies at DePaul. They first attended NWSA in 2018 and presented their research on university students organizing for racial justice against the new alt-right galvanized by the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They joined the NWSA team the following year. Their teaching emphases are on women of color feminisms, racial justice movements and organizing, and neoliberal rhetorical and cultural influences.

Please note: The information compiled in this project comes from the archived conference programs at the University of Maryland, College Park.