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International symposium explores issues of women and free speech

By Ann Friou
University News Service
March 21, 2012

Human trafficking, intimate partner violence and HIV, gender-equality activists’ use of the media, and the Latina theatre movement are among the topics to be explored Friday, March 30, at an international symposium on women and free speech at Texas State University-San Marcos.

The symposium, titled “Occupy Free Speech: Getting Women’s Voices Heard,” will be held 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center on the Texas State campus. Sponsored by the Women and Gender Research Collaborative of Texas State’s Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies (MCGS), the symposium is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to or (512) 245-2361.

“The Occupy Movement has grown beyond its origin on Wall Street to encompass a variety of protest movements. Our symposium topic, ‘Occupy Free Speech,’ draws attention to gender and free-speech issues in many phases of life,” said Sandra Mayo, director of MCGS and the symposium chair.

“Women’s freedom of speech is at issue around the world,” Mayo said. “Symposium participants will hear wide-ranging viewpoints on women’s free speech by presenters from American institutions and from Canada and India.”

Presenters and their topics include:

  • Women, Media, and the Process of Liberation: Theorizing Our Everyday Work. Carolyn Byerly, Ph.D., department of journalism, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Challenging the Silence Around the Intersectionality of the Intimate Partner Violence and HIV/AIDS: the Voices of African-American Women. Michele Rountree, Ph.D., school of social work, University of Texas at Austin
  • Human Trafficking: Giving Voice to Victims and Empowering Speech to Advocates. Catherine Hawkins, Ph.D., school of social work, Texas State
  • Image Manipulation: Female Architects Depicted by the Media. Puerto Rico, 1945-1980. Norma Figueroa, Ph.D., M.Arch, CAAPPR, school of architecture, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Of Women, Men, and the “Nameless, Faceless” Genderless Corporation? Countryside Gender Relations/Identities, Transformative Gender Politics and Martin Butler’s Poetry and Butler’s Journal, 1889-1905. Deborah Stiles, Ph.D., director of the rural research centre, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Canada
  • Giving Voice to Undocumented Latina Students in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study at Texas State. Beatriz Gomez, international studies graduate student, Texas State
  • Voices of Women with Physical Disabilities in India: Challenges of the Developing World Perspective. Santoshi Halder, Ph.D., department of education, University of Calcutta, India
  • Occupy Gender: Thinking Through the Role of Women and Queer Activists in Mass Movements. Holly Lewis, Ph.D., department of philosophy, Texas State
  • La Voz Latina: Contemporary Plays and Performance Pieces. Elizabeth Ramirez, Ph.D., Edgewood ISD fine arts specialist and professional dramaturge

The symposium is presented in conjunction with National Women’s History Month and Texas State’s 2011-2012 Common Experience, “Freedom: The First Amendment.” More program information is available at