Daring to use the “F” Word: New School Students will Lead Panel Discussion on Feminism, Writing, and Activism

On Monday, March 26, 2012, the Feminist Writer’s Organization (FWO) of the New School will host and moderate a panel discussion titled Women Writing in the Age of “Post-Feminism.” The event, co-sponsored by the Writing and Gender Studies Programs at the New School, will examine the possibilities and limitations for women in the literary industry and will investigate writing as both a battleground and a crucial tool in the continued struggle for women’s rights.

The panel will feature four contemporary women writers whose work spans diverse genres and professions. Ann Snitow, director of the Gender Studies Program and Associate Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at The New School will speak from her experience as a feminist activist, writer, and teacher. Snitow has participated in movements for women’s rights and social justice across the globe for over thirty years, including most recently Occupy Wall Street, and is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Feminist Memoir Project: Voices from Women’s Liberation (ed. with Rachel DuPlessis,Crown 1998; Reissued by Rutgers University Press, 2007). New School faculty will also be represented by fiction writer and artist Shelley Jackson, who teaches in the graduate creative writing program. Whether printed on the page, such as her 2006 Tiptree award winning novel Half Life, or the flesh, as with her 2003 project SKIN, a story published in the form of tattoos, a single word etched onto the bodies of over two-thousand volunteers, Jackson’s work utilizes non-traditional forms and experiments with language and meaning.

Two poets from outside the New School community will also bring their perspectives to the panel. Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship, former Manager of External Relations & National Programs at Cave Canem Foundation, and acting Assisant Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Manhattanville University. Rankine will discuss the politics of identity in contemporary women’s writing. Cate Marvin’s poetry has also garnered multiple awards and acclaim, including her first book,World’s Tallest Disaster, chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize. Marvin teaches poetry writing in Lesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Program and is an associate professor in creative writing at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Marvin is also co-founder of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, an organization that “seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities” (vidaweb.org).

In an age where some purport that equal access to institutions of power has heralded the “end of sexism,” and with it the end of the necessity of feminism, women writers continue to question the present and envision new and strengthened roles as both women and writers in the future. The FWO hopes this event will spark a broader dialogue about a range of issues effecting women’s lives while highlighting the innovation and diversity of contemporary writing by women.


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