MU's Women's Studies Hosts April 6 Conference

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Women's Studies Program will host the biennial STAND for Women Conference on Saturday, April 6, at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in downtown Huntington.

Dr. Greta Rensenbrink, director of the Women's Studies Program and conference organizer, said the event was conceived as a conference about women and issues relevant to women's lives, and is intended for community members, activists, faculty and students.

With the theme "Weaving Communities, Crossing Boundaries," the works presented at the conference are an examination of the ways multiple identity positions shape and constrain women's experiences. Presentations at the conference will look at both the historical roots of women's activism and present-day activists. They also will examine the global context of women's lives, as well as the personal and political consequences of policies that affect women.

"Our conference committee has worked to bring together a diverse group of speakers and presenters, with a special emphasis on creating a dynamic and engaged place for students to present their work," Rensenbrink said. "We celebrate the contributions of new voices in academia and activism. The interdisciplinary perspective and diversity of participating voices promise an exciting and challenging event."

Weekend events for the conference actually kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, home of the Erickson Alumni Center, with a discussion by keynote speaker Dr. Heidi Hartmann. Hartmann is president of the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research and is an expert on issues of pay equity, fair housing and education. She will be speaking about the status of women in the United States and specifically in West Virginia. A reception will follow.

The opening session Saturday will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the conference will end at 5:30 p.m. At lunch, author Sue Williams Silverman will give a talk about her most recent book, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir," in which she explores how she found her own creative voice and why memoir can help lead to both personal and communal salvation.

The conference will end with a viewing of Blis Devault's 2011 documentary, "Roller Derby Queens," starting at 3:45 p.m. The film follows several veterans and one rookie skater from the Cincinnati Rollergirls team, exploring the many often-surprising dimensions of what derby means to the women involved. A panel discussion with members of the Jewel City Rollergirls, the local derby team, will take place after the film.

Seventy people representing six states (West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois) and Washington, D.C., are registered for the conference. Space is still available. Those who want to register can find registration forms and instructions on the Women's Studies website at For more information, contact Rensenbrink at

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