Gender Studies Symposium - College of Arts and Sciences - Lewis & Clark


37th Annual Gender Studies Symposium


March 7-9, 2018

Melanie Richter-Montpetit is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield (UK). Her research interests are in International Relations with a focus on War and Security Studies; Feminist, Queer and Decolonial Theory; and Transnational American Studies. Her work has appeared in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of PoliticsSecurity DialogueInternational Feminist Journal of Politics, and the Austrian Journal of Politics. She is presently preparing a book manuscript exploring the post-9/11 US national security imaginary and associated transnational practices of war and violence. Tentatively entitled ‘Beyond the Erotics of Orientalism: Queer and Feminist Investments in Liberal War’ the book examines the stubborn persistence of aggressively racial-sexual security practices in this ‘post-racial/sexual/gender’ era. In conversation with recent debates in Native Studies, Black Studies and Queer Studies, the book traces how post-9/11 US national security - including its targeting of Muslim/ified people and spaces - is inflected by and enabled through structures of settler colonialism and antiblackness.

Melanie Richter-Montpetit is Chair and Program Chair of the ISA-LGBTQA Caucus. The ISA’s Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section recently presented her with the inaugural Early Career Community Engagement Award. She is the recipient of a 2017-2018 Leverhulme Research Fellowship and currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto. 


Beth E. Richie is Head of the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice and Professor of African American Studies at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Her scholarly and activist work has focused on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors. Dr. Richie is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press, 2012), which chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States, as well as numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, prison abolition, and grassroots organizations in African American communities. Her earlier book, Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, is taught in many college courses and is cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender and crime. Dr. Richie’s work has been widely supported by grants from numerous organizations and has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, The Advocacy Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and The Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a board member of The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, The National Network for Women in Prison, A Call To Men, and a founding member of INCITE!:Women of Color Against Violence. In 2014 she was appointed as a senior advisor to the National Football League to work on their domestic violence and sexual assault prevention program.


Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer, sick, and disabled nonbinary femme writer and cultural worker of Burger/ Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/ Roma ascent. The author of Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home (Publishing Triangle and Lambda Award 2016 finalist, American Library Association Stonewall Award winner 2016), Bodymap (Audre Lorde Poetry Award Finalist, Publishing Triangle), Love Cake (Lambda Award 2012) and Consensual Genocide, she is also co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. From 2006-2016, she co-founded and co-directed Mangos With Chili, North America’s longest running queer and trans people of color performance art tour. She is a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid, co-founded Toronto’ Asian Arts Freedom School and teaches writing online and in person, with a focus on creating liberatory writing spaces by and for sick and disabled QTPOC, survivor and/or femme writers. Primarily, she is a weirdo who writes about survivorhood, disability justice, transformative justice, queer femme of color lives and Sri Lankan diaspora sitting in her room. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future.