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Women's History Month

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News Release

Contact: Rebekah Kohli, NIU Women's Studies
(815) 753-1044

February 22, 2006

Women's Studies celebrates 25th anniversary
during Women's History Month

DeKalb, Ill. — The Women's Studies Program at Northern Illinois University will celebrate its silver anniversary with a series of events and activities that also coincide with Women's History Month in March.

The theme for this year's activities, “Celebrating 25 Years of Women's Studies at NIU: Re-Imagining Sisterhood,” recalls the program's early days.

“We want to offer the community an opportunity to reconsider sisterhood, which was a popular theme when the Women's Studies program began,” said NIU English Professor Amy Levin, director of Women's Studies.

Levin, whose first book was on sisters and sisterhoods in the novel, has long been fascinated by the subject.

“The topic has many aspects,” she said. “Traditions about sisters and sisterhoods vary across cultures and historical periods. During the 1970s, for instance, when the women's movement glorified sisterhood, a number of books were published about the difficulties and competition in biological sisters' relationships.”

Many of the events planned for Women's History Month will examine sisterhood from a variety of perspectives. A complete schedule of lectures, exhibits, performances and other activities can be found online at

Among the highlights:

Wednesday, March 1

  • Barbara Cole Peters, a private collector of women's 20th-century fashions, will display a selection of red and black garments from 3 to 5 p.m. at the President's Residence in DeKalb. Peters will speak at the event, titled “Lady in Red & Black: Ode to Northern Illinois University,” and Nancy Jacobs, a longtime community member, will discuss how the situation for women in DeKalb has evolved over the past seven decades. Reservations are required and space is limited. Call (815) 753-1038.
  • An opening reception for the Women's History Month Annual Art Exhibit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the DeKalb Area Women's Center, 1021 State St., DeKalb. The exhibit will feature works by female faculty and graduate students in the NIU School of Art. Call (815) 758-1351 for gallery hours. The show runs through March 29.

Tuesday, March 7

  • Valentine Moghadam, chief of the Gender Equality and Development Section of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will give an informal seminar. Titled “Middle Eastern Feminism: The Challenges of Islamism, Imperialism, and Authoritarian States,” the seminar will begin at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center. Moghadam will focus specifically on feminism in the Middle East. She is author of “Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East ” and “Women, Work and Economic Reform in the Middle East and North Africa.” Her third book, “Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks,” was published in early 2005.

Wednesday, March 8

  • Moghadam will deliver a lecture titled, “Sisterhood and Strange Bedfellows: Feminisms in an Age of Empire,” at 10 a.m. in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center. Moghadam will examine the challenges facing feminists today. Specifically, she will focus on how feminists create and maintain bonds of sisterhood across racial and ethnic lines in an era of capitalist globalization.
  • Moghadam will be the keynote speaker for the International Women's Day Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Chandelier Room of Adams Hall. She will discuss feminism, legal reform and women's empowerment in the Middle East.

Tuesday, March 21

  • Professor Kelli Lyon Johnson of Miami University Ohio-Hamilton will lecture on “Mapping Collective Memory in Chicana Literature: The Politics of Belonging.” The lecture begins at 4 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Holmes Student Center. Johnson will discuss the way in which Latina authors recover a sense of belonging and sisterhood in their literature through collective memory.

Wednesday, March 22

  • Professor Johnson will give an informal seminar titled, “Finding the Way Home: The Map in Native American Women's Writing,” at 10 a.m. in Room 211 of Reavis Hall. Johnson will address issues of belonging, particularly in regard to geography and the environment in Native American women's literature.

Friday, March 24

  • Alumnae and current members of Sigma Alpha Iota, Beta Mu chapter, will perform pieces written by women composers at 8 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall. Biographical information about the composers will also be provided and discussed.

Thursday, March 30

  • A staged reading of Chicago playwright Sara Keely McGuire's play, “Triple Goddess,” will be performed at 7 p.m. in the Diversions Lounge of Holmes Student Center. Following the performance, McGuire will lead a discussion.

All events are open to the public and, unless otherwise noted on the Women's Studies Web site, are free. Sign language interpreters will be provided upon request; call (815) 753-6515. (One week's notice is preferred.)

Event sponsors include the NIU Women's Studies Program, the Women's Resource Center, the University Bookstore, the Office of the President, the DeKalb Area Women's Center, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the School of Law, the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, the English Graduate Student Association, Latino & Latin American Studies, Sigma Alpha Iota, the Student Association, the Graduate Colloquium Committee and the Departments of Economics, English, Music, History, Sociology, Literacy Education, Foreign Languages & Literature and Kinesiology and Physical Education.

For further information, call the Women's Studies Program at (815) 753-1038.