Primavera 2002 Women's and Gender Studies Conference Begins at TAMIU

This year's Primavera 2002, sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Texas A&M International University, begins on Thursday evening on March 21.

Dr. Deborah Blackwell, A&M International assistant professor of history and coordinator of the event, said the conference will allow researchers to share their findings with colleagues and consider new ideas.

"The conference's theme, 'Masculinities and Femininities', will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to discuss the ways in which gender shapes human experience," said Dr. Blackwell, "Gender studies is one of the most exciting and cutting-edge areas of scholarship today, and we are honored to have so many people coming to Laredo to participate in Primavera. Based on the high quality of the proposals submitted by the participants, this promises to be a fascinating and thought-provoking three days."

Blackwell said the community is invited to join the participants at Primavera for all or part of the conference and several events are free.

"We want to invite the Laredo community to come and consider these topics with us. I think people will find them quite interesting and will enjoy hearing so many different perspectives," said Blackwell.

The first free event is the opening reception for the conference at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center Ballroom. University of Michigan professor Susan Douglas, author of several books, including Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, will be the guest speaker. Dr. Douglas will be signing copies of her book afterwards, and A&M International's Mariachi Internacional will be performing. This event is free and open to the public.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, March 22, the public is invited to the artists' reception for "New Images: M/F" and the Brindis por la mujer at the Laredo Center for the Arts.

Janet Krueger, assistant professor and curator of the show, explained the thematic ideas behind the exhibit.

"Each of the artists is involved in an exploration of the relationship between our culture and our understanding of the idea of gender - what it means to be male or female in our time. In this sense then, the title of the exhibit evolved. These are not images of the corporeal man or woman, they are images of ideas: mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter and ultimately, self," explained

Dr. Kati Pletsch de García, associate professor and organizer of the Brindis, said that the event will celebrate women from throughout the area.

"The Brindis por la mujer celebrates women on both sides of the U.S./México border, and is intended to bring women together from diverse educational backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups and professional experiences," she said, "This year, Patricia Keck, wife of A&M International president Ray Keck, and a loyal supporter of the arts, will be our mistress of ceremonies. Donna Lednicky, director of the Hecho en Encinal Project, and Guadalupe Bello, publisher and editor of Cariátides, an art literature magazine published in Nuevo Laredo, will be our honorees."

This event is free and open to the public.

The closing event of the conference, a luncheon and lecture, is also open to the public. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, March 23 in the new Student Center Ballroom. Dr. Judith Newton, of the University of California at Davis, will discuss "The Politics of Feeling: Men, Masculinity and Mourning at Ground Zero." The luncheon begins at 12:30 p.m. and the cost for the lunch buffet is $14 per person. A&M International's Classical Spanish Ballet will perform during lunch.

For anyone wishing to attend the whole conference, a registration fee of $50 in advance or $60 on-site covers all events, including lunch on Friday and Saturday.

For more information about the Primavera 2002 Women's and Gender Studies Conference or specific events, please contact Dr. Blackwell at 326.2628, visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 435G or email her at dblackwell@tamiu.edu. A complete listing of conference events is also available on the Internet at: http://www.tamiu.edu/~jnorris/panels.html. University Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu