Transforming Gender and Society conference to be held next month


The view of the Campanile from Geoffroy Hall. Geoffroy Hall is Iowa State’s newest residence hall and is located on Lincoln Way. 

Alex Ivanisevic

The second women’s and gender studies conference, “Transforming Gender and Society,” is scheduled to kick off April 1 in the Memorial Union.

“Last year was the first year,” Christiana Langenberg, academic adviser for the women’s and gender studies program at Iowa State, said. “It was our inaugural conference, where we were focusing on undergraduates in women’s and gender studies related programs within the state of Iowa. This year we have expanded it to include graduate students as well.”

Langenberg has played a major role in creating the conference and is eager to see what this year’s conference will hold. She predicts there will be twice as many attendees and an increase in the number of submissions.  

“I wouldn’t even say [the work is] a fairly even split between academic research and creative works,” Langenberg said. “I think there might be some panels that are also going to be there as round table discussion.”

She said that anything that can be described as falling under the subject of gender and society can be submitted to be in the conference.

In addition to paying a registration fee, students who submit work must first get approved and sponsored by a faculty member.

Last year’s conference received positive feedback. A special aspect of this year’s conference is that there will be a keynote speaker, Rekha Basu.

“She is a columnist for the Des Moines Register, and she is passionate about issues regarding social justice, women’s rights, feminism, that kind of thing,” Langenberg said.

In addition to her role as a columnist, Basu also writes about current events that often revolve around human rights and is featured on KCWI-TV with weekly segments of “Rekha’s Voice.” She is an author as well.

The topic she will discuss at the “Transforming Gender and Society” conference is titled “Sister Resistor: People Driving Change by Speaking the Truth to Power.” Basu’s presentation will cover topics from narratives about discrimination and social injustices in hopes to inspire change.     

“I think that given the political climate we are in right now, it’s also motivated to address issues facing immigrants, people of color, any marginalized groups who are all obviously welcome, not just to submit proposals for the conference, but to attend,” Langenberg said.

Langenberg said she and Ann Oberhauser, the director of the conference, may finalize a program of the conference and display it as a .pdf on the women’s and gender studies website so attendees can look at it beforehand, and see the different sessions that will take place throughout the day.

Langenberg encourages submissions, which are due Monday, March 20, and all are welcome to come. Applications can be found here.