Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Irish Immigration to the US, notably Brighton/MA

The Irish Pastoral Center with the Brighton-Allston Historical Society organized an event on Irish Immigration for the "Cara Club" on February 22, 2016. Members came out in force to hear the presentations and share their personal experiences! 

The opening speaker was Jan Cannavan, specialist on the topic of Irish republican women activists and a Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum guide. Jan's talk on Irish Emigration to the US spanned from before the American Revolution (and well before the Great Famine) until the present. She revealed that the largest Irish migration of 3 million people was from 1856 to 1921, and the largest group was single women owing to minimal marriage or employment prospects at home. She indicated that universal Irish education had increased women's aspirations, yet most women migrants became servants in the US with many single women taking on childcare, housework, and some industrial work. 

L-R: BAHS Board Member Deborah Chivers with Event Presenters
Mary McCarthy and Nancy O'Hara
Lifetime BAHS member Mary McCarthy and Nancy O'Hara, BAHS Board Director, shared vivid passages on the Irish coming to Brighton from the book of Town Historian Dr. William Marchione titled Allston-Brighton in Transition: From Cattle Town to Streetcar Suburb.

Many participants then voiced poignant stories and experiences as emigrants to Brighton. These interactions were followed by a tour of the Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum also located in the Veronica Smith Senior Center. 

Watch this space for additional photos of the event. This will be a great and timely backdrop to the upcoming BAHS research initiative on Irish Women Immigrants to Brighton: Experiences and Stories!

L-R: Jan Cannavan, Nancy O'Hara and Mary McCarthy,
all of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society,
a UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fulbright Nehru Doctoral Research Fellow now at WGS!

Vrinda Varma has been selected to the Fulbright-Nehru Program to spend an academic year as a Doctoral Research Fellow at Boston University's Graduate College of Arts and Sciences! Vrinda hails from Kerala, India. She is an Assistant Professor in English at Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur in her home state. Her doctoral research is on the Construction of Women's Identities and Food Narratives, and she is doing her PhD in Gender Studies at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kerala.

During her time at BU, she will be continuing with her research on how narratives about food, including recipe books, women's magazines and food advertisements (de)construct, maintain and perpetuate gendered identities for women. Though she will be dealing specifically with food narratives from Kerala, she is also interested in studying the food-woman metaphors in other cultures as well. 

Vrinda is a published author of an English course book series for school children and has translated The Panchatantra (five books of animal fables) from Malayalam to English for young readers. Her areas of interest include Food and Food Culture, Food and Gender Roles, Food History, Culinary Writing, Magazines and Readership, and Young Fiction.

She has recently published a chapter "The Food Woman Connection: Is Food Really a Woman's Thing?" in the volume Making Sense of Food: Constructing Culinary and Cultural Identities (Eds: Sally Baho and Gregory Katsas, ISBN 978-1-84888-011-5).

Welcome and congratulations Vrinda!

Save the Date, 17 March-3pm: Muqaddisa Mehreen on Gender Issues in Education in Pakistan!

Beyond the Book Exhibition features record number of events and participants!

The recent Beyond the Book Exhibition IX hosted a record number of events, which attracted participants and visitors from the community and academia alike. Boston University's Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program was pleased to be a sponsor of Beyond the Book IX.

Beyond the Book Exhibition organizer Ronni Komarow (center) interacting at the opening
We reported earlier on the well-attended exhibition launch at the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library. View the flickr photo album here:

This was followed by two Artists' Talks organized by Ronni Komarow, one at the Faneuil Branch and the other at the Brighton Center Library Branch. These generated fascinating interactions between the artists themselves and participants from universities and the community, resulting in fresh ideas to disseminate the goals of a wide variety of entries. One example was a discussion of a work of Helga Felleisen entitled Counting Flatbread; the artists offered suggestions on how to attract yet further support for the featured disadvantaged populations in Syria.

Artist Helga Felleisen with her work Counting Flatbread
An additional event was a practical "hands on" workshop, where participants learned how to create their own "books as art".

Given the success of this series of events, we already look forward to next year's Beyond the Book X!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Honoring Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan of our WGS community at Boston University will be receiving a prestigious award at the Massachusetts State House later this month. The Jewish Community Relations Council and the Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations will confer their Excellency in Advocacy Award on Raffi at a ceremony on February 25, 2016.

Announcement above courtesy: 2016 JCRC of Greater Boston
Raffi worked earlier in her career until mid-2011 as Course and Research Assistant with Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney at BU/WGS (Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program) in the arena of Gender and International Development. Raffi was also Brenda's teaching assistant at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management and her research associate at the Women's Studies Research Center, both at Brandeis University.

Other awardees at the Legislative Reception 2016 on Women in Leadership will be Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Senator Karen Spilka, and Representative Patricia Haddad.