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Laura C. Harris Series

selected reading for visiting lecturers

Theme and Speakers

Laura C. Harris Series 2019-2020

Feminism, Health, Justice

Feminists have long been fighting for justice in healthcare and engaging in debates about wellness and health. Healthcare justice remains one of the world’s most pressing challenges, with women, children, and the marginalized often disproportionately affected by restricted access to healthcare. Simultaneously, discourse about mindfulness and wellness increasingly proliferates the mainstream, yet often without the benefit of feminist insight and analysis that draws attention to how race, class, gender, and sexuality inflect what counts as health, what one needs to be mindful of, or what appropriate standards of care are. We must thus ask what feminist conceptions and practices of well-being are. How is wellness a part of liberal arts education? How are healing, health, and wellness part of social and environmental justice projects? How do such movements shape our understanding of wellness, health, and healing? What are critical and feminist approaches to public health and wellness? How do we promote a politics of care that embodies feminist praxis and values in daily life and in our institutions?

Fall 2019

Uzaomaka Nwankpa, September 13

Shanna Katz Kattari & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, September 26

Heather Corinna, November 7-8

Nancy Folbre, November 18

Spring 2020:

Deirdre Cooper Owens, January 27

Elena Conis, February 3-4

Jane Gallop, February 24-25

Uzo Nwankpa

Residency: Sept. 8-16, 2019
Event: Sept. 13 (Friday), 6:00 PM, Eisner Center for Performing Arts, Thorsen Dance Studio, “The Neuroscience of Surviving America: A Black Immigrant’s Story”

Uzo Nwankpa is a community health registered nurse, teacher, storyteller, dancer, and founder of the Uzo Method Project which explores the use of alternative healing modalities as a public health solution to increase wellness across communities.  A person of Igbo heritage (Nigeria), Uzo is a queer, first generation immigrant dedicated to invigorating her ancestral notions of health, well-being and healing that have been oppressed as a consequence of colonization, assimilation, and genocide. Through a ‘one-woman performance ritual’ that combines dance, music, and a research based-monologue, her performance investigates the unfamiliar, less understood and the less obvious perspectives of the healthcare system. Uzo combines her interest in health and social justice with performing arts to investigate questions and articulate insights about health from an indigenous and diaspora African orientation. The performance research will utilize Crenshaw's (1989) theory of intersectionality to look at the distinct health challenges facing marginalized folk.

Shanna Katz Kattari & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Event: Sept. 26, 7:00 PM, Burton Morgan Lecture Hall 115, “Disability and Gender Justice”
Workshop: Sept. 27, 11:30 AM, Slayter 402 Student Center, “Disability and Sexuality”


Shanna Katz Kattari (she/her/hers) PhD, MEd, CSE, ACS is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Department of Women's Studies (by courtesy). She is a board-certified sexologist, sexuality educator, and social justice advocate. Her research focuses on understanding how power, privilege and oppression systematically marginalize, exclude, and discriminate against people regarding their identities/expressions through negative attitudes, policies reinforcing oppression, oppressive actions and isolation. Her work centers on disability/ableism/microaggressions, and transgender/nonbinary identities and transphobia, using an intersectional lens.  

Recommended Reading

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, cultural worker and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. They are the author of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home (short-listed for the Lambda and Publishing Triangle Awards, ALA Above the Rainbow List), Bodymap (short listed for the Publishing Triangle Award), Love Cake (Lambda Literary Award winner), and Consensual Genocide, and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Their next two books, Tonguebreaker and Exploring Transformative Justice: A Reader (co-edited with Ejeris Dixon) are forthcoming in 2019. A lead artist with Sins Invalid, her writing has been widely published, with recent work in PBS Newshour,'s Poetry and the Body folio, The Deaf Poets Society, Bitch, Self, TruthOut and The Body is Not an Apology.  She is a VONA Fellow and holds an MFA from Mills College.


Recommended Reading

Heather Corinna

Event: Nov. 7, 7:00 PM, Burton Morgan Lecture Hall 115, “Sex Ed for the Real World: A Conversation with Heather Corinna and Hanne Blank”
Workshop: Nov. 8, 11:30 AM, Barney Davis Board Room, “Mutually Inclusive: Self Defense Against Selfish Sexuality”

Heather Corinna created the first independently run, feminist, sex-positive, politically aware youth and young adult sexual health resource on the Internet, Corinna and a small army of volunteers have, in that time, provided sexuality and sexual health information for anyone seeking it within a decidedly feminist, LGBTQIA+-inclusive, non-alarmist, politically left of center, youth-affirming, consent-driven context. Corinna's work is a precious, rare model of what feminist sex education and sexual health education in the public interest can look like, and her “sex ed for the real world” workshops are extremely well suited toward the college audience.  A self-described "queer, rabblerousing, polymath," Corinna has advocated for accepting the diverse forms of sexual experience and avoiding "expertitis."  Corinna is the author of “s.e.x. the all-you-need-to-know sexuality guide to get you through your teens and twenties(2nd Da Capo Press edition, 2016).

Nancy Folbre

Dates: Nov. 18-19, 2019 (Monday-Tuesday)
Event: Nov. 18, 7:00 PM, Burton Morgan Lecture Hall 115, “The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems”

Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics and Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Senior Fellow of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. Her research explores the interface between political economy and feminist theory, with a particular emphasis on the value of unpaid care work. In addition to a MacArthur “Genius” Award and numerous articles published in academic journals, she is the author of The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems (forthcoming in 2019 from Verso), the editor of For Love and Money: Care Work in the U.S. (Russell Sage, 2012), and the author of Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas (Oxford, 2009), Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family (Harvard, 2008), and The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (New Press, 2001). She has also written widely for a popular audience, including contributions to the New York Times Economix blog, The Nation, and the American Prospect. Please consult her website and blog Care Talk at more information.  Dr. Folbre will talk about her recent book, "The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems," which develops an analysis of intersecting institutional structures that comprise complex hierarchical systems. It builds on the long-standing feminist effort to conceptualize "patriarchy" but rejects the notion that it can be analyzed in isolation from other institutional structures. It emphasizes the economic importance of reproduction and social reproduction as well as production and appropriation, and develops a definition of exploitation that can be applied to inequalities based on dimensions of group identity such as gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and citizenship, as well as class. This theoretical framework motivates an historical account of the emergence of patriarchal institutional structures and their evolution over time, explaining why gender inequality remains so pervasive despite the global weakening of patriarchal law.

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