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Angela Y. Davis Headlines International Conference, Which Celebrates Publication of Groundbreaking Journal By and About Women of Color

On Thursday, March 8, amid worldwide celebrations of International Women's Day, Smith College will kick off a four-day international conference marking the launch of its new and widely heralded women's studies journal, "Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism."

A joint venture of Smith and Wesleyan University, Meridians is the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal devoted to issues of women of color. The inaugural issue was published in October; the second, featuring an interview with Edwidge Danticat, poetry by Adrienne Su and an historical essay by Paula Giddings, will be released in conjunction with the conference.

In keeping with the journal's interdisciplinary character, the conference will feature an eclectic array of panel discussions, readings and dramatic and musical performances.

"The focus of the journal, and, thus, of this conference, is women in movement, whether geographically, politically or intellectually," explained Meridians senior editor Kum-Kum Bhavnani.

"In each of the sessions, whether through poetry, hip-hop, drama or scholarly presentations, participants will be vigorously interrogating the identities, policies and practices associated with the terms 'feminist,' 'Third World' and 'women of color' at the beginning of this new millennium," Bhavnani added.

Highlights of the conference include:

A talk by former Salvadoran guerrilla combatant Maria Ofelia Navarrete, currently a political activist and the subject of the 1991 PBS documentary "Maria's Story," at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in Theatre 14;

Performances by Chinese-American poet and socialist feminist activist Nellie Wong and by Zili Roots, a Boston-based seven-piece female band playing a mixture of danceable groove music rooted in the rhythms of the African diaspora, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in Theatre 14;

A presentation by activists Angela Y. Davis and Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez and legal scholar Sharon Hom about effective human rights organizing among women of color both nationally and internationally, at 8 p.m. Friday, March 9, in John M. Greene Hall;

A panel discussion of the role of gender and race in science, featuring Angela B. Ginorio (University of Washington), Evelynn M. Hammonds (MIT), Mimi Nguyen (University of California Berkeley) and Banu Subramaniam (University of Arizona), at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10, in Wright Hall Auditorium;

A discussion of the future of scholarly publishing by and about women of color featuring Smith College President Ruth J. Simmons and Meridians senior editor Kum-Kum Bhavnani, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in Wright Hall Auditorium;

A performance art showcase featuring spoken-word artist Queen Godis, a 20-year-old senior at Vassar College, performing "Learning How to Breathe Right;" and Denise Uyehara, a California-based performer and writer, presenting "Hello (Sex) Kitty: Mad Asian Bitch On Wheels," an examination of love, violence and respect among men and women; at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in the Davis Center Ballroom.

All conference events are open to the public, free of charge and wheelchair accessible, though conference registration is requested. To register on-line or for times and locations of additional conference events, visit the Meridians Web site at Registration forms and conference programs also may be downloaded from this site. For more information, call (413)-585-4222/3388 or by TTY at (413) 585-2206.

Contact: Laurie Fenlason,

February 22, 2001


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