News and notes from the WGS program @ Fairfield

Archive for September, 2012

The Sound of Silence and the Resurrection of the Hottentot Venus: Abdellatif Kechiche’s “La Vénus Noire”

Next Wednesday, October 3 at 5:15pm, Dr. Eloise Brière, Professor at SUNY-Albany, Specialist of African & Caribbean Studies will present “The Sound of Silence and the Resurrection of the Hottentot Venus” at the DiMenna-Nyselius Library.  This will be a fascinating lecture and of interest to the WGS faculty and students!

“In our postcolonial age, the story of the Hottentot Venus has special relevance for those from former colonies whose peoples were subjected to Europe’s pathologizing gaze. Caught between the pre-Darwinian drive to determine the place of humans on the evolutionary scale and the European public’s insatiable appetite for the exotic and strange, Sara Baartman, a subaltern black woman was brought from South Africa to Europe in 1810 to be displayed in freak shows as well as in genteel drawing-rooms for Europeans to view her disproportionate buttocks and genitalia. Silenced by the voices of her keepers as well as by that of France’s most authoritative scientist, Georges Cuvier, Sara became the site of scientific speculation as the missing link between lower primates and homo sapiens.  The Tunisian filmmaker, Abdellatif Kechiche, born four years after his country’s independence from France, could not fail to hear Saartje Bartman’s silence. The presentation will discuss how Kechiche fills in the blanks of history to resurrect Saartje Baartman, whose European odyssey ended in 2002 when the French government allowed her remains to be returned to South Africa.”

City of Westminster Archive Center, London/Bridgeman Art Library
“Sartjee, the Hottentot Venus, Now Exhibiting in London, Drawn From Life,” read the caption on this engraving, circa 1810.

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R.A.D. Training Available to Students and Staff at Fairfield University

With the seriousness and unfortunate frequency of campus rape in the United States, we encourage individuals to check out R.A.D. training available on campus in October.

R.A.D. is the largest women’s self defense training network in the United States and Canada, and is the only self defense program endorsed by the IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators). This is a 16-hour “hands-on” course which meets or exceeds all National Coalition Against Sexual Assault guidelines. Its objective is to “develop and enhance the options of self defense so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked.”

Dates of instruction are Tuesday and Thursday, October 16 and October 18, and Tuesday and Wednesday, October 23 and October 24, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Barone Campus Center Oak Room. Participants must attend all four sessions. Seats are limited; you can reserve your space by contacting Frank Ficko at or Sergeant Rob Didato at This course is being offered at no charge.

For more information on campus rape, check out

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A Year Ago Today: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Came to an End

Twelve months ago today, the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed and the LGBT community was allowed to openly serve in the community.

The Huffington Post has published an article in honor of this first anniverasry, featuring 25 historic moments related to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” occurring in the last 12 months.  Check it out here: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ One-Year Repeal Anniversary: 25 Amazing Moments


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Quick Center Presents Lesley Stahl “Inside 60 Minutes”

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts opens its 2012-2013 signature lecture series, Open VISIONS Forum, with legendary broadcast journalist and co-editor of 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.   Lesley Stahl was one of the first female television reporters. Ms. Stahl was first hired at CBS News in 1972, the same day that affirmative action was passed. She entered an industry that was male-dominated, but strove to make a name for herself.

The award-wining journalist’s lecture is entitled “Inside 60 Minutes.” Following Lesley Stahl’s presentation, there will be an informal conversation and discussion with Professor Philip Eliasoph, OVF moderator, and Dr. James Simon, a former Associated Press reporter who created the journalism program at Fairfield University. Single tickets are $45.

With humorous and poignant anecdotes, Stahl relives her two decades of covering the White House during the Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush presidencies, and then viewing government as an “outsider” as co-editor of 60 Minutes. She details how news is gathered, and offers her insights on the major news stories she covered, including Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis, and Iran-Contra. She also warns that now more than ever, the media controls what is news and how the industry is and is not handling that responsibility.


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Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons plans for a busy academic year!

Today we met with Fairfield University juniors, Rachel Lang and Astrid Quinones to talk to them about the Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons (GSSC).

Last year, Lang, Quinones and others found it necessary to claim a space to create and foster and all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities, and thus established the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC). In the process of creating this space, they collaborated with the Diversity Office, Women’s Studies Department, and clubs such as Alliance and Sisters Inspiring Sisters to build bridges across student groups with common interests and between students and academic department. Physically, the space acts as a central location for clubs to have meetings, discussions, and to network for events both inside and beyond Fairfield University to combat injustice.  The GSSC is located at 70 McCormick, room 123 and is open to students around the clock.

The GSSC will be busy this semester organizing events in connection with LGBTQ Month in October and a film screening and discussion in November about sexual assault in the military.  Last spring, the GSSC was active in organizing Women’s History Month through V-Day events, Take Back the Night and a Women’s Day Celebration, along with Fairfield’s own Gender Bender Ball.  2012’s theme for Women’s Day was empowerment, and raised awareness of the various issues we face and the things both men and women can do to empower others. Bringing together more student groups than ever, GSSC had student clubs, initiatives, and programs come to Women’s Day to present their passion in conjunction with the theme of empowerment.

Interested in becoming involved in the planning of this academic year’s events?  Come to 70 McCormick, room 123 to share your ideas on Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm.  If you can’t make it but have some ideas, please email or   

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Breaking the Stigmas and Silence:

A Conversation About Sexual Assault

The goal of this lecture and panel discussion is to create heightened awareness about the crime of sexual assault and to provide useful information to college-age women and men.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7 pm
Gonzaga Auditorium
Featured Presenters
Donna Palomba: Jane Doe No More Founder
Kristen Baumer, Tracy Digiovancarlo, Kate Costabile: Sexual Assault Survivors
Gary MacNamara: Chief of Police, Fairfield P.D.
Kerry Dalling: Detective, Fairfield P.D.
Rachel Lang: Fairfield University Student; Gender, Sex & Sexuality Commons
Julia Duffy: Director of Fairfield University Student Health Center

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Welcome back students, faculty and staff!

The campus is buzzing with activity as we kick off a new semester here at Fairfield University.  Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies will be sponsoring a number of great events this fall so stay tuned!  Whether this is your first or fifth semester on campus, check out our list of student resources and groups at .

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