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NWSA, A History 2012 – 33rd National Conference

Thursday, June 4, 2020  
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Cover of the 2012 conference program book

33rd National Conference | "Feminism Unbound: Imagining A Feminist Future" | November 8-11 | Oakland, California

Program Highlights

The 33rd NWSA National Conference in 2012 was themed as, "Feminism Unbound: Imagining A Feminist Future.” The intention, as then-NWSA President Bonnie Thornton Dill said, was to "[build] on our conversations about Feminist Transformations in 2011 by examining the ways feminist scholarship is transgressing such boundaries as public/private; gender conformity and sexuality; nationalism; disability, race, ethnicity, class and culture."

In that vein, Patricia Hill Collins, social theorist and writer of the groundbreaking books Black Feminist Thought and Black Sexual Politics, returned for her second Keynote Address at NWSA (the first having been in 2008). The program noted her relevant research interests as "(1) investigating the actual and/or potential interconnections between critical race theory and American pragmatism; (2) theorizing intersectionality, namely, analyzing how race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nation mutually construct one another as concepts and as social phenomena; (3) exploring epistemologies of emancipatory knowledges, for example, ideologies of nationalism and feminism as well as influential knowledges of popular culture and everyday life; and (4) examining how the status of Black male and female youth sheds light on broader social processes such as globalization, transnationalism, class inequalities, racism and gender inequities." Themes of globalization and feminist epistemologies also shaped the Plenary Sessions:

    "Revolutionary Futures? Feminists Respond to the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, and the US 2012 Presidential Election"
    Jane Junn (University of Southern California, Dornsife), Zakia Salime (Rutgers University), and Julie Matthaei (Wellesley College) will consider recent global political movements and their potential for social transformation.

    "Decolonizing Knowledge: Black and Latina Women in the Academy Stress for Success"
    Bonnie Thornton Dill (University of Maryland, College Park) and Ruth Enid Zambrana (University of Maryland, College Park) will discuss their history of collaboration as well as highlight findings from their latest research on Black and Latina women in higher education.

Having been introduced in 2011, the Authors Meet Critics sessions have continued as a significant part of the National Conference's program. The 2012 conference hosted five AMC sessions: Julietta Hua's Trafficking Women’s Human Rights; Robyn Wiegman's Object Lessons; Chikako Takeshita's The Global Biopolitics of the IUD: How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women's Bodies; Tanya Erzen's Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love It; and Natalie Wilson's Seduced by Twilight: The Allure and Contradictory Messages of the Popular Saga.

Constituency Groups were also alive and well in the 2011 conference. Below are the groups that met at the 2012 conference, along with their years of formation.

    Aging and Ageism Caucus (1989)
    Anti-White Supremacy Task Force (2001)
    Asexuality Interest Group (2012)
    Community College Caucus (1979)
    Disability and Disability Studies (1984)
    Distance Education Task Force (1983)
    Fat Studies Interest Group (2008)
    Feminist Masculinities Interest Group (2012)
    Feminist Mothering (1999)
    Feminists Against Academic Discrimination (1988)
    Girls & Their Allies Caucus (2004)
    Graduate Student Caucus (2004)
    Jewish Caucus (1984)
    Law and Public Policy Interest Group (2001)
    Lesbian Caucus (1979)
    Program Administrators and Directors Committee (1983)
    Science and Technology Task Force (1987)
    Transgender Caucus (2009)
    Women of Color Caucus (1984)
    Women’s Centers Committee (1984)
List of 2012 program committee members

See the full program here

From the NWSA President

Dear Colleagues,

As National Women’s Studies Association president and conference co-chair, I am happy to welcome you to Feminism Unbound: Imagining a Feminist Future. Feminism Unbound builds on our conversations about Feminist Transformations in 2011 by examining the ways feminist scholarship is transgressing such boundaries as public/private; gender conformity and sexuality; nationalism; disability, race, ethnicity, class and culture. It encourages us to explore our vision of 21st century feminism.

In the wake of our recent election, the gathering momentum of new and existing social movements in the United States and globally, feminist/womanist voices and intersectional analyses can provide important insights and perspectives. In an era of rapid economic and political and social change accompanied by fear, unrest and broad demographic change throughout the world, feminist scholars can provide important insights and fresh perspectives. Our program encourages you to jump into the middle of discussions about these big issues and to explore the implication of expanding the present limits of social movements, interpersonal relations, human creativity, and the delivery of educational and academic content.

The program committee and staff have worked hard to provide a dynamic program, which I hope you will find both challenging and enjoyable. I remain excited about NWSA’s future and the role you can play in its growth, and once again I welcome you to the conference.


Bonnie Thornton Dill
NWSA President 2010-2012
Dean, College of Arts and Humanities University of Maryland

NWSA Governance

Below are the 2012 NWSA governance members. You can see the current Governing Council members, conference co-chairs, and staff members here.

2012 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.