Date and time: 6:00 PM, April 29th
Location: Water Pavilion

Description: Join us for an engaging discussion on the intersection of gender and language with Professors Zhenjie Weng, Stephanie Anderson, and student speakers. Explore how language shapes and reflects gender norms, identities, and perceptions.


Student Report on “Buried in the Red Dirt: Race, Reproduction, and Death in Modern Palestine”

Reported by Lia Smith, Class of 2026

This lecture and workshop was a part of the Gender Studies Initiative’s event series. Each event connects gender to a range of topics where gender, sexuality, and feminism are discussed.

On March 29th, 2024 this event brought Professor Frances Hasso from the program in gender, sexuality and feminism at Duke University and 14 event attendees for a discussion of Professor Hasso’s most recent book, Buried in the Red Dirt. This book brings together a myriad of sources to tell a story of life, death, and reproduction, and missing bodies and experiences, during and since the British colonial period in Palestine. The discussion was based upon chapter 3, which focused upon the eugenic practices of both the British and Zionist colonizers of Palestine.

British colonial authorities blamed Palestinians for poverty, hunger, and disease, conveniently sidestepping the harsh realities of colonial extraction. This perspective, deeply rooted in gendered and racialized dynamics, perpetuated inequities in healthcare provision for Palestinians.

Central to the discourse was the exploration of demographic anxieties and eugenicist ideologies that tainted British and Zionist approaches to birth control in Palestine. Despite legal constraints, contraception and abortion emerged as vital methods of birth control for women across all communities, challenging simplistic explanations based solely on religion or culture.

The event unveiled the fallacy of portraying Palestinians as hyper-reproductive, offering a nuanced understanding of their reproductive desires and practices. Contrary to popular belief, Palestinian demographic competition with Jews has been largely irrelevant since 1948, with Palestinian fertility rates shaped by multifaceted factors beyond Zionist anxieties of demographic competition.

DKU faculty and students raises numerous questions throughout the discussions. Many questions tackled methodology, in particular Professor Hasso’s creative use of both archival sources and oral testimonies. Other questions pertained to the modalities of colonial rule, from the level of collaboration/conflict between British and Zionist colonizers, to the ways religious and racial differences were simultaneously deployed by the British to govern Palestine. Finally, questions concerning the contemporary situation in Gaza were raised, such as the differing positions towards the war amongst various Middle East and North African States, to the effect of the war in Gaza on US domestic politics.

The 2nd Gender Studies Initiative Student Conference Program

Date: Friday, April 19th, 9 AM – 3 PM

Venue: AB 2107

9-9:15 AM: Keynote Speech by Professor Selina Lai Henderson

Session 1 – Challenges to Heteronormativity

9:15-10:15 AM Presentations and faculty discussions

10:15-10:45 Q&A

Heteronormativity in Korean Boys Love Comics: A Case Study of Chinese Queer Women’s Gender Discourse – Shuzhe Wang

Faculty discussant: Keping Wu (Zoom)

Masters tools: Oppression, Representation, Stereotype, and Heteronormativity – Sadey Dong

Faculty discussant: Hwa Yeong Wang

A Queer Metamorphosis: Animal Narratives and Lesbian Love in Contemporary Chinese Cultures – Ruohan Wang

Faculty discussant: Nathan Hauthaler

Session 2 – Gendered Economy and Environmental Challenges

10:50-11:50 AM: Presentations and faculty discussions

11:50-12:20 PM: Q&A

The ‘Invisible’ Female Riders in Food Delivery: Exploring the Impact of Platform Algorithms on Female Workers in the Gig Economy – Hanyang Zhou and Yixin Gu

Faculty discussant: Megan Rogers

Gender, Health, and Catastrophe: The Impact of Patriarchal Gender Dynamics on Tribal Women’s Health Outcomes amidst Pakistan’s 2022 ‘Superfloods’ – Arabela Iggesen Valenzuela

Faculty discussant: Hyun Jeong Ha

Gendered Dimensions of Climate Change: A Critical Analysis of Women’s Vulnerability and Representation in Global Environmental Governance – Manal Bidar

Faculty discussant: Jaehee Choi

12:20-13:30 PM: Lunch

Session 3 – Feminist Critiques to Culture and Society

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Presentations and faculty discussions

2:30 – 3 PM: Q&A

A Feminist Triumph or Flop?: Exploring Public Perceptions of Barbie- Yihan Chen, Ni Zheng, and Hsuan-kai Liao

Faculty discussant: Lindsay Mahon Rathnam

The Ornamental Personhood: A Reparative Reading of K-Pop Femininity – Vicky Yongkun Wu

Faculty discussant: Titas Chakraborty

Navigating Ideologies Rifts in the Digital Age: Understanding Relationship Dynamics Amidst Gender Discourse Polarization in China – Wenjing Xu

Faculty discussant: Qian Zhu

Student Report on “Chinese Female-Only Script: Unveiling the Stories and Influence of 女书 (Nvshu)”

Reported by Yixin Gu, Class of 2027

The event was jointly sponsored by the HRC Gender Studies Initiative and the CSCC Meanings, Identities and Communities Cluster.

On March 20, 2024, guest speaker Xiuyuan You was invited to the campus to conduct a lecture and workshop on the Chinese national intangible cultural heritage– Nvshu. Ms. You is the Jiangsu Nvshu Cultural Ambassador, Dean of Wuxi Nvshu Academy, and Associate Researcher of the Chinese Nvshu Research Center at Wuhan University.

Continue reading “Student Report on “Chinese Female-Only Script: Unveiling the Stories and Influence of 女书 (Nvshu)””

Buried in the Red Dirt: Race, Reproduction, and Death in Modern Palestine

Please Join us alongside Professor Frances Hasso for a captivating discussion on “Buried in the Red Dirt: Race, Reproduction, and Death in Modern Palestine”. Be sure to prepare for this enlightening event with the required reading!

  • Date & Time: Friday, March 29th, 2024 Time: 8:00 PM 
  • Speaker: Professor Frances Hasso, a Professor in the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminism at Duke University
  • Location: Zoom Meeting Zoom ID: 261 330 4845
  • Note: This event requires pre-reading. Chapter 3 is mandatory, while the introduction is optional.

Reading Group for “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for inclusive Education”

Date: March 29, 2024
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Venue: CCT E2012

Diversity. Equity. Inclusiveness and Justice is an essential topic in academia. Despite its wide discussion in academia, at the practical level, it still poses a challenge for educators seeking to enhance their teaching practices, lt is crucial to ensure that educational materials and curricula are inclusive, relevant, and engaging for all students creating safe and inclusive learning environments.

Student Report on Gender + Feminism

Reported by Yixin Gu, Class of 2027

The Gender Studies Initiative hosted this discussion as part of their event series. Its primary subject was feminism.

On February 27th, 2024, Professors Lindsay Mahon Rathnam and Qian Zhu, along with 18 attendees, participated in this enriching dialogue on feminism in the Water Pavilion. The meanings of feminism and feminists were fully discussed in this event.

In terms of the reasons for choosing to be feminists, Professor Zhu explained that feminism encompasses everything related to women’s role, position, and everyday life. This bottom-up perspective is crucial if we are to pursue and achieve social justice. It is about the full flourishing of humanity, and we can always observe multiple feminist movements throughout history, such as those during the post-colonial and colonial periods.

When discussing why we still need feminism, Professor Rathnam emphasized the need to dialectically examine and answer history to better break free from the male-dominated realm. She also mentioned that the question of balancing life and work, which is often posed to outstanding women during interviews, is the most implicit manifestation of gender inequality. Women are capable of doing anything and balancing different aspects of their lives without being predetermined to excel in certain areas or being confined to the realm of reproduction.

Both professors noted that throughout history, for various reasons and through diverse processes and outcomes, feminist movements and feminist culture have always been occurring and developing. This is not a creation of modern Western society but is actually deeply rooted in all diverse world cultures. All cultures are about resilience.

After the presentations by the two professors on their perspectives on feminism, there was a lengthy question and answer session. Participants shared their questions and insights, discussing topics such as extreme male dominance in their upbringing environment, the media’s portrayal of gender, and women in religion. The professors also provided answers and engaged in discussions on these subjects.

One student shared her experience living in an extremely patriarchal and unfriendly country towards women, indicating the prevalence of “male-only” areas, and she couldn’t even gain a basic sense of security. She stressed that for that place, feminism means improving women’s health and wellbeing. Feminism takes different forms and contents globally, in fact, they should not be superior or inferior, and should not be opposed to each other, everything depends on specific environmental and historical factors. These statements derived from the professors.

In the realm of religion, the constraints and exclusion of women in Buddhism are brought up, while the comparison of different religions is also fervently discussed. The term “religious feminism” has sparked interest and discussion. In reality, women have the same religious needs and capabilities as men, and increasingly more people are attempting to re-interpret Buddhist scriptures and classics to give them new meaning, promoting gender equality and women’s liberation.

Either overtly or covertly, through exaltation or denigration, feminism permeates daily existence. Allow women to live the life they choose, despite external and patriarchal influences. For women, it is eternally a crucial global issue.

Chinese Female-only Script: Unveiling the Stories and Influence of女书(Nvshu)

Mar 20 | Lecture 5:00 -6:00 PM | Workshop 6:15-7:15 PM | IB 1047

Guest Speaker: Xiuyuan You Jiangsu Nvshu Cultural Ambassador, Dean of Wuxi Nvshu Academy, Associate researcher of Chinese Nvshu Research Center of the Wuhan University

Fascinated by a female-only script? Eager to unlock the secrets of 女书 (Nvshu)? Dive into an exhilarating lecture and workshop on Nvshu with us!

Please scan to RSVP for bubble tea and pizza and register for the lecture and workshop.


时间:讲座 5:00 – 6:00 PM,工作坊 6:15 – 7:15 PM
地点:IB 1047





Gender + Feminism

Join us for a faculty workshop on Gender + Feminism led by Prof. Lindsay Mahon Rathnam and Qian Zhu. Explore diverse gender topics and feminist theory. Open to all interested in contemporary discourse and social movements. See you there!

Time: Feb 27, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Venue: Water Pavilion

Snacks & drinks will be served at the workshop.

Student Report on “The Disenchantment of Love: Dating in the Digital Age among College Students in Beijing”

Reported by Lia Smith, Class of 2026

This lecture and student workshop were a part of the Gender Studies Initiative’s event series. Each event connects gender to a range of topics where gender, sexuality, and feminism are discussed.

On February 1st, 2024, this event brought together Professor Xiying Wang from Beijing Normal University and 29 event attendees for a lecture on how her new focus group data on dating culture in the digital age among college students in Beijing uncovers a new form of emerging culture and perspective on love and dating.

Following the development of communication technologies, digital media has become a mediator in all sorts of relationships, one of them being dating. This is evident in how young single people are making friends and finding dating partners through the digital world. However, through the standardization of communication technologies, perspectives on love and dating, relationship categorization, and the ways in which relationships start and end begin to take on different forms from our traditional understanding.

The May 4th movement symbolized new forms of modernity including love, freedom, democracy, and science. Professor Wang proceeds to explain how the growing process of intellectualization and rationalization has resulted in a belief that we are no longer ruled by mysterious, unpredictable forces. So, does technology make love a more concrete and predictable force? Does it disenchant love?

Professor Wang continues her lecture by introducing the data from her study, focusing on what words are used to address dating, ranging from traditional terms to playful, uncommitted phrases. These different ways of describe and address their dating situations show that college students have diversified dating experiences.

Some relationships start and end online, often referred to 恋爱永远在线 in Chinese. They use online chats to go on dates, they confess feelings and love online, and when the relationship is made official, they announce their dating partner on online platforms. Major milestones and relationship building all happen online. Additionally, when there are issues in these types of relationships, they seek help or quarrel in public online forums. Following the pattern, these relationships also break-up online as well. These individuals see every app as a potential dating app, since the internet is an unlimited space to get to know people.

These online relationships have massive benefits of anonymity, mobility, flexibility. However, there are those who argue that technology has added a false touch to dating. With online interactions, the interactions could be inauthentic. This is seen with heavy photoshop usage and online exchanges that are misinterpreted.

These changes in interactions and relationship developments have also altered the ideal of love. People seem to no longer believe in the idea of romantic love; instead, the emphasis is on communication, tolerance, mutual pursuit and growth.

After the lecture, the student workshop offered students who attended the lecture the opportunity to discuss their different perspectives and observations on Professor Wang’s new research with her. Students shared how the DKU community environment, with its mesh of both the international and domestic population, created a different dynamic and perspective of love that could potentially be relevant to her research. Additionally, Professor Wang and students talked about how money and status play into both on-online and in-person romantic relations, with an example being only daughters from the Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai areas. Finally, students shared some of the research projects and received feedback and suggestions from Professor Wang.