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Gender Studies In The 21st Century: Perspectives, Visions And Possibilities

The 5th annual Mona Academic Conference to be held from August 29 to 31 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona will have as its theme Gender in the 21st Century: Perspectives, Visions and Possibilities and will feature a variety of presentations that will serve to challenge or confirm popular theories and beliefs about a range of issues relating to Gender in the Caribbean and other societies.

The conference, to be held in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Social Sciences, is being organised by the Centre for Gender and Development Studies, UWI. Sponsored by the Office of the Principal, the conference commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Centre and the institutionalization of Gender Studies at The University.

Chair of the conference committee and of the Board of Undergraduate Studies at Mona, Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie, notes that over thirty interesting presentations will be made during the event. Presentations focus on some issues that may seem old but “presenters will be examining these in a new way” in light of new research, she explains. Issues such as masculinities and femininities in light of changing socialization, and the impact of globalization and other factors on gender identity will be areas of focus.

For example on Saturday, August 29, Professor Rhoda Reddock, Head of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS), UWI, St. Augustine Campus will examine this issue in a paper titled “Masculinities and Femininities: the Impact of Globalization on Cultural Representations” while Professor Carolyn Cooper, Lecturer in the Faculty Humanities and Education at Mona will examine issues of images and identities in a paper called Mama is that you?: Erotic Disguise in the Films Dancehall Queen and Babymother. Professor Errol Miller, Head of the Institute of Education at Mona will also re-examine the Male Marginalization Thesis he first developed in 1986. Dr. Orville Taylor Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Mona will also examine the Challenges of Gender and the Labour Market after 30 years of CARICOM.

Professor Leo-Rhynie explains that the conference will also examine issues of education and how this affects gender and identity. This will emerge from presentations on Sunday, August 31, by Dr Saskia Wieringa of the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague, who will examine Women and Development Studies at the ISS; and Dr. Eudine Barriteau, Head of the CGDS, UWI, Cave Hill Campus will also present a paper titled “Constructing Feminist Knowledge in the Commonwealth Caribbean in the Era of Globalisation.

Professor Barbara Bailey, Regional Coordinator of the CGDS adds that the nature of Gender Studies will also be under scrutiny at the conference, in papers such as Professor Leo-Rhynie’s Gender Studies: interdisciplinary and pedagogical challenges; as also CARICOM’s role in promoting gender equity in the region. She explains that the gender scholars in the region have played a central role in guiding policy decisions at the regional and international level. Professor Bailey will focus on these issues in her presentation titled The Caribbean Experience in the International Women’s Movement: Issues Process, Constraints, Opportunities on Sunday afternoon.

The conference’s opening ceremony on Friday, August 29 at the Undercroft, Senate Building at Mona will feature a keynote address by the Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley. Also slated to address the audience, which will include local, regional and international luminaries as well as new and returning students, will be Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, the Hon. Maxine Henry Wilson.

The public is invited to attend the conference which is free of cost. For more detailed information on the conference visit its website at www.mona.uwi.edu/notices/monaconf

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