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March 12, 2006

Industry Event - TESOL Department Supports Intellectualism: Women & Warfare


You'll notice that TESOL industry events take place all over the world these days. The U.S. is no exception, being one of the biggest industry producers of TESOL graduate and postgraduate students in the world. Many U.S. citizens who start off teaching ESL abroad often come back to their native country to teach ESL in the ever-expanding market that caters to new immigrants.

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania [IUP] English Department, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Graduate School of Research, Women's Studies Program, Graduate Program in Composition & TESOL, and Graduate Program in Literature invite you to attend:

"Women, War, and Other Big Jokes"
Dr. Margaret D. Stetz
Mae & Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies University of Delaware

The details of the event . . .

. . . are:

Thursday April 20
3:00 PM
Johnson Hall, Room 247

Reception to follow in Breezedale Hall.

Contact: Cheryl Wilson, English Department (Cheryl.Wilson@iup.edu)

From the official blurb:

"In the pioneering 1980 anthology Pulling Our Own Strings: Feminist Humor and Satire, edited by Gloria Kaufman and Mary Kay Blakely, perhaps the most groundbreaking contribution of all was Naomi Weisstein's "The Saturday Night Special: Rape and Other Big Jokes. " Based on a monologue, "Saturday Night Special—a Salute to Rape," which Weisstein had been performing since 1974, this was a short, autobiographical reflection on a lifetime of sexual harassment and assault. It used techniques of comic exaggeration, satire, and parody to laugh, both darkly and bitterly, at the pervasive rape culture that has shaped American women's daily experiences, as well as the representations of their experiences in journalism and in popular film. At the same time, it turned the particulars of episodes in which Weisstein herself was a victim of sexual violence into humorous setpieces. Her final observation to women readers, however, was a serious one, suggesting that "It's not a sex war, it's a rout, we're losing, and we're losing big. And we've got to stop that" (Pulling Our Own Strings, 107).

Weisstein's attempt to present the circumstances of her own encounters with harassers and with would-be rapists in comic form has proved enormously influential. Its impress can be felt strongly, for example, in the Korean American comedian Margaret Cho's 1999 one-woman show, I'm the One that I Want, and again in her 2001 published memoir, which built upon the autobiographical material from that show. In recounting the outrageous circumstances under which a movie producer tried to assault her, Cho fell back upon the techniques that Weisstein employed to make her own narrative a "Saturday Night Special"—a feminist comic weapon.

Recently, however, women who have begun to tell the stories of their encounters with actual warfare have also started to describe battle zones as places of "sex war," as well. Like Weisstein and Cho, moreover, some of these women memoirists have chosen to represent their experiences with sexual harassment and assault in comic form, in order to gain a sense of control over these traumatic memories and to diminish, if only in print, the power of the men who were responsible.

The presentation will look briefly at two examples of combat zone narratives by American women writer that incorporate comic techniques, particularly in episodes that describe the sexual harassment and sexual violence that was committed against the writers. I will focus on Deborah Copaken Kogan's Shutterbabe (2001), the story of her career in the 1980s as a woman war photojournalist, and on Kayla Williams's Love My Rifle More Than You (2005), the account of her service in the war in Iraq as a member of the U. S. Army.

Margaret D. Stetz, Mae & Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies and Professor of Humanities, University of Delaware. Margaret D. Stetz received her PhD from Harvard University and taught at the University of Virginia and at Georgetown University, before becoming the Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies and Professor of Humanities at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Gender and the London Theatre, 1880-1920 (Rivendale, UK, 2004), as well as of British Women's Comic Fiction, 1890—1990 (Ashgate, 2001), and is the co-author with Mark Samuels Lasner of England in the 1880s: Old Guard and Avant-Garde (University Press of Virginia, 1989); England in the 1990s: Literary Publishing at the Bodley Head (Georgetown University Press, 1990); and The Yellow Book: A Centenary Exhibition (Houghton Library, Harvard University, 1994). She is also co-editor with Bonnie B. C. Oh of Legacies of the Comfort Women of WWII (M. E. Sharpe, 2001) and has participated in briefings for Congressional staffers on the subject of women and military sexual slavery.

In 1999 she produced the reissue of the Victorian feminist novel A Writer of Books by "George Paston" for Academy Chicago Press. She has been guest curator of exhibitions on art, literature, and book design at the National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC; Harvard University; the University of Virginia; the University of Delaware; Bryn Mawr College; and other sites. She also serves on the editorial boards of the scholarly journals Nineteenth Century Studies; Iris: A Journal About Women; and Victorian Literature and Culture, as well as on the board of Palgrave/Macmillan's 19th C. Writing and Culture Series of monographs.

In 2000, she received the National Association for Women in Catholic Higher Education's "Wise Woman" biannual award for Women's Studies service and scholarship. Her next book, titled Facing the Late Victorians, will be published in 2006 by the University of Delaware Press. With Cheryl A. Wilson, she is currently co-editing a volume of essays on the two Victorian women poets who wrote as "Michael Field." She has also published more than fifty essays on women's literature and on 19th and 20th C. literary, cultural, and film history in scholarly journals and collections.

In 2006, she has two articles forthcoming (in the journals Literature and Film Quarterly and Victorian Literature and Culture), as well as five essays--on topics ranging from women and military rape, to British antisemitism, to the Victorian writers "Vernon Lee" and Oscar Wilde-- in collections to be published by Palgrave/Macmillan, Rivendale Press, New York University Press, Rutgers University Press, and the University of Delaware Press."

Hope to see you there!

Lee Hobbs, ABD
Editor-in-chief, ESLemployment Publications
Blog: http://www.english-blog.com

*For the COMPLETE list of Industry Events mentioned on ESL-Lesson-Plan, click HERE!

**For more English Language-Related Industry Events (literature, compositoin, etc.), see our sister blog's list HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at March 12, 2006 01:18 PM

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