Did you know that Gender and Women’s Studies programs across the nation are under attack by their state legislators? Are these attacks simply isolated incidents or are they representative of a larger political shift? Find out more by listen to this wonderful edition of APA!
The last time Karma was on the air, she spoke with Alison Peipmeier and Merri Lisa Johnson, directors of gender and women’s studies and the College of Charleston and University South Carolina-Upstate respectively about recent attacks on their institutions as a result of assigning gay-themed books for their university wide book programs, and also bringing in gay-themed programming to campus. Upstate’s Bodies of Knowledge Symposium which was held last month was scheduled to host a comedic performance titled, “How to Be a Lesbian in Ten Days or Less.” Under pressure from the SC state legislature, this performance was canceled. And the state legislature went as far as to attempt to ban the performance of the off-Broadway production of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, which visited College of Charleston last month. Things heated up last week, when with classes over, and students home for the summer, USC-Upstate’s Chancellor Thomas Moore quietly announced that Upstate’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies would be closed due to budgetary constraints, saving the university $45,000. Moore claims there’s no ideological motivation; the Center’s supporters have cried foul, maintaining that this is no coincidence, but rather retribution for including LGBT and other transgressive programming. Petitions have been started and the controversy has even garnered international attention.
All of us should be worried about issues of academic censorship. Today, Karma brought on local experts to weigh in on this situation. The show was geared to discuss what seems to be the increasing precarity of gender studies, as well as ethnic studies on university campuses, and also to talk a bit about the exciting things happening here at UW-Madison. The first guest was Dr. Judith Houck, associate professor and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at UW-Madison. Dr. Houck is an expert on women’s health, medical history, and feminist approaches to health care. She is the author of many articles and the book, Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in Modern America, published by Harvard University Press in 2006. She also had guest Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde, Helen Thompson Woolley Professor and Director of the Center for Research on Gender and Women at UW-Madison. Professor Hyde is an expert in the psychology of women, human sexuality, and gender development. She is author of more than 150 research articles and 11 books.