Towson University Women's Studies

CFP–Global Discourses in Women’s Studies
August 24, 2010, 5:17 pm
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Below is a call for papers for a conference in March, 2011 outside of Nashville, TN.  The conference theme is “Global Discourses in Women’s and Gender Studies,” and it is hosted by Middle Tennessee State University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

*Theme*:  Global Discourses in Women’s and Gender Studies
*Location:*  Middle Tennessee State University Campus (30 miles from Nashville)
*Date: * March 24-26, 2011
*Keynote Speaker: * Somaly Mam, Cambodian sex slave trade survivor and anti-human-trafficking activist. Mam was a 2006 CNN Hero and one of /Time Magazine/’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009. For more information, please go to
Proposal Description:*  We invite proposals for presentations on any topic on women’s and/or gender issues and debates from scholars, activists, non-profit professionals, and graduate students in all scholarly fields and disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, sciences, education, arts, design, business, and sports.

Given our conference theme, Global Discourses in Women’s and Gender Studies, we are very interested in presentations that provide feminist perspectives of the influence of global forces on women’s and/or gendered experience and that examine connections between local/national and global issues related to gendered existence.

We welcome a variety of presentation formats, such as individual paper presentations, panel sessions, round table discussions, performances, short films, and posters. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes, to be followed by questions and discussion. All proposals should meet the following criteria:

* 250-to 500-word description of presentation
* Brief bio
* Equipment request. Please be specific.

Proposals must be submitted by November 1, 2010 (notification by December 1, 2010)
Email proposals to:


CFP–motherhood & mothering
August 12, 2010, 7:42 am
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Below is a call for papers for the International Conference on Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency which will be held in Toronto next May.

250-word abstracts and 50-word bios should be sent to by October 1, 2010


Grounded in a long history, in which women activists, writers, and feminists focused much effort on strengthening the social, personal, and political power of mothers, current motherhood research and activism makes maternal empowerment one of the major goals of its work. Contemporary examinations and deployments of women’s power as mothers-and mothers’ power as women-seek to grant women greater authority, resources, and status so that they can adequately care for their children while living full and purposeful lives. The aim of this conference is to explore activism, advocacy, and agency by and on behalf of mothers from a variety of perspectives and in a multitude of contexts.

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Feminist Porn?
August 2, 2010, 12:38 pm
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Our Porn, Ourselves ( is a pro-porn blog that we recently discovered. The authors of this site argue that women watch and enjoy porn, and we shouldn’t feel shamed or guilty about it. They argue that identification as a feminist does not require one to be anti-porn. Our Porn, Ourselves‘ pro-porn perspective is a welcome addition to the obscenity/porn debates. They give readers current news, economic analyses, and access to activism opportunities.

Gail Dines is one of Our Porn, Ourselves‘ main targets. Dines is perhaps the most well-known anti-porn feminist, and has led the way in anti-porn activism. Dines will be coming to Towson next spring to talk about her new book, Pornland: How Porn Has Highjacked Our Sexuality. In Pornland, Dines claims that “rather than sexually liberating or empowering us, porn offers us a plasticized, formulaic, generic version of sex that is boring, lacking in creativity and disconnected from emotion and intimacy” (

The bloggers at Our Porn, Ourselves differentiate between anti-porn and anti-sex and give readers excellent counters to Dines’ critiques of porn culture. Sex educator Charlie Glickman is quoted on the blog. Glickman writes about the differences between anti-porn and anti-sex, arguing that although these two perspectives are often conflated, they do not have to be one and the same:

So why do I think that Dines’ strategies are sex-negative? Because she deliberately works to trigger disgust about a sexual practice in order to manipulate people into rallying to her call. Rather than opening up a dialogue about the real reasons that some porn is problematic or asking how the performers on the site feel about their experiences, she uses tactics that depend on and deepen sexual shame in order to sway people to her point of view. And that makes them sex-negative. Facefucking is not inherently abusive, violent, or misogynistic any more than intercourse is inherently respectful, pleasurable, or egalitarian. As with any sexual act, it’s a question of whether you want to do it, how you do it, and how you feel about it during it and afterward. When Dines makes it sound otherwise, she reinforces sex-negativity. It doesn’t really matter whether she deliberately chose this strategy or happened to discover its effectiveness by accident. (emphasis added)

I believe that Our Porn, Ourselves is a great challenge to Dines’ arguments, and gives readers access to an alternative viewpoint. As we prepare for Dines’ visit to Towson next March, we’ll be keeping you posted from both sides of the porn wars, and hope to encourage some  discussion around the issue.

Gail Dines article
July 27, 2010, 12:30 pm
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via WMST-L:

There is a new article in the Boston Globe about Gail Dines’ new book. This article, according to Dines, “shows just how divisive the [porm] issue is.”

Dines will be speaking at Towson in the spring of 2011

The Price of Pleasure?
July 8, 2010, 8:50 am
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Scholar Gail Dines will be coming to Towson University during the Spring semester to talk about her new book, Pornland. Her talk will be part of larger programming from the Women’s Studies Department on sex and sexuality. Below is the link to an interview she did talking about that book, as well as responses from women who perform in porn films. Please feel free to comment below!!

Ms. Magazine Interview