Women’s Center 40th anniversary to include symposium
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 08:11
The Women’s Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary this weekend with an archival exhibit, dinner, alumni brunch and symposium.
The celebration will chronicle the history of the Women’s Center since its establishment in 1972, address the current state of affairs on campus and discuss the future of the center. The commemoration is co−sponsored by the Association of Tufts Alumnae, according to Director of the Women’s Center Steph Gauchel.
“My hope with the 40th anniversary is to highlight the past and current successes of the Women’s Center with attention to gender justice issues on campus in particular and to think about what the future of feminism and gender justice will look like,” she said.
The festivities will begin tomorrow at 5 p.m. with an archival display at the Slater Concourse Gallery titled “An Archive of Feminism: The 40th Anniversary of the Tufts Women’s Center.” The exhibition will feature photos, flyers, posters, letters and newspaper clippings from past Women’s Center events and initiatives, according to Staff Assistant at the Women’s Center Nino Testa.
“It’s cool to see a moment in Tufts history where things came and went, how things like that still happen today, and what our connection to them is,” Testa said.
The exhibit will be set up in a timeline format, starting in 1972 and ending in 2012, Testa said.
“It’s a really good visual way for guests to see how the Women’s Center came about ... and just sort of look for consistent themes across the years and see how the issues [have] changed in the past 40 years,” Gauchel said.
Following the unveiling of the exhibit, the 40th Anniversary Dinner at the Alumnae Lounge will feature speeches from Gauchel, former Director of the Women’s Center Peggy Barrett, Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Students John Barker and Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman.
Gauchel said that during her presentation she will focus on her own relationship with feminism, as well as the women’s rights issues that confront college campuses today.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be able to frame a bit of what the Women’s Center work has been since I’ve been here in 2008 and then talk about what the current mission of the center is,” Gauchel said.
Barrett, who served as the center’s director for 27 years, said she plans to discuss how the Women’s Center has changed since her time as director, explaining that women do not have as much reproductive freedom as they did back in the 1980s.
“I think the Women’s Center has changed because the conditions for women have changed,” she said. “Women’s rights have decreased over these past years. I think it really is great to be celebrating the Women’s Center these days because I think we need it more than ever.”
On Sunday morning, alumni at the center’s brunch will address how they have continued their commitment to various gender and social justice issues post−graduation. Students who attend the brunch will also have the opportunity to ask questions about life after college and network with alumni, according to Gauchel.
The two−day celebration will conclude with the Third Annual Women’s Center Symposium on Gender and Culture: Feminism 2052 at 1:30 p.m. in the Alumnae Lounge, Gauchel said.
During the symposium, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students will discuss the future of feminism in the next 40 years. Assistant Professor of Mathematics Moon Duchin will deliver the keynote address, titled “The Sexual Politics of Genius: Math, Art, Crime and War, Past and Future.”
In previous years, the symposium has been held on the Friday of the last week of classes before winter break in December, but Gauchel and the other Women’s Center staff members decided to hold the symposium with the other 40th anniversary events, Gauchel said.
“We thought it would be really great to group it in with the 40th anniversary celebration so people get a chance to look through the exhibit and see that it ends with the actual symposium and how it fits into the center’s whole history,” Testa said.