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Center for the Study of Women in Society at UO marks 40 years

EUGENE, Ore. - The Center for the Study of Women in Society, a non-profit organization through the University of Oregon in partnership with the ASUO Women's Center on campus, is hosting their 40th anniversary celebration November 7-9 in University of Oregon Erb Memorial Union.

The three-day event will feature professors and deans from the University of Oregon and other prominent community members in celebration of feminist research, activism and creativity at the University of Oregon.

"We've been working on this for over a year because we knew we wanted to celebrate 40 years of feminist teaching and research on the University of Oregon campus," Carl Stabile, director for the Center of the Study of Women in Society, said.

Day one of the symposium will feature a screening of "Agents of Change," a documentary produced by Gabriela Martinez, associate professor at the University of Oregon, and Sonia De La Cruz, Ph.D. candidate in media studies.

The documentary explains the history of the center over the 40 years. The intended goal was to show the progress of feminist research on the University of Oregon's campus from the center's inception in 1983 when they got a $3 million grant from Fortune magazine editor William Harris to fund the center.

"Being a media studies professor, I wanted each part of the second day to tell a story," Stabile said. "My goal is that people can come away from day two and understand the different parts of the center's history and how it relates to gender studies."

Guest speakers include Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for equality and inclusion at the University of Oregon, Julia Lesange, professor emeritia of the English Department at the University of Oregon, Yvonne Braun, associate professor of women's and gender studies and director of international studies at the University of Oregon, Kitty Piercy, City of Eugene mayor, and many others.

Friday will also feature a lecture by Ursula Le Guin from 6:30 to 8:30, whose science fiction papers are housed in the U of O's Knight Library Special Collections and the universities archives.

In the effort to look forward to the future of women's and gender studies at the university, Stabile planned the third day to be a reflection of women's science fiction.

"I want people to think about how the women's science fiction will play into the future of the field," Stabile said.

In addition to local speakers, Stabile has brought in prominent professors from universities across the nation. Shannon Elizabeth Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky, whose research in women's and gender studies won her the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology and Humanism in 2013.

Throughout the symposium, those interested also have the opportunity to visit various archives on the University of Oregon's campus and around town. Historical material related to feminist research, teaching and activism will be on display in Knight Library, The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Eugene Airport.

Stabile has high expectations for the rest of the symposium and hopes that those in attendance will use the knowledge they learn from the symposium as a transformative experience.

"It lets you experiment in a way that bleeds into reality," Stabile said.

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