Women’s History Month to Explore “Engendering the Arts and Sciences” Through Lectures, Workshops, and Performances

Headlining the month-long series of events in March celebrating Women’s History Month, renowned MacArther “genius” award-winning visual artist Shahzia Sikander and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/author Mirta Ojito will speak at Montclair State University on Thursday, March 8, which is also International Women’s Day. This year’s Women’s History Month theme for all events taking place at Montclair State is “Engendering the Arts and Sciences.”

Pakistani-American Sikander is known for her colorful hybrid paintings that combine the miniature painting tradition of Pakistan with contemporary styles. The New York City-based artist, who received a “genius” grant in 2006, has also created murals, installations, mixed-media works, and performance art. As a practicing Muslim, she explores the role of religion and Muslim women in her art. Her work has been exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Whitney Museum, among others. She will talk about her artistic process and screen her latest digital artwork from 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. in Cohen Lounge, Dickson Hall.

An assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Ojito has received numerous writing awards, including a shared Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series about race in America. The native of Havana, Cuba, emigrated to Miami in 1980 when she was 16 years old, an experience she chronicled in the critically acclaimed Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus, published in 2005. Ojito will discuss her book and her career as a writer at the Third Annual Latino/a Caucus Speaker Series from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom A.

“When it comes to the world of art and the world of science, women are often left out, so we want to shed some light on that issue,” says Esmilda Abreu, director of equity and diversity at Montclair State, who is organizing activities for the month together with the Women’s Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

The challenges faced by women who pursue careers in science are the subject of “Beyond Barbie: Real Women in the World of Science,” a conference set for 8:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. on Monday, March 5 in Student Center Cafés A and B.

The program opens with an 8:00 a.m. breakfast, followed by a keynote address from 8:30 - 9:45 a.m. by Melda Yildiz, the first Fulbright Scholar to Turkmenistan and associate professor at the School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean University, on “Women in Math, Science, and Technology Across Cultures throughout History: Global Media Literacy Education.” Two panel presentations follow: “Women in Science: Past and Present” from 10:00 - 11:15 a.m. and “STEM Careers for Women: Challenges, Mentorship and Balance from 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

For more information about the conference and registration details, contact www.csam.montclair.edu/womeninscience/

Other events include the 11th annual performance of the Vagina Monologues with the MSU V-Team on Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. Ticket prices are $15 for the general public and $10 for Montclair State students. Proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Women’s Rights Information Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Tickets can be purchased at www.vdaymontclair2012.eventbrite.com.

Several activities during Women’s History Month overlap with “Justice and Civil Society in the Muslim World,” a multi-disciplinary series of lectures, films, and readings presented by Montclair State’s Global Education Center. The series examines the culture, history, and politics of the Arab region as it struggles to achieve a new sense of justice.

A full list of events is available at Women’s History Month.

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