On November 14 through November 17, the National Women’s Studies Association Conference took place in San Francisco, California. NWSA is an annual conference that works towards “promoting and supporting the production and dissemination of knowledge about women and gender through teaching, learning, research and service in academic and other settings.” The theme of the 2019 conference was Protest, Justice and Transnational Organizing, and a few of Iowa State’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program faculty and faculty affiliates had the opportunity to attend.
The conference was held in a hotel where book displays and vendors were set up. Hundreds of academics, people who worked in the community, artists, a wide spectrum of people all came together to discuss Women’s and Gender Studies.
“It’s a very fun and incredible environment,” says Dr. Abby Dubisar, a professor in the English Department and a Women’s and Gender Studies affiliate who had the opportunity to present at the conference.
Dr. Dubisar gave a presentation titled “Feminist Food Activism: Connection Public Science and Social Justice” which aimed to discuss food as a feminist issue.
“[M]y research is on food as a feminist issue […] connecting it to public science,” says Dr. Dubisar. “This idea that all of us—as eaters, as contributors to our communities—deserve to know the science behind our food.”
Dr. Alissa Stoehr was another Iowa State professor who got to be a part of the conference. Dr. Stoehr belongs to NWSA caucus and moderated two panels, one which was titled “Emotional Labor and Community College Feminist Classrooms as Spaces of Justice: Protesting Erasure of Student Agency in Times of Pathways, Metrics and In Equity.” The panel was focused on Women’s and Gender Studies programs at community colleges.
Along with their own presentations and research, there were over 600 other presentations. One that was memorable to Dr. Dubisar was a session called “The Author Meets Critic” over Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón’s book Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora.
“[She interviewed] 25 girl graffiti artists across the world and all these different countries and [the book] is the result of her ethnographic study. It took her 15 years to write it,” says Dubisar. “So at the conference, this professor was in the room and then half a dozen people who’ve read her book and written about it[…] It was just really interesting to have the author there talking about these ideas.”
Dr. Stoehr’s memorable moment was meeting political activist and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem.
“I got to meet Gloria Steneim again. […] That was really cool because I just adore her,” says Stoehr.
The two Iowa State professors were able to be a part of and contribute in the exchange of knowledge and learning through a feminist perspective and are looking forward to next year’s conference, The Poetics, Politics Praxis of Transnational Feminism.