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Symposium to Examine War and Gender

By Weston Loyd

(April 25, 2016) — The University of Kentucky's Gaines Center for the Humanities, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Working Group on War and Gender, an interdisciplinary group of scholars at UK, are teaming up to present a new program as part of the Gaines Center’s series on violence and the human condition. The series’ fifth event is the "Symposium on War and Gender." This two-day event, running April 28-29, is comprised of four different sessions and is free and open to the public.

"The symposium is for undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty to explore how wartime violence affects both men and women and to understand the role the gendered language and imagery plays in representing, promoting or preventing war," Karen Petrone, UK Department of History chair and professor, said.

On Thursday, April 28, Purnima Bose and Sue Grayzel will be presenting the first two sessions of the symposium in William T. Young Library Multipurpose Room B 108C.

· Bose will present the first session, from 3:30-5:15 p.m., on “The Capitalist-Rescue Narrative and the War on Terror.” Bose is an associate professor of English at Indiana University.

· Grayzel will present the second session, from 5:30-7:15 p.m., on “All are Now in the Line of Fire: Gender and the Defense of Civilian Bodies in the Interwar British Empire.” Grayzel is a professor of history and director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi.

On Friday, April 29, Rochelle Davis and Srimati Basu will be presenting the final two sessions of the symposium in the West End Room on the 18th floor of the Patterson Office Tower.

· Davis will present the third session, from 9-10:45 a.m., on “Gendered Vulnerability and Forced Conscription in the War in Syria.” Davis is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Georgetown University.

· Basu will conclude the symposium from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. by moderating a forum and discussion with the symposium’s attendees. Basu is a professor in the UK Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

The symposium on war and gender is part of a year of programming around the broad theme of "Violence and the Human Condition" being sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Gaines Center. Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, faculty members from many different UK departments have been collaborating with each other and with visiting experts from other universities in a series of mini-conferences and workshops that are free and open to the campus as a whole.

The partnership explores the theme of violence across many different registers — architecture and conflict, political violence, war and gender, transnational dimensions of violence, the intersections of violence in Latin America, and the notion of war without end as a metaphor in contemporary life.

For more information on this symposium, contact Karen Petrone, UK Department of History chair and professor, at