Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

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The Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota (founded in 1973) strives to advance innovative research, scholarship, creative work and teaching to contribute new understandings towards social change. The Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota promotes scholarship that pushes established boundaries while providing a

Operating as usual

GWSS Statement on Palestine 10/17/2023

As scholars and solidarity workers who seek justice everywhere, we respond to the call of Palestinian feminists and Palestinian freedom fighters for transnational solidarity. This statement was adapted from a joint statement written by AGITATE! Journal collective members, the Imagining Transnational Solidarities Research Circle (ITSRC), and Gender Women and Sexuality Studies faculty in 2021. We are grateful for the solidarity of our colleagues.

Gender, Women, And Sexuality Studies Statement on Palestine
University of Minnesota
October 13, 2013

In the last week, violence has dramatically escalated in Palestine. After Hamas fighters brought down border fences and launched an incursion into Israeli territory, Israel responded by declaring total war on Gaza. On October 12, 1.1 million Gazans were given 24 hours to “evacuate”, despite all checkpoints being closed and documented bombings of evacuees.

We mourn for the many lives lost. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with Palestinian scholars and organizers. At a time when so many institutions are renewing a commitment to Israel’s right to “self defense”, we assert that Israel’s response is not self-defense but the continuation of a genocidal war against Gaza and against Palestinian freedom, self-determination, and life.

To understand what is happening, we must look to history, and we must study. For the last sixteen years, Israel has illegally besieged 2 million people in Gaza. Gazans’ access to power, water, and food are controlled by Israel and have been systematically cut off. Multiple military attacks by the Israeli state have destroyed Gaza's infrastructure; during these attacks, Israel bombs hospitals, schools, mosques, and apartment blocks where civilians live, claiming that Hamas is using civilians as human shields. Israel continues to expand illegal settlements in the West Bank and to stand by while settlers commit terrifying attacks on Palestinian residents. We strongly reject the media coverage that condemns “both sides”, or seeks to tell a one-sided story of an unprovoked terrorist attack. Israeli leaders are wielding a violent power that subjugates the Palestinian people and constructs them as dehumanized terrorists, upon whom any bloodshed can be meted out. Meanwhile, global media coverage reproduces Islamophobic tropes of terrorism and unsubstantiated claims of “uncivilized” violence. In the process, politicians and the media are legitimizing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This is an obscene, immoral, and cowardly act.

The U.S. administration remains silent in the face of this ongoing massacre, refusing to recognize Israel’s persistent violations of international laws and human rights obligations. Israel has never been held to the same legal and human rights commitments that the U.S. demands from states to which it provides military and monetary support. As the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, Israel had accumulated $263 billion of assistance since 1949. In 2023, the U.S. government gave Israel $3.8 billion in military aid, not including the resources President Biden promised Israel this week. This is a continuation of the settler colonialism and exceptionalism upon which the United States nation-state is founded and which has provided legitimacy to a host of U.S. imperial wars or proxy wars: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Vietnam, Laos, Korea, the Philippines, and many other places.

In the past decades, all forms of Palestinian resistance and solidarity with Palestine have been further criminalized or violently repressed, from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) to the Great March of Return in 2018, during which peaceful protesters were fired on by Israeli soldiers. We stand against antisemitism. Objecting to the Israeli state’s settler colonial violence, however, is not antisemitic, and the conflation of support for Palestinian resistance with antisemitism is itself a violent oppressive form of censorship and an insult to our academic and moral integrity. We echo the South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Palestinian civil society who have rightly pointed out that, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Our department has a rich history of studying transnational geopolitics and settler colonialism. We stand in solidarity with other scholars and centers facing the curtailing of academic freedom to speak on this issue, and to study it closely. Along with the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department at U.C. Santa Cruz, we condemn the harassment against organizers from the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism (ICSZ). Along with the National Women’s Studies Association, we reaffirm support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, and we call on students, colleagues, and friends around the country to call for lifting the siege, ending the occupation, and dismantling Israel’s apartheid system.

As members of a land grab university that resides on the unceded land Mni Sota Makoce of the Dakota people, we are painfully aware of our complicity with the settler colonial violence against Indigenous people and the continuing dispossession of their land on Turtle Island. We are equally complicit with the global imperialism that engenders the maiming and killing of the Palestinian people by the U.S-backed Israeli state. We insist on our ethical and political responsibility to raise our voices against settler colonialism, and the U.S. government’s enabling military and monetary support of the apartheid state of Israel.

Writing from the site of the murders of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, Isak Aden, Dolal Idd, Jamar Clark, George Floyd, and Daunte Wright, we reaffirm our commitment to anti-colonialism, abolition, and the dismantlement of militarized state violence across the world. Like many U.S.-based universities, the University of Minnesota has investments in companies that do business in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine. We ask our university to divest from Israel, and support the call by Palestinian civil society for BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). As we observe students and academic workers around the country being singled out and harassed for speaking out on Palestine, we call on the University of Minnesota to reaffirm a commitment to academic freedom, and to protect all in the university community who speak out against Israeli and U.S. violence.

As scholars and solidarity workers who seek justice everywhere, we respond to the call of Palestinian feminists and Palestinian freedom fighters for transnational solidarity and assert that Palestine is a feminist issue. None of us will be free unless the Palestinian people are free and Palestinian land is liberated.

"It is our duty then to write down the events that took place, as they took place, and to note them as they are before time weaves its strings of forgetfulness around them.”—Palestinian journalist Arif Al-‘Arif, writing on the Nakba in 1948

GWSS Statement on Palestine As scholars and solidarity workers who seek justice everywhere, we respond to the call of Palestinian feminists and Palestinian freedom fighters for transnational solidarity and assert that Palestine is a feminist issue. None of us will be free unless the Palestinian people are free and Palestinian....

09/29/2022
Middle East Studies Association - MESA Book Awards - Sima Shakhsari 12/02/2021

Dr. Sima Shakhsari's book, "Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan"
(Duke University Press) has received a 2021 FATEMA MERNISSI BOOK AWARD HONORABLE MENTION! Way to go Sima! https://mesana.org/awards/awardee/mesa-book-awards/sima-shakhsari?fbclid=IwAR2cf2jeOyJuqadq7Qd13lNYkdOWl3j6DyId-1PkHv9AXQXV8B5Idz70IQU

Middle East Studies Association - MESA Book Awards - Sima Shakhsari Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan Duke University Press

08/03/2021

DREAMSONG
(Pandemic) Motherhood, Labor and Loss
August 4, 2021 5:30pm

The pandemic changed every aspect of our lives, from work, to schooling, to family life. As widely reported, mothers were some of the most challenged during this time, leaving the workforce in record numbers to care for their children with little governmental and societal support. What are the stories and experiences of mothers during this time? Organized by Shannon Gibney, Kao Kalia Yang and Catherine Squires, editors and contributors to the groundbreaking anthology What God Is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), they will read from their work alongside additional community members. New work on pandemic mothering will also be shared and discussed.

At this event, visitors will also have the opportunity to view Dreamsong’s inaugural exhibition, A glitter of seas, which explores maternity through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and video by contemporary female artists.

Book sales will be handled by Moon Palace Books and a signing will follow the presentation. Beverages and light snacks will be served.

TICKETS

installation view of A glitter of seas at Dreamsong

About the Organizers
Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), and Dream Country (Dutton, 2018), young adult novels that won Minnesota Book Awards in 2016 and 2019. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis College, where she teaches writing. In October 2019, University of Minnesota Press released What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, which she co-edited with writer Kao Kalia Yang.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, The Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang is also the author of the children’s books A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, Yang Warriors, and From the Tops of the Trees. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, as Notable Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, the Heartland Bookseller’s Award, and garnered four Minnesota Book Awards. She lives in Minnesota with her family. Kao Kalia Yang teaches and speaks across the nation.

Catherine R. Squires is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of multiple books, including Dispatches from the Color Line (2007) and The Post-Racial Mystique (2014), and edited the collection Dangerous Discourses: Feminism, Gun Violence & Civic Life (2016). In 2017, Squires was named a Bush Fellow. Her fellowship focused on understanding intergenerational trauma, culturally relevant healing practices, embodied story sharing and gentle movement. Through these explorations, she became a certified yoga instructor and has ventured into memoir writing as a practice of healing and re-connection. She lives in St. Paul with her family and is always on the lookout for interesting birds.

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DREAMSONG

646-703-4473
1237 4th Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Wed-Th 11-5
Fri-Sat 12-6
dreamsong.art

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Zenzele Isoke, Associate Professor
Chair of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Paul W. Frenzel Professor and Chair in Liberal Arts
University of Minnesota
437 Ford Hall, 224 Church St.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-626-8954 (office)
Fax: 612-624-3573

"How may we work in the world courageously and intelligently on behalf of a decent world, without despair and complete fatigue? What are the resources for personal rehabilitation and renewal so that we may be able to look out on life with its vicissitudes of cruelties and transient joys with quiet eyes and a tranquil spirit." From Deep is the Hunger (1973) by Howard Thurman.

Photos from Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota's post 05/28/2021

We have some amazing classes being taught in the fall! Help us spread the word about these two great upcoming classes.

Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine – AGITATE! 05/15/2021

As educators and cultural workers, we respond to the call by the Palestinian community in Lydda for international protection for Indigenous Palestinians from Israeli state-sanctioned pogroms. As scholars and solidarity workers who seek justice everywhere, we respond to the call of Palestinian feminists and Palestinian freedom fighters for transnational solidarity and assert that Palestine is a feminist issue. “Freedom is a constant struggle” and none of us will be free unless the Palestinian people are free and Palestinian land is liberated. We stand with: the people of Palestine in their demand to end settler colonialism in occupied Palestine and their right of return; Native, Indigenous, and First Nations peoples in their struggles for liberation, land return, and restorative justice in the Americas; Black people in their struggle for reparations and against anti-Black racism in the U.S. and the Americas; Asian American peoples in their struggle against U.S. white supremacy, war, and imperialism; Muslim Americans in their struggle against Islamophobia, and the struggles of all peoples around the world whose lives have become disposable by settler colonialism, the U.S.-backed dictatorships, sanctions and wars. In Palestine, Kashmir, Minneapolis, Colombia, India and elsewhere, the dispossessed people’s protests against the tremendous forces of settler colonialism, brutal state repression and genocidal state apathy are repeatedly reduced to “riot,” “anti-nationalism,” “national security threats,”or “conflict” between two equal sides. We strongly reject the logic of “both sides” when it comes to violent power that subjugates people and constructs them as “terrorists”, robbing them of their dignity and humanity and their right to struggle for justice.

Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine – AGITATE! The Editorial Collective of AGITATE! Unsettling Knowledges, the Imagining Transnational Solidarities Research Circle (ITSRC), and the faculty in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and condemn...

03/31/2021

The 2021 GWSS Colloquium series and 2nd Annual Feminist Lecture Series presents Prentis Hemphill on April 23rd, 2021.

Abstract: In this time of increasingly challenging conditions and divisiveness, our communities and movements are in dire need of strengthening our abilities for generative conflict. Prentis will utilize embodied practices as a tool for increasing somatic awareness, identifying internal patterns, and addressing interpersonal challenges.

Bio: Prentis Hemphill is movement facilitator, Somatics teacher and practitioner, and working at the convergence of healing, collective transformation, and political organizing. Prentis has spent the last 15 years bridging wellbeing and power building as a part of movement building organizations, most recently as the Healing Justice Director at Black Lives Matter Global Network. In 2016, Prentis was awarded the Buddhist Peace Fellowship Soma Award for community work inspired by Buddhist thought. At present, Prentis is the founder and leader of The Embodiment Institute and The Black Embodiment Initiative as well as host of the Finding Our Way Podcast.

To Register for this Event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138857678053

03/28/2021
03/09/2021

A week from today! Join us for a webinar about the sanctions on Iran, sanctions on Iraq, and the embargo on Gaza. Professor Noura Erakat, Professor Zainab Saleh, Expert journalist, Negar Mortazavi, and Senior research Fellow, Assal Rad will discuss the effects of sanctions and embargoes in the Middle East.

Co-sponsored by
Agitate - Unsettling knowledges
Imagining Transnational Solidarities Research Circle
Mizna
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)
Jadaliyya
Peace Action
Femena
CODEPINK: Women For Peace
MADRE
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Rethinking Foreign Policy
Kohl Journal / مجلّة كحل
NIAC

Zoom Register: Tinyurl.com/NoSanctionsOnIran

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425 Ford Hall, 224 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN
55455

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8am - 4:30pm
Friday 8am - 4:30pm
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