Symposium Demonstrates Growth, Diversity of Feminist Studies Honors Program by ELIZABETH ANN SANDERS on 07/01/11 at 10:57 am      
On  June  1,  a  large  and  diverse  group  of   graduating  seniors  presented  their  theses  at  the   2011  Feminist  Studies  honors   symposium.  Feminist  Studies  celebrated  its   largest  graduating  class  .  This  year,  not  only  did   the  number  of  students  triple,  but  the  diversity   of  the  students  and  their  projects  also  greatly   expanded.  Subject  matter  included  literary   criticism,  social  sciences,  and  many  creative   projects.     “Compared  with  previous  years,  the  theses   covered  an  exceptionally  wide  disciplinary,   geographic,  and  cultural  range,”  said  Professor  Heather  Hadlock,  Director  of  Feminist  Studies.  “At  the   same  time,  they  were  surprisingly  coherent  as  a  group  because  so  many  of  them  were  concerned  with   multi-­‐generational  female  relationships  and  with  national  or  ethnic  boundaries.”  Further,  the  students   themselves  were  a  far  more  heterogeneous  group:  seven  women  and  two  men.  “Last  year  there  was   one  man,”  added  Hadlock.  “My  sense  is  that  there  is  a  slow  but  significant  increase  in  men’s   participation  as  Queer  Studies  becomes  a  more  prominent  part  of  the  Feminist  Studies  program.”     The  symposium  offered  the  nine  honors  students  the  opportunity  to  share  the  fruits  of  their  hard  work   with  each  other  and  the  greater  Stanford  community.  “I  don’t  often  get  to  work  much  directly  with  the   honors  students  throughout  the  year,  but  I’m  always  pleasantly  surprised  with  the  work  presented  at   the  symposium,”  said  Karli  Cerankowski,  Feminist  Studies  program  mentor  and  a  PhD  candidate   in  Modern  Thought  and  Literature,  “It  was  so  wonderful  to  see  the  breadth  of  topics  our  students  take   up  in  their  honors  projects,  and  I  learned  something  from  everyone.”     Creative  Theses  –  Art,  Memoir,  Novella,  Short  Stories     Those  quite  actively  involved  with  the  honors  process  also  found  the  symposium  an  exciting  opportunity   to  witness  their  students’  accomplishments.  Professor  Valerie  Miner,  who  advises  honors  students,  was   “impressed  by  the  diversity  and  the  quality  of  the  Feminist  Studies  thesis  presentations.  The  afternoon   was  a  reminder  about  how  Feminist  Studies  reaches  across  disciplines,  interests,  and  continents.  It  was   a  special  pleasure  to  experience  the  presentations  of  four  of  the  students  I’ve  known  since  their   sophomore  year  and  to  witness  their  accomplished  work.”  

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  Three  of  the  four  students  were  Miner’s  honors  advisees,  all  of  whom  completed  creative  theses.  Miner,   a  novelist  and  Clayman  Institute  Artist-­‐in-­‐Residence,  worked  with  Madison  Kawakami,  Janessa  Nickell,   and  Emily  Rials;  the  three  produced  a  collection  of  short  stories,  a  memoir,  and  a  novella,  respectively.     The  Feminist  Studies  honors  program  is  the  only  venue  at  Stanford  in  which  undergraduates  can  work   on  a  creative  honors  thesis.  Creative  thesis  candidates  produce  a  work  of  writing  or  art  and  then  write  a   framing  essay  that  places  their  work  within  an  academic  context.  The  fourth  creative  thesis  this  year   was  a  series  of  lithographs,  paintings,  and  prints  by  Jenny  Tiskus,  who  used  her  thesis  to  explore  the   performance  of  cowgirl  identity  in  three  generations  of  her  family.     The  research  theses  investigated  as  diverse  a  range  of  topics  as  did  their  creative  counterparts,  including   a  study  of  the  South  Korean  LGBT  rights  organizing  movement,  an  archive  of  interviews  with  Latina   women  on  the  San  Diego-­‐Tijuana  border,  and  an  investigation  of  female  embodiment  through  text  and   image  in  William  Blake’s  Daughters  of  Albion.     Redesigning  Feminist  Studies  Student  Support     No  matter  how  divergent  their  disciplinary  origins  may  have  been,  however,  all  students  shared  the   same  difficult  trek  from  topic  to  thesis.  Feminist  Studies  honors  mentor  Jakeya  Caruthers,  a  doctoral   student  in  Anthropology  and  Education,  oversaw  that  process.  “It  was  delightful  to  see  how  well   students  attended  to  some  of  their  toughest  questions,”  said  Caruthers  about  the  students’  work  on   their  academic  projects.  She,  like  others,  was  thrilled  with  the  symposium.  “The  flow  of  performative   and  multi-­‐sensory  engagement  with  the  audience  proved  wonderfully  arresting  and,  better  than  that,   quite  generative.”     Faced  with  the  need  to  include  such  diverse  group  of  young  scholars,  the  Feminist  Studies  program   had  to  rework  how  it  supported  its  students.  Rather  than  attempt  to  synchronize  the  processes  of  all   students,  no  matter  how  dissimilar  their  projects,  Caruthers  divided  the  cohort  into  smaller  peer   review  groups,  matched  by  similarities  in  their  methodology.  Said  Caruthers,  “Mentoring  and   supporting  the  projects  of  such  a  diverse  group  was  no  small  task,  but  I  counted  it  as  a  privilege.”     The  2011  Feminist  Studies  honors  recipients  and  their  theses:     o Cris  Bautista:  The  Embodied  Word:  William  Blake’s  Visions  of  the  Daughters  of   Albion  and  Female  Embodiment  Through  Text  and  Image     o Alison  Ganem:  Mujeres  de  la  Frontera:  Life  Histories  of  Latina  Women  on  the  San   Diego-­‐Tijuana  Border     o Madison  Kawakami:  Three  Women,  Three  Tales     o Monique  Loy:  The  Hope  and  Progress  of  Human  Rights  in  the  Voice  of  Saudi  Women     o Janessa  Nickell:  Al-­‐Intadhar:  A  Memoir  and  Reckoning  from  Jordan     o Emily  Rials:  “The  Budget:”  A  Novella     o Elizabeth  Sanders:  How  the  Wild  Girls  Grow:  The  Rhetoric  of  Puberty  in  Novels   Written  for  Girls,  by  Women    

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Charles  Syms:  Kwieo  Futures:  Congruencies  and  Contentions  of  the  Korean  LGBT   Rights  Organizing  Movement     Jenny  Tiskus:  Cattle  Annie:  Performance  of  Cowgirl  Identity  in  Three  Generations   (Lithographs,  Paintings,  Prints)  

  Congratulations,  Class  of  2011!  

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