National Women's Studies Association 2017 Conference Highlights


NWSA's 2017 conference, 40 YEARS AFTER COMBAHEE: Feminist Scholars and Activists Engage the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), attracted more than 2,500 registrants together in Baltimore, MD from November 16-19, 2017. You'll find highlights from conference media coverage below.


NWSA Cultivates Belonging and Honors Irma McClaurin  Huffington Post

Drs. Barbara Ransby, NWSA President and Irma McClaurin, Honoree and Leadership Consultant
By Gina Athena Ulysse
With more than 2600 registrants, this conference was the second largest gathering since San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2014. It was also one of the most visibly diverse. The exchange from the telling allusion above is the reason that on Awards Night, activist anthropologist, Black feminist and award winning author, Dr. Irma McClaurin received a special award in recognition of pivotal work that led to this tremendous shift.
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The Ms. Q&A: Barbara Smith on Finding Hope in the Struggle Ms Magazine Blog
Barbara Smith
By Janell Hobson
The Combahee River Collective’s Black Feminist Statement turns 40 this year, along with the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). In honor of the anniversaries, the intersections of feminist academia and the movement for black lives is the central focus of this year’s NWSA Conference. Barbara Smith, co-founder of the Collective, talked to Ms. about its legacy in the feminist movement, intersectionality and identity politics and finding hope in the struggle.

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The Ms. Q&A: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza on Getting Intersectionality Right Ms Magazine Blog
Alicia Garza
By Janell Hobson
Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Alicia Garza is co-presenting at this year’s National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference with fellow feminist and prison abolitionist Angela Davis, launching a weekend of conversations about the intersections of feminism and racial justice activism and academia as both NWSA and the historic Combahee River Collective Statement celebrate their 40th anniversaries.
Garza, who has been organizing for over two decades for police accountability, labor rights and environmental justice, among other issues, talked to Ms. to mark the occasion about the importance of activism and urgency of organizing in our current political climate.

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Why is Police Brutality Against Women So Often Overlooked?  The Real News Network
Mary Hooks
By Taya Graham
The debate over the impact of police brutality on black lives has been informed by a glaring omission, the toll racist law enforcement has taken on Women of Color. At the National Women's Studies Conference this weekend in Baltimore, scholars and students gathered to correct the record.

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Q & A with Andrea Ritchie How Neoliberal Law Enforcement Policies Broke Black Communities by Targeting Women The Real News Network

Andrea Ritchie
By Taya Graham
"I think one thing to know is that Black women and trans women, including trans women, are targeted by policing in many of the same ways that Black men are, and so for instance here in Baltimore Black women make up 71% of the arrests of women in total, which is a very similar rate of racial dispersity as Black men. Anywhere we're looking, where we're seeing policing of Black men, the same thing is happening to Black women."

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Fighting Censorship … With Trigger Warnings Inside Higher Ed
By Nick Roll
For Spampinato, using trigger warnings and establishing the classroom as a safe space is a way to promote more conversation and bring more people into discussions on feminism and related topics. During the panel, her definition of a safe space wasn’t a classroom that called for censorship, or a place where no one would be offended, but rather a classroom where “if you are offended, you will feel comfortable explaining why and sharing your feelings.”

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Courtesy of the National Women's Studies Association.