Emory Report
September 24, 2007
Volume 60, Number 5

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September 24, 2007
First-ever women’s forum to shine ‘a deserved light’ on scholars

By Laura Sommer

It’s a first for Emory. Next week hundreds of people will join together on Emory’s campus for a momentous occasion: the University’s first-ever women’s symposium. “Women at Emory: Past, Present, and Future” will recognize the academic and scholarly achievements of Emory women.

“We honor women in myriad ways, but I really wanted the symposium to be a vehicle for highlighting scholarship about women,” said symposium chair Nadine Kaslow, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “It is an invaluable forum for enhancing the intellectual climate at Emory.”

Organizers say the symposium will also honor those who have worked toward the advancement of women at Emory.

“The symposium is the first of its kind in terms of shining a deserved light on our women scholars and it also is unique in being one of the few events — outside the sort of programming done by the Center for Women — that can bring women campus-wide together in a way that can and should generate justifiable pride of achievement,” said Susan Carini, chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and executive director of Emory Creative Group.

The timing for the event is no accident. This year marks the PCSW’s 30th anniversary; the 15th anniversary of the Center for Women at Emory; and the 20th anniversary for the Department of Women’s Studies.

“It’s a stellar opportunity to look at where women have come from, where they are now, and what we might expect in the future. We don’t often get all three perspectives,” said Ali Crown, director of the Center for Women.

Lynne Huffer, professor and chair of Women’s Studies, concurs. “Women’s Studies as an academic field grew out of the women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s, and the concrete gains of that movement in the University will be acknowledged and celebrated at this event,” Huffer said.

The keynote address will be given by Nancy Cantor, president and chancellor of Syracuse University. Cantor was a natural choice to deliver the address, Carini explained.

“Cantor is known for being a provocative, respected spokesperson for the value of a diverse workforce. In her view, women, along with racial and ethnic minorities, are ‘our untapped talent pool,’” she said.

Symposium highlights will include a reading by Emory’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Natasha Trethewey; two plays that are reworkings of the Trojan Women and Iphigenia stories by feminist translator/writer Ellen McLaughlin; a work-life panel; and a women’s study plenary. Attendees will enjoy complimentary, nightly receptions, as well as breakfast and lunch on Oct. 5.

Men should also find the symposium to be of great value. “Boiled down to its essence, this symposium should inspire pride in Emory as an institution. The fact that all the presenters are women cannot and should not go unremarked; however, the larger pleasure and value of this event is the high level of its content,” said Carini.
The women’s symposium is the brainchild of Kaslow, past chair of the PCSW. Kaslow and her colleagues have been preparing for the symposium since November 2006. She said the lengthy preparation had an unexpected, yet rewarding side effect.

“It’s been amazing to work with a group of women that I would never get to work with any other time, and to interact with people across the campus. I made good colleagues and friends I never would have met had we not been doing this,” Kaslow said.

The symposium, held primarily in Cox Hall and the Jones Room of Woodruff Library, is free and open to the public. It will commence at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 and conclude at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5. For a schedule of events and additional information, visit www.pcsw.emory.edu.