Flexner Book Club Blog

2011 Mary Flexner Lecturer: Judith Butler

Blogger Bios

My name is Sara Alcid and I am a Bryn Mawr College senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Gender & Sexuality Studies, set to graduate in December 2011. Last year, I founded and led Bryn Mawr’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance chapter and am currently interning at NARAL Pro-Choice NY with their political and legislative department. As a student primarily interested in the intersection of gender and political power, Judith Butler’s work has played a significant role in my academic life. But Butler’s concept of gender performativity has played an even greater role in my everyday life and I honestly can’t walk down the street without analyzing social interaction through a lens attuned to gender performance. I am thrilled to be involved with this project and even more excited for Butler’s presence on campus this upcoming semester.

Alex Brey (A.B., Vassar College [Medieval and Renaissance Studies], 2008, and M.A., Bryn Mawr College [History of Art], 2011) is a Ph.D. student in the History of Art, focusing on the visual representations of the complex categories of human and animal in Byzantium and pre-Islamic and early Islamic western and central Asia. His M.A. thesis centered on the Umayyad palace known as Mushatta and its connections to late antique domestic and religious architecture in the eastern Mediterranean. Other interests include economic and artistic exchange in the Indian Ocean, medieval and modern conceptions of the past, and reuse and spoliation. Alex has excavated at a medieval settlement in Scotland, a Roman fort in Jordan, and the medieval mosque in Tiberias, Israel. He is currently representing the students of the GSAS on the Bryn Mawr College Diversity Council, and he blogs about Byzantine and Islamic art and architecture at http://hart.blogs.brynmawr.edu/.

Vanessa Christman is Acting Director of Intercultural Affairs at Bryn Mawr College. A member of the Diversity Leadership Group, she is dedicated to improving campus climate and building community at Bryn Mawr. Vanessa is interested in both affirming identity and looking at the intersectionality of identity and culture, and she is inspired by Judith Butler’s thoughts on these topics. Vanessa directs the LEAP intensive leadership development program and works with leaders from the Alliance of Multicultural Organizations, the Multifaith Alliance, the Community Diversity Assistants and the Class Dismissed? initiative. She also serves as the Administrative Coordinator of the Social Justice Partnership Program and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship.

Johanna Gosse is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, specializing in modern and contemporary art and film. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in 2005, and an M.A. in the History of Art from Bryn Mawr in 2009. Her research focuses primarily on the intersections between postwar American avant-garde film and popular culture. Johanna currently serves as a teaching assistant for the Program in Film Studies at Bryn Mawr. Recent publications include a review on the role of politics in contemporary art for the winter 2010 issue of Radical History Review, and an essay on the artist Ray Johnson for the fall 2011 issue of the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies.

Steph Herold ’09 is a reproductive justice activist who has worked in direct service abortion care and reproductive health advocacy. She founded the website IAmDrTiller.com to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Tiller and honor the stories of abortion providers. Her writing has been published on blogs such as RHRealityCheck.org and Jezebel.com, as well as the online edition of The Nation and On the Issues magazine. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Abortion Access Fund and a volunteer at the Haven Coalition. In 2009, she was one of 20 recipients of the first ever Our Bodies, Our Selves Women’s Health Hero awards. In May 2011, she was awarded the Rosie Jimenez Award from the Women’s Medical Fund for her use of social media in destigmatizing abortion. She has been named one of the top 15 young feminists nationwide by Campus Progress. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and will pursue a Masters of Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health beginning this fall. She tweets from the handle @IAmDrTiller and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Jessica  E. Lee is an M.S.S. and Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She received an M.L.A. in Medical Discourse and a Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include acculturation of immigrants and refugees, cultural constructions of illness, and health care utilization. She serves as the Praxis III Program Coordinator in the Civic Engagement Office and as a graduate student mentor for the Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program.

Medb McGearty is a second year student working towards a Masters of Social Work at Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Prior to pursuing her studies at Bryn Mawr, Medb completed her undergraduate degree at Hampshire College in 2001 double-majoring in dance and cultural anthropology. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at Girls’ Inc., and was invited to present her senior thesis at the Annual Crossroads in the Study of the Americas Student Symposium at Amherst College. Upon graduating from Hampshire, Medb worked in the non-profit sector until moving to Paris in 2004 where she taught English and provided translations for artists and art galleries. After returning to New York City she continued to work in the arts, and volunteered at the Community Career Fellowship, a non-profit that offers career services to previously incarcerated women. Medb is currently working at the Women’s Therapy Center in Philadelphia for her second year field placement, which provides women with affordable therapeutic services. While honing her clinical skills at her field placement, she is focusing her academic endeavors on the relationship between gender and psychopathology from a feminist perspective.

Elly R. Truitt is Assistant Professor of History at Bryn Mawr College. She has been at the college since 2008, after receiving an MA and a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University, and an MPhil in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge. She teaches courses medieval history, the history of magic, and the history of science and medicine. Her research is on medieval science and technology, including artificial life, pharmaco-botany, marvels, and astral science.

My name is Mary Zaborskis, and I am a senior double-major in English and Psychology. I first encountered Judith Butler’s work in an English course during the fall semester of my freshman year, and I’ve been hooked on her ever since! I am dedicated to investigating the intersection between English and Gender & Sexuality Studies, and engaging with Butler’s scholarship has been crucial in contributing to the direction of my academic, social, political, and personal development. I can’t wait for Judith Butler to come to campus as a Flexner Lecturer, and I look forward to participating in this exciting time for the community as a blogger!

Director of College Communications Tracy Kellmer is excited to be a part of the Flexner Book Club Blog in the role of emcee, commenter, and comment moderator. Questions about the blog may be addressed to her at tkellmer[at]brynmawr[dot]edu.