Women Studies program celebrates 35 years with panel discussion

By Lisa Linsley

This afternoon at 2 p.m., panelists from the University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College will hold a discussion titled “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

The panelists are a part of the Feminist Foundations/Feminist Futures Series, which contains a number of events put on by the UMass women, gender and sexuality studies program to commemorate its 35 years, which has recently been renamed from “women’s studies” after debate and discussion. The change in name took place due to the fact that the field of study encompasses more than the analysis of women; rather, women’s studies focuses on the interlocking formations of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, class and sexuality.

The Feminist Foundations/Feminist Futures panels and events discuss these changes and topics.

“Every year, the program hosts a series called ‘Feminist Foundations’ which explores the field of women, gender and sexuality studies,” said Banu Subramaniam, associate professor in the UMass women, gender and sexuality studies department.

The series is designed to be a retrospective and reflective exploration of the field, structured around four famous and foundational quotes. One is a quote by Audre Lorde, a legendary black feminist poet and theorist. In her famous essay, “Can the Master’s Tools Dismantle the Master’s House?” she explores questions of change and what is possible in working within systems, using the theories and tools of institutionalized structures of power.

“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” lecture reflects on feminism and activism since the 1970s when the UMass women’s studies program was created. The panel will include speakers from various Hampshire and UMass departments, including associate professor Alexandrina Deschamps from the UMass women, gender and sexuality studies department, professor Sonia Alvarez from the UMass political science department, Shelly Perdomo, director of diversity programs in the UMass engineering minority program, assistant professor Diana Yoon from the UMass legal studies department and professor Margaret Cerullo from Hampshire College’s school of social sciences.

The event is open to the public and is free admission. It will take place in Bartlett Hall room 61, from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

 Lisa Linsley can be reached at [email protected].