Mary Beth Edelson

Mary Beth Edelson Download Photo Here

February 22, 2010

SIUC to celebrate Women’s History Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Looking Back and Moving Forward” is the theme for the Women’s History Month celebration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in March.

Numerous events throughout the month celebrate women -- their history, their present and their future. Paving the way for the commemoration was a March 8, 1867, protest staged by women in New York City factories over working conditions, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909 but not until 1981 did Congress establish National Women’s History Week, expanded in 1987 to a month-long celebration. Census numbers indicate that by last October 2009 there were 155.8 million women and 151.8 million men in the U.S.

“Women’s History Month is important because it adds to the cultural and educational experience of the members of the SIUC community. The knowledge gained through the exhibits, workshops, discussions and other programs help to create a more informed and socially aware individual and community where gender and differences are looked upon with respect and acknowledged and utilized as the path and not the obstacle to fostering excellence,” said Carl W. Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

One of the pioneers of the feminist art movement, internationally known artist Mary Beth Edelson, will be the featured speaker. She will also direct a performance art workshop and lead workshop participants in a performance art piece, “Making Eye Contact: A Performance” on the SIUC campus. Since the 1970s, Edelson has challenged pre-existing artistic representations of women and recreated them in her own way. For more information about Edelson and her activities at the University March 1-3, look online at

Throughout March there will also be a variety of panel discussions, guest speakers, films and much more in honor of Women’s History Month. The ever- popular “Vagina Monologues” returns and acclaimed author Audrey Petty will share her work. And that’s just a sample of what SIUC is offering for Women’s History Month 2010.

The schedule, with all Women’s History Month 2010 activities free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, includes:

Monday, March 1

• “Making Eye Contact: Performance, Pictures and All the Rest,” a lecture featuring acclaimed artist and early feminist art movement organizer Mary Beth Edelson, 7 p.m., John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library.

Tuesday, March 2

• Performance Art Workshop led by Edelson, 12:30-3 p.m., Allyn Building, Room 102. Those who attend the workshop can then participate the following day in a performance art production on campus. She’ll issue certificates to participants in the workshop and performance.

• V-Day 2010: “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer,” 8 p.m., Kleinau Theatre in the Communications Building. This evening features a collection of monologues by well-known authors and playwrights and the theme is ending violence against women and girls. Special guests from The Women’s Center, Inc. will attend. The center is the primary beneficiary of the 2010 V-Day events while some funding will also go to international V-Day efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tickets for this benefit are $5 and you can buy them at the door.

Wednesday, March 3

• “Making Eye Contact: A Performance,” noon-1 p.m. Mary Beth Edelson directs the performance art as participants make eye contact with those around them, connecting visually and watching the results. Ron Coulter, percussion lecturer for the School of Music, is providing the original soundtrack that will resound from the Pulliam Clock Tower audio system as the performance moves about campus.

Thursday, March 4

• “The Ella Effect,” 7 p.m., Student Health Center Auditorium. The Progressive Masculinities Mentors (PMM) will lead this celebration of the life of civil rights activist Ella Josephine Baker. Derrick L. Williams, from his doctoral dissertation, shares about the significance of Baker’s work, her leadership, her mentoring efforts for the largest student-led civil rights organization, the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, and its efforts following the 1960s lunch counter sit-ins. Williams is violence prevention coordinator for the Student Health Center-Wellness and leader of PMM.

Monday, March 15

• “Vagina Friendly Transpoetic: A Spoken Word Open Mic,” 10 p.m., Tres Hombres, 119 N. Washington St., Carbondale. The local artist collaboration, The Bureau of Artistic Resources Corporation, presents an open microphone night with V-Day inspiration. Donations go to The Women’s Center.

Tuesday, March 16

• Women’s Studies Tribute: Reception for Joan McDermott, director of Women’s Studies, 1-3 p.m., Old Main Lounge at the Student Center. McDermott is retiring in 2010 and this reception celebrates Women’s Studies and what she has done for the program.

Wednesday, March 17

• “1800 Miles: Striving to End Sexual Violence One Step at a Time,” an evening with author Joshua Phillips, 6-7 p.m., Alumni Lounge at Student Recreation Center. Phillips is a community activist, advocate for social justice, creative change artist and speech communication lecturer who turned walking into a statement and a cause as well as an inspirational book about how you can be the change you want to see in the world. He’ll share how to stand up and make an impact.

Thursday, March 18

• “Greatest Hits: Domestic Violence in American Country Music,” 12:15-1 p.m., Lesar Law School Auditorium. This event from the Women’s Law Forum is an enjoyable and melodious look at a serious topic -- violence in country music.

• Film, “Sin by Silence: Prison is Safer Than the Love of Your Life,” 7 p.m., Student Health Center Auditorium. The Southern Illinois Sisterhood and PMM take a look at domestic violence and women in prison, highlighted by viewing a documentary focusing on the problems of domestic violence and ladies housed at the oldest California women’s prison. The prison’s inmates created and led the first anti-domestic violence group of its kind in the country.

Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20

• V-Day 2010: “The Vagina Monologues,” 7:30 p.m., McLeod Theatre at Communications Building. The acclaimed Eve Ensler production explores women’s sexuality, body image and gender violence via an assortment of powerful monologues -- some heartbreaking and others amusing. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door and proceeds go primarily to The Women’s Center, Inc. along with international V-Day efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sunday, March 21

• “Long Hair Don’t Care,” 6:30-8 p.m., Grinnell Hall Lower Level. It starts with a screening of the Chris Rock funny documentary “Good Hair” and includes a panel of educated women from a variety of backgrounds discussing the politics of hair, including what’s considered good and bad hair, how hair defines a woman and the far-reaching influence hair has.

Tuesday, March 23

• Dialoguing Dissertations and Dinner: An Event for Female Scholars, 5-7 p.m., Old Main Lounge on the second floor of the Student Center. With a panel of all female faculty from assorted disciplines, it’s an evening including dinner, discussion, networking and sharing of resources. Seating is limited so women should RSVP by March 17 by calling Student Development at 618/453-5714 and noting your name and program of study.

Wednesday, March 24

• “Celebrating Scholarship By and About Women 2010” is a series of events including:

--- Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Ballroom B on second floor of Student Center. Fundraiser for American Association of University Women (AAUW) Scholarships, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Women’s Studies scholarships. Michelle Hughes Miller will serve as emcee.

--- Panel Presentation, 1-3 p.m., Student Center Ballroom A, the 2009 Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Grant recipients will make presentations about their work with M. Joan McDermott as emcee.

--- University Women’s Professional Advancement Student Poster Session, 1-5 p.m., Corker Lounge on Student Center’s second floor.

--- Awards Ceremony and Reception, 3-5 p.m., Ballroom A, the AAUW and Women’s Studies present scholarships with opening remarks from Prudence M. Rice, associate vice chancellor for research and director of ORDA, and M. Joan McDermott as emcee. A reception follows in the Corker Lounge.

• “Up South, Southside: Girlhood in the Promised Land -- A Collection of Essays about Identity, Family, Food and Place,” 7 p.m., Ballroom B at Student Center. Audrey Petty, award-winning author and associate professor and director of the English department’s creative writing program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will talk of her current project, an oral history of the Chicago Housing Authority’s high-rise housing projects. Readers of the Crab Orchard Review and Cimarron Review have enjoyed Petty’s work and she is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and the Hewlett Foundation. She also won a residency at the Hedgebrook Colony, the Tennessee Williams Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Richard Soref Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Thursday, March 25

• 90 Years: What the Vote has Meant to American Women, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Faner Hall, Room 3075. Emily Carroll, Laura Hatcher and Lia Rohr lead a roundtable discussion courtesy of the political science department regarding how the right to vote has affected American women.

• “Steeling the Heart: Women Turning the Tides During WWII,” 8 p.m., Communications Building, Kleinau Theatre. This presentation examines wartime contributions of women both in and outside of the military. The performance tells of women as they enlisted for the first time in the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). It’s an exploration of gender relations, industrialization, class, race, and war and peace through narratives from WWII women. Admission is $5 for students or $7 for general admission.

Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27

• “Steeling the Heart: Women Turning the Tides During WWII,” repeat performances at 8 p.m., Communications Building, Kleinau Theatre. (See details above.)

Saturday, March 27

• Women’s Self Defense Class, 10 a.m.-noon, Student Recreation Center, martial arts room. Officer Jerry Nuss of the public safety department will teach women self-defense techniques.

Sunday, March 28

• Delicacies: Amending the Image of Woman, 6-8 p.m., Communications Building, Moe Lab Theater. The showcase of music, poems, monologues, skits and dances will entertain, educate, and enhance appreciation of women. There’s no required cover but organizers request a donation of $3 or more with all proceeds donated to Relay for Life.

Monday, March 29

• Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest Ceremony, 4 p.m., Student Center Auditorium. The awards ceremony recognizes the six winners of the annual Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest. Featured is a poetry reading by competition judge Lee Ann Roripaugh, poet and English associate professor at the University of South Dakota.

• Gendered Violence and the Black Female Body: The Public Pedagogy of “Crazy Mike Tyson,” 6-7:30 p.m., Student Center, Missouri/Kaskaskia rooms. This is a thought-provoking study of former boxing champion Mike Tyson, his conviction for sexually assaulting Desiree Washington, and how the pubic perceives, excuses, and defines sexual assault and the assailant as well as the implications and recent acts of gender violence.

Wednesday, March 31

• What I’ve Learned From My Momma, 7-8 p.m., Student Health Center Auditorium. Member of PMM, some the offspring of single mothers, will share their stories and of the life lessons they’ve learned about women, society and themselves.

Sponsors of Women’s History month include Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, Women’s Studies, Africana Theatre Lab, American Association of University Women, Black Togetherness Organization, Black Affairs Council, Black Women’s Task Force, Creative Writing Program and English department, and the political science, pubic safety and speech communication departments. Also, Delta Phi Mu Sorority, Inc., the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor, Progressive Masculinities Mentors, Saluki Single Parent Program, School of Art and Design Visiting Artist Program, Student Health Service-Wellness Center, The Bureau of Artistic Resources Corporation, University Women’s Professional Advancement, V-Day Task Force and Women’s Law Forum.

For more information about Women’s History Month 2010, contact Women’s Studies at 618/453-5141 or Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Service at 618/453-5714. Or look online at