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Conference Set on “Reimagining Girlhood”

Conference Set on “Reimagining Girlhood”


Sharon Mazzerella, a leading researcher in the field of girls’ studies, will deliver the keynote address during SUNY Cortland’s international conference, “Reimagining Girlhood: Communities, Identities, Self-Portrayals,” from Friday, Oct. 22, to Sunday, Oct. 24.

Mazzerella, shown in the upper left photo, is the director of communication at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. She will speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Corey Union Function Room on the topic of “Beyond Girl Power: Girls’ Studies In and Out of the Academy.”

Hosted by the Women’s Studies Program at SUNY Cortland, the conference will include invited scholars, teachers, feminists, activists and girls of all ages. Presenters from universities in the U.S. and Canada, Switzerland, Scotland, Israel, New Zealand, Finland and Kenya will offer papers and give artistic presentations and workshops. Details about the conference are available at the conference website

Participants will address such topics as: what it means to be a girl, how girlhood is defined, how girls assert their identities in an increasingly mediated and consumerist culture, how they negotiate/navigate identities between genders, and how these girls are portrayed in contemporary society.

“The history of modern girlhood is entwined with anxieties about cultural norms and cultural change that are foundational to ‘girlhood’ and ‘girl culture,’” notes conference director Carolyn Kaltefleiter, an associate professor of communication studies at SUNY Cortland. “Over the last 15 years, girls’ studies scholarship has gained momentum inside and outside the domain of traditional women’s studies literature and academia.”

The conference also welcomes “zines,” self-published works of specific interest, presented in a variety of creative formats, from computer-printed text and comics to handwritten texts. Suggested “zine” topics for the conference include: Riot Grrl; feminism and activism; the do-it-yourself (DIY) revolution; music, art, pop culture and comics; environment and animal rights; and violence against women.

Catherine Ann Bertini
Catherine Ann Bertini

Conference speakers, and their presentations, include:

• Mary Celeste Kearney, associate professor of radio-television-film at the University of Texas at Austin, who will lead a participatory media workshop for girls from central New York;

• Catherine Ann Bertini, professor of public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and former director of the World Food Program, who will discuss the education of girls and economic development; and,

• Performance artists Lenelle Moïse, Pamela Means and Vanessa Torres, who will break up the seminars with entertainment.

Registrations will be accepted through the first two days of the conference. Cost including meals is $140; without meals it is $80. A shuttle service to and from various hotels is available for an additional $25. To register, fill out the form on the conference website or contact the Women’s Studies Program at the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies, P.O. Box 2000, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY 13045-0900.

For more information, contact Judy K. C. Bentley, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of foundations and social advocacy, at  (607) 753-5415.