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Through Feminist Eyes

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Through Feminist Eyes, in collaboration with the Women's and Gender Studies Program in the Department of Sociology, is intended to provide additional opportunities for undergraduate WGS students to engage feminist scholarship, specifically the breadth of feminist scholarship taking place at Virginia Tech. This program is offered in the Fall of each year. Check out the exciting fall line-up below!

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation for any of the upcoming TFE seminars, please call 540-231-7806 during regular business hours and prior to the event.

Thank you to our Fall 2022 Speakers!

Through Feminist Eyes

All sessions held at 7-8PM in-person at Fralin Auditorium and remotely via Zoom

September 21, 2022
Amanda Demmer, Department of History
The 1989 Humanitarian Operation: Khuc Minh Tho, Ginetta Sagan, and US-Vietnamese Normalization 

Abstract: This talk explores the intersection of migration, war, and feminist scholarship using the Humanitarian Operation (HO). The HO was a 1989 agreement between the United States and Vietnam that allowed for the migration of former reeducation camp detainees and their “close family members” to the United States. The Program was the result of a decade of transnational activism and advocacy spearheaded by two women, Khuc Minh Tho and Ginetta Sagan. Tho was herself a Vietnamese refugee who cofounded and headed the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA), one of the most powerful Vietnamese American NGOs in the country. Sagan, a former political prisoner who became a leading figure in Amnesty International, also began her own organization, the Aurora Foundation, to advocate for those outside of Amnesty’s mandate, including Vietnamese reeducation camp detainees. Tho and Sagan assembled and disseminated the information that underwrote the US commitment to the HO. In so doing they exerted a definitive influence over US foreign relations, helped shape the US response to the Vietnamese diaspora, and contributed to US-Vietnamese normalization. 

October 12, 2022
Audrey Reeves, Department of Political Science
Refugee Women, Peace and Security: Migrant Activism, Agency, and Voice 

Abstract: This article examines how refugee and other migrant women resettled in Europe influence security governance and knowledge in European governments and at the United Nations. We document migrant women’s activism and collaboration with policymakers in relation to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, a global assemblage of policy, legislation, and advocacy grown out of women’s activism at the UN Security Council. We argue that the WPS framework offers both opportunities and constraints for migration activism. Refugee and migrant women successfully use the agenda to unsettle stereotypes of passivity and voicelessness. However, activists navigate expectations of peacefulness, consensual dialogue, and heteronormative femininity. 

November 9, 2022
Selene Diaz, Department of Sociology
Title: Visual Sociology: Images and Narratives about Social Identification by the Rarámuri in Ciudad Juárez

Abstract: Since the Mexican nation's creation, the government and mass media posited the Rarámuris as isolated from civilization. However, Rarámuris in the Sierra Tarahumara do not identify as isolated. On the contrary, they identify as walking the mountains every day because it connects them with their ancestors and worldview (Martínez, 2016). However, how do the Rarámuri who walk along the asphalt trails of Ciudad Juárez (re)build their social identity? This research aims to understand how the Rarámuri in Ciudad Juárez (re)construct their social identity by examining photographs taken by Rarámuris. Using visual sociology paired with feminist ethnography, I discern social identification processes by the Rarámuri in Ciudad Juárez. Using narratives based on city pictures allows the Rarámuri to reflect on their experiences about life in Ciudad Juárez. I find that downtown Ciudad Juárez is a place that increases the experiences of discrimination. However, living in both colonias Tarahumaras and being part of the artisans helps them mitigate the stigma of the imaginary indigenous and reconstruct their social identity by creating strong bonds of solidarity and pride obtained through community work.