Viva Academia: Women’s Studies Symposium Style

Last week, I presented at my first conference (like a grown up!). It was Oxford’s Women’s Studies Symposium. The presentation was over¬† a paper I wrote as a culminating project for my Women and Cross Cultural Perspectives class. Here’s the abstract:

This paper explores the evolution of third gender identities in the Navajo, Zuni, and Lakota in North America. Prior to European settlement, each tribe possessed a different term for and conception of third gendered individuals. Though it is tempting to consider Native American tribes as enlightened and accepting of non-binary sexualities, the treatment of third gendered individuals within these groups (and the roles they were expected to fulfill) was as unique as each individual tribal identity prior to European settlement. Though each tribe possessed distinct, defined third-gender identities before European settlement, individuals which identified as third gendered became much less common as a European gender binary was either forced on Native American tribes or accepted as part of an intentional effort to seem more European. However, since the 1970s these identities have reemerged in the form of a pan-Indian two-spirit identity intimately tied to Native American activism surrounding health care, land rights, and the AIDS epidemic. In part, this is the result of LGBT Native American individuals who have been alienated from the Euro-American dominated LGBT movement in the US. This modern two-spirit identity, though outwardly similar to the traditional third genders, is actually quite different for many of the tribes: third gendered people were typically conceived of as engaged in heterogendered sexual partnership; this is not true with the modern two-spirit person. The paper concludes with a summary of the two-spirit movement as it stands, in the words of two-spirit individuals.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, the paper is available here.

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That Girl Who Talks About Vaginas A Lot

Someone please explain to me why I cannot get this song out of my head. I think it has something to do with Matthew Morrison’s dancing. Because, mm.

This is one of those weeks where I step out of my room for lunch and then suddenly I look up and, oh wait, it’s 10pm and I haven’t been back and I have to do homework and look my RA bulletin board is due in an hour.* It’s a great week–I’ve organized two programs and the Vagina Monologues production that I’m directing¬† is this Thursday and Friday and then it’s my birthday and then it’s SXSWi–but it’s also kind of maybe a little insane. I used to think freshman year that I knew what busy was. I did not. I know I did not, because freshman year I had friends I saw outside of Lil’s and went to bed at 11pm. Good memories.

However, freshman year I did not get to make these sorts of things:

Vagina Week Poster

Yes. Yes it is a Georgia O'Keefe painting.

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