Women and War, Peace and Revolution
NEW PALTZ -- The impact of conflict on women throughout the world and women's involvement in war, revolution and peace efforts will be the topic of this year's Women's Studies Conference on Oct. 19 at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Titled "Women and War, Peace and Revolution," the conference was organized by a committee of faculty, staff and community members who wanted to create a forum to explore the similarities and differences among women's experiences in war, peace and revolution from historical, cross-cultural and intergenerational perspectives.
"The fascinating thing about this conference is that it looks at women in so many different roles: as armed warriors, peace activists, revolutionaries, resistance fighters and casualties of war," said Distinguished Service Professor Peter Brown, a conference planning committee member. "It will be a challenge to see what - if any - uniquely feminist perspectives on women in war, peace and revolution will emerge from this conference."
The conference will begin at 9 a.m. in the Lecture Center on the New Paltz campus with a keynote panel. Panelists will include Amy Goodman, news director at Pacifica Radio and host of "Democracy Now," a daily radio show on WBAI in New York City; Ruchama Marton, an Israeli psychiatrist who founded Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights; and Nadia Hijab, a Jordanian/British author and consultant on the Middle East and women's rights. Goodman will open the panel with an overview of the effect of war on women throughout the world. Marton and Hijab will then offer two views of the Middle East conflict. Marton will present a feminist perspective on the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Hijab will discuss human rights and international law as a framework for a just peace in the Middle East.
The panel discussion will be followed by three sessions of workshops that will run throughout the day. The following are a sampling of the workshop topics:
- "Ritual and Feminism in Times of War in Colombia: Ruta Pacifica por la Resolucion de los Conflictos": A paper and slide presentation addressing the artistic and political work of a women's theatre group founded in 1965 to denounce armed violence against women and children.
- "Women, Science and War": A workshop to discuss a research project at the University of Rhode Island that investigated the relationship between women, science and war and its relevance to women's interconnected role in foreign policy.
- "Growing Up Female in War-torn Bosnia": A first-hand account about being a teenager in Sarajevo during the war, where women were routinely raped.
- "Women and Civil War in Africa": A discussion of women's roles in the civil wars in the Congo, Biafra and Sudan.
- "Anti-War Activists of Two Generations: Emma Goldman and Yoko Ono": A paper that examines Yoko Ono's anti-war art from the late 1960s through early 1970s and questions how gender, ethnicity, politics and the media influence the formation and reception of Yoko Ono's art.
- "Women and Wars of National Liberation in Africa": This panel will discuss how women's participation in nationalist wars of liberation, especially as combatants, enabled them to gain dramatic changes in their political rights and roles, particularly in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Algeria.
- "Vision of War and Peace: Poetry as Transformative Act": Readings by women poets concerned with visions of war, peace and revolution, with particular attention to poetry as a form of witnessing.
The New Paltz Hudson River Playback Theatre will present an interactive performance at the end of the day. This theatrical approach has been used as a tool to address conflict in many countries, such as Angola, Macedonia, Germany, Israel and Northern Ireland. Playback Theatre values the integral relationship between personal story and the life of the community.
The conference will close with the one-woman performance of "Rebel Without A Pause," a reflection piece on the events of Sept. 11 performed by comedian Reno (she goes by her last name only), who lives near the former site of the Twin Towers. Reno, who has performed comic monologues in New York for many years, renamed her downtown neighborhood TriBeCaStan after the terrorist attacks. Her performance is a search for a way to process the complexity of the pain and find a way back to laughter, according to one reviewer's description. Produced by Lily Tomlin, among others, the act was nominated for a Drama Desk award for 2002. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Julien J. Studley Theatre.
The cost of the entire conference, including the evening performance, is $35 (meals are extra), $10 for students (no charge for New Paltz students). Tickets for "Rebel Without A Pause" may be purchased separately for $15; $5 for students (no charge for New Paltz students). Free childcare is available for children 2-12, but requires pre-registration by Oct. 9. Registration and additional program information is available online at www.newpaltz.edu/wmnstudies or by calling Women's Studies at (845) 257-2975.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.