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Women's Studies: Pioneering in Scholarship, Activism, and Internationalization since 1970

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Feminist Research Colloquia

The department hosts a monthly Feminist Research Colloquium that provides a platform for discussion of ongoing research in Women's Studies scholarship. Offered each semester, the Colloquia bring together scholars from SDSU and visiting faculty from across the US and abroad. Each academic year a theme is selected, and the invited scholars present their expertise on subjects within this area. In addition, each semester we invite SDSU and Women's Studies faculty to present their conference papers to highlight their research and encourage our students.

The Bread and Roses Center of the Department of Women’s Studies announces our Feminist Colloquium Series for the 2013/2014 Academic Year: “Science, Sexuality, and Health.”

Spring 2014--Coming up in Spring, Women's Studies will present several colloquia and other events.  Please return to this page for details and flyers.

February 12
Faculty Brown Bag: Dr. Susan Cayleff

The Bread and Roses Center of the Department of Women’s Studies, the Department of American Indian Studies, the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department, and SDSU’s Common Experience present

March 11,2014
Water, Sovereignty, and Social Justice: Honoring International Women’s Day
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Theatre of San Diego State University’s Aztec Student Union

There is a long history of working to address Indigenous tribal rights to water: protecting all waters that support physical and cultural continuation; sustaining traditional practices, resources and access; understanding and respecting tribal ecological knowledge; applying tribal knowledge and native science to ensure successful water and land stewardship; and supporting habitat and ecological health. Indeed, in 2012, the Peace and Dignity Journey from both tips of the northern and southern continent (Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) to Guatemala was reverentially dedicated to Water and raising consciousness about our social responsibility to protect it as a resource for everyone. As leaders, lawyers, teachers, healers, mothers, and cultural carriers, women are often at the forefront of these discussions and movements.

Please join us for a panel with Susan Williams (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) who will give the keynote, titled “Protection of Federal Indian Reserved Water Rights from an Indian Woman Lawyer's Perspective,” and local activist Elizabeth Pantoja who participated in the Peace and Dignity Journey dedicated to Water in 2012. We will also partially screen a film highlighting women's involvement in this Indigenous solidarity run produced by Sharah Nieto.

Bios of Contributors:

Susan Williams is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and is a graduate of Radcliffe College of Harvard University (B.A., Economics, Magna Cum Laude) and of Harvard Law School. Up until recently, she practiced law in New Mexico representing numerous Indian tribes on their water rights and other matters. She recently became the General Counsel for Hopi in Arizona. Indeed, she has represented Indian tribal governmental and commercial entities for more than thirty years. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School, she joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Kampelman, where she worked in the Indian Banking and Law Department. Her experience also includes serving as the first Executive Director of the Navajo Tax Commission in Window Rock and as its Chairperson in the late 70s. In addition to being a lecturer on Indian law and water rights at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools throughout the years, Ms. Williams has served, and continues to serve, on several boards and advisory committees on state-tribal relations, resource development and environmental protection. In 1989, she successfully argued the Big Horn case before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been a lead lobbyist in several successful Indian legislative efforts. Ms. Williams has impacted legislative amendments, including the one to treat Indian Tribes as states in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water and Indian Tribal Government Tax Status Act.

I am Elizabeth Pantoja, daughter of two strong migrant parents. I am a brown red earth womyn of Nahua, Purepecha, and Wixarica ascendancy. Raised in southbay San Diego, I am currently living in Tlamanalco Tucson, Arizona.
In 2012, the San Diego Peace and Dignity Committee sent three representatives from San Diego to run for our precious waters. I was one of them. We ran as Chaskies (messenger runners) every day, in an eight month Indigenous Ceremonial run known as the Peace and Dignity Journeys. We, and many more, helped carry the voice of many Indigenous nations and communities from Alaska, Tawantinsuyo (South America), Borinken (Puerto Rico), and Kiskeya (Dominican Republic) all the way to Guatemala. This was our effort to make their/our voices heard, our call to protect, save, restore, preserve, defend land, culture, existence and especially our precious WATERS from annihilation.

Desiring to contribute to raising awareness of the Peace and Dignity Journeys, teachers Sharah Nieto and Adriana Blanco documented Indigenous communities’ stories and songs and interviews with participants of the transcontinental run in 2012. As they describe for their grass roots kickstarter campaign: “Every four years, since 1992, Peace and Dignity Journey participants begin their voyage across the continent. Runners start simultaneously from both ends of the continent in Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina traversing the Western Hemisphere by foot, from community to community and, joining together for a final gathering in Guatemala. The 2012 run [was] dedicated to water, reminding those who have forgotten that water is an important and shared resource for all.” We will partially screen the film produced by Sharah Nieto.

View the 4/11 flyer (.pdf)

April 24, 2014
Scholarship Lecture: Dr. Dorothy Roberts on Criminal and Reproductive Justice
Location: Storm Hall West 011

Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Law School where she also holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander chair.

Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books includeFatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 80 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.

View the 4/24 flyer (.pdf)

April 25, 2014
Reproductive and Sexual Justice Workshop & Healing Circle

Facilitated by Dorothy Roberts, Luz Alvarez Martinez and members of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.

Engaging the knowledge, theories and practices developed by feminist women of color, this special one-day event explores reproductive and sexual health issues, such as abortion, contraception, HIV/STDs, intimate partner and state violence, and access to health care, as well as the need for holistic healing from discriminatory policies and oppressive social institutions.  It places these issues in the context of other social justice concerns, including economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ rights.  Our goals are to help build community and inspire activism, and to have participants use this knowledge within their own diverse communities. Drawing a culturally and sexually diverse audience of local community members, SDSU faculty, and about 65 students, this widely popular event emphasizes learning holistic, social justice approaches to reproductive and sexual wellbeing and taking this knowledge "home" with us to our families, workplaces, classrooms, and activist circles.

Register and learn more about the conference


Fall 2013

October 10, 2013 is National Coming Out Day


October 16, 2013 – Alondra Nelson "Sisters in Black Berets and White Coats: Engendering the Black Panther Party’s Health Politics"

Alondra Nelson is professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, she writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and inequality.

Location:  Love Library 430 @1-3pm

View the 10/16 event flyer (.pdf)

October 22, 2013- Malalai Joya "A Woman Among Warlords: Prospects for Afghan Women and Non-Intervention In Afghanistan"

Malalai Joya is an activist, writer, and a former politician from Afghanistan. She served as a Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 until early 2007 when she was dismissed for publicly denouncing the presence of what she considered to be warlords and war criminals in the Afghan Parliament.

Location: Nasatir Hall 100, 7-9pm

View the 10/22 event flyer (.pdf)


November 13, 2013 - Jennifer Terry “On Being Naked: the Curious History of Nudism in North American Lesbian Culture”

In 1932, a lesbian journalist who went by the name of Jan Gay, published On Going Naked, a book intended for popular audiences to promote the bodily and mental virtues of Freikopekultur (Free Body Culture) and Nacktukultur (Natural Culture). Gay’s work resonates within a larger cultural and historical context, dating from the early decades of the 20th century through the present, in which the appeal of being naked has been debated by women who regard themselves as desiring freedom from the oppressive conditions associated with modernity and male domination. This presentation critically examines the idealization of nudity in relation to race, class, gender, nation, empire, and the politics of embodiment.

Jennifer Terry is an associate professor of Women's Studies at the University of California at Irvine. Her research and teaching focuses on cultural studies of science and technology; formations of sexuality; critical approaches to modernity; and American studies in transnational perspective.

Location: Love Library 430, 1-3pm

View the 11/13 event flyer (.pdf)


For all events, please arrive early due to parking and limited seating.

Throughout the year the Department will hold smaller events including brown bag talks, workshops,  and other presentations.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Women’s Studies at


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