Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Women's History Month 2007
Women's History Month 2007

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News Release

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

February 21, 2007

A mother’s influence

NIU celebrates Women’s History Month
with 23 events, focus on motherhood

DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University has nearly two dozen events on tap to highlight its Women’s History Month celebration in March. This year’s theme is “Re-Defining Motherhood.”

“We’re focusing on motherhood this year because it’s a universal theme. Even if women aren’t or can’t be mothers, they have had experiences with mothers and mother figures. The same is true of men,” said Amy Levin, director of the Women’s Studies Program at NIU.

The Women’s Studies Program, together with numerous co-sponsors, has planned many programs and activities throughout the month that will critically examine how the institution of motherhood and its relevance to women’s lives are changing.

A complete schedule of lectures, exhibits, performances and other activities can be found online at

Among the highlights:

Thursday, March 1

  • This year’s Women’s History Month celebration will kick off with “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” Sticker Day, an event that aims to show that the faces of feminism are as varied as the faces of our nation. Stickers are available in Reavis Hall 103.
  • An opening reception for “The Little Black Dress,” an exhibit showcasing the evolution of 20th-century fashion through the long and short “little black dress,” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Nehring Gallery, 111 S. Second St., DeKalb. Barbara Cole Peters is curator of the exhibit.
  • An opening reception will be held for the Women’s History Month Annual Art Exhibit from 4 to 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center, 1021 State St., DeKalb.
  • Throughout the month, Founders Memorial Library will display books, images and other materials related to the month’s motherhood theme. The displays can be viewed on the first and fourth floors during the library's normal operating hours.

Friday-Sunday, March 2-4

  • The Women’s Alliance brings back three performances of “The Vagina Monologues.” The performances will be held in Diversions Lounge of Holmes Student Center, beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Donations will go to local charities that support women.

Monday, March 5

  • Susan J. Douglas, the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor and chair of communication studies at the University of Michigan, will give an informal seminar on representations of women in the media, as well as on methods for analyzing media images. The seminar will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Holmes Student Center. Douglas will also give a public lecture based on her book, “The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it has Undermined Women,” at 7 p.m. in the Barsema Hall auditorium.

Wednesday, March 7

  • The International Women’s Day Luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Chandelier Room of Adams Hall. Chien-Juh Gu will discuss her research on Taiwanese women immigrants in the Chicago area. There is an $8 fee for lunch. For reservations, call (815) 753-9614.

Thursday, March 22

  • Betsy Beaulieu, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Appalachian State University, will use issues related to race and class that emerge in Showtime’s award-winning show, “Weeds,” as a springboard for investigating stereotypes of motherhood within a context of feminist and African-American critical theory and scholarship. The seminar begins at 9:30 a.m. in Room 100 of the Campus Life Building. Beaulieu will give a public lecture at 4 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Holmes Student Center, examining the positive and negative depictions of African-American motherhood in Rita Dove’s poetry.

Tuesday, March 27

  • Marla Buchanan will discuss her experience as the mother of an abducted child and will examine U.S. government policy on international child abduction. Buchanan’s presentation will take place at noon in Reavis Hall 103.
  • The Women’s Alliance will present the “Vagina Seminar: Re-imagining Women’s Bodies,” an event that promises to answer “what you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.” The seminar begins at 7 p.m. in DuSable Hall 176.

Thursday, March 29

  • NIU’s Women’s Studies Program will host a panel discussion examining various women’s experiences of motherhood. Panelists will include a mother of a special-needs child, a lesbian stepmother and an expatriate mother. The discussion begins at noon in Room 100 of the Campus Life Building.

Saturday, March 31

  • The final event on NIU’s Women’s History Month calendar is a lecture by Toril Moi, who will give the keynote presentation at the 15th Annual Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language and Media (MCLLM). Moi is the James B. Duke Professor of Literature & Romance Studies at Duke University. Her lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.

All events are open to the public and, unless otherwise noted, 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, Graduate Colloquium Committee, College of Business, Women’s Resource Center, Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, Nehring Center Gallery, NIU Alumni Association, School of Art, School of Family, Consumer & Nutrition Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences External Programming, University Women’s Club, College of Visual & Performing Arts, Women’s Alliance, DeKalb Area Women’s Center; the departments of Marketing, English, Communication and Political Science; and DeKalb Park District.

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