WGU Celebrates Women’s History Month with Online Lecture Series

Womens Suffrage Picket

The WGU General Education Social Science team is marking Women's History Month 2014 with a four-week series of presentations and panel discussions, and you're invited!

Panels will cover a wide range of topics—from The Hunger Games to 17th-century sonnets, from African-American women who made America great to women in science, and from feminist geography to the voices of imprisoned women.

Check out the schedule below, and mark your calendars to plan on attending the panels you're interested in. Then, on the day and time of the event, visit wgu.adobeconnect.com/womenshistorymonth and call into 1-855-810-8948, participant code 959838#.

Women's History Month panel schedule:

Wednesday, March 5, 3 p.m. MT – "International Women's Day"

Featuring presenters Sharla Chittick and Katherine Douglas, Course Instructors from WGU's Social Sciences courses, will discuss the history behind International Women's Day and the challenges and successes women have experienced around the world. International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, celebrates the social, political, and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas where further action is still needed.

Tuesday, March 11, 12 noon MT – "May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor: Humanist Pageantry, Gender Performance, and the 21st-Century Heroine"

Teachers College Course Instructors Kim Cohen, Jennifer Randonis, and General Education Course Instructor Susanne Goethals will explore several thematic questions that the Hunger Games film and novel franchise raise for modern readers and viewers: How does the use of pageantry, costumes, and Roman allusions function symbolically within the text? How does Katniss develop as a "mockingjay" for modern readers looking to find more depth in their heroines? What cultural shifts have allowed her to emerge? How can we best understand Katniss' performance of gender, and what makes such a performance credible in the 21st century?

Wednesday, March 12, 5:30 p.m. MT – "Princess Lady, Illegitimate, Bastard, Survivor, Virgin, Queen"

Program Mentor Lori Hawker will host this presentation about Elizabeth I. It will address her troubled youth, her many stepmothers, her imprisonment, her accession to the throne, and her major accomplishments. The presentation will include videos and games!

Thursday, March 13, 10 a.m. MT – "Mary (Sidney) Wroth: Literary and Political Life in Jacobean England"

Course Instructor Craig Brewer will introduce you to Mary Wroth, one of the most interesting 17th-century writers you've never heard of. Her life was just as interesting as her massive multi-volume romance sonnets. She was the first woman to write a prose romance in English, which also got her into trouble at King James' court.

Friday, March 14, 10 a.m. MT – "African-American Women Who Made America Great"

WGU faculty members Mo Nathan and Deborah Long celebrate the women whose contributions to the civil rights movement were essential but are often overlooked or under-appreciated.

March 17-19: Three-part series: "Giving Credit Where Due: Case Studies of Women in Science"

Women in science in the early- to mid-20th century were opening doors to academic careers, where their contributions to astronomy, medicine, and other sciences furthered their fields in important ways but were rarely acknowledged or celebrated. Learn about their work from several of the women who are part of WGU's science faculty:

  • Panel 1, 1900-1960: March 17, 11 a.m. MT– Alison Lockman (astrophysics), Kate Porter (earth sciences), Kelly Thrippleton-Hunter (biology)
  • Panel 2, 1960-2000: March 18, 11 a.m. MT– Angela Nelson (biology), Bonnie Brown (environmental science), and Jill Nugent (biology)
  • Panel 3, 2000-today: March 19, 12 noon MT– Amanda Grunden (biology), Gina Buss (biology), and Suzanne Metlay (earth and space sciences)

Wednesday, March 19, 3 p.m. MT – "Women Writers of the Middle Ages: Marie de France, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pizan"

Course Instructor Lisa Lettau will briefly cover the work of these four fascinating female writers of the Middle Ages.

Friday, March 21, 12 noon MT – "From the Front Row to the Front Lines: Female Geographers and the Mainstreaming of Feminist Geographies"

Throughout the 20th century, the role of women in geography underwent a powerful transformation. This presentation, from Program Mentor Erinn P. Nicley, will examine early female pioneers in geography before turning to the rise of new female voices and perspectives from the 1980s to the present. Specifically, it will discuss the development of both geographic research on gender and the more recent emergency of feminist geographic theories and perspectives.

Tuesday, March 25, 10 a.m. MT – "Muses Unbound: Women Finding Voice in and through Their Imprisonment"

Faculty members Laura Card, Lorna Condit, and Jill Zasadny will highlight several "Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment" whose stories reveal the transforming power of art and imagination. Mine Okubo was a Japanese-American artist who, while interned in a World War II camp, taught art and served as art editor for the camp's literary journal. Lady Constance Lytton (alias Jane Warton) was repeatedly imprisoned as a British suffragette. Her compelling memoir "Prisons and Prisoners" impacted both the suffrage and prison reform movements. And the 19th-century factory girls who wrote poetry while they worked found a way to voice their experience and find hope, even in the midst of despair.

Tuesday, March 25, 3 p.m. MT – "Teaching Women's History"

WGU Teachers College Mentor Elise Fillpot and Catherine Denial, Associate Professor of History at Knox College, will share strategies for teaching women's history in elementary and post-secondary classrooms.

Wednesday, March 26, 1 p.m. MT – "English Women and the British Empire in the Early 20th Century"

Course Instructor Jennifer Lauren will discuss the role English women played in the British Empire in the early 20th century, exploring both how they participated in its propagation and maintenance and how they were simultaneously inscribed by the Empire as markers of the English nation and of its perceived racial purity. This presentation will address how novelists Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, and Sylvia Townsend Warner embed these ideas in their novels.

Thursday, March 27, 3 p.m. MT – "Teaching Women's History"

Teachers College Course Instructor Dorothy Blanks will share her middle school readers' theater lessons centered on four women who won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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