WGS Events

WGS Events: 2014-15

Stay tuned for upcoming events in 2015!

WGS Events: Highlights from 2013-14

Gloom with a View: Life & Work of Michelle Handelman
Associate Professor, Film & Media , Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC

A deep look into the stories and histories behind artist Michelle Handelman's latest works. Handelman reveals the stories and personal connections between her life and her last three works: This Delicate Monster (2004) based on Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil (1857); Dorian, A Cinematic Perfume (2009) based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1889) and her most recent project Irma Vep, The Last Breath (2013), based on the character Irma Vep from the silent film Les Vampires (1915). This trilogy transforms gothic literary and film works into contemporary pieces that interweave personal history and the history of her performers through a queer feminist lens.

MICHELLE HANDELMAN, uses video, live performance and photography to make confrontational works that explore the sublime in its various forms of excess and nothingness. Her background is a study in opposites – raised during the late 60s/early 70s, Handelman splits her time between Chicago, where her mother was a fixture in the art world, and Los Angeles, where her father was part of the counterculture sex industry. Over the years Handelman has voraciously traversed both these worlds, developing a body of work that investigates ways of looking at the forbidden and revealing dark, subconscious layers of outsider agency.

Tuesday, April 15th, 6-7 pm in Building 180, Room 114

This event is co-sponsored by the Cal Poly Art & Design and Women's and Gender Studies Departments. Free and open to the public.

Conversations with Cal Poly Authors
featuring Mary Stewart Atwell with Elizabeth Adan 

Friday, April 18th, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Rm. 111H


Join us to discuss Mary Stewart Atwell’s new book Wild Girls on April 18, 2014. Elizabeth Adan will join Mary in conversation.

From Amazon:

 Mary Stewart Atwell has written a novel that is at once funny and wise and stunningly inventive. Her wild girls are strange and fascinating creatures — a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness — and a promise of the great things to come from this young writer.

Read a sample of the book here.

Coffee and light refreshments will be served. There will be lots of time for questions!

Mary Stewart Atwell

Mary Stewart Atwell

About the author

Mary Stewart Atwell, MFA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2002; MA, University of Virginia, 2007; Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2013, is an English professor at Cal Poly. In addition to writing Wild Girls, her short fiction has appeared in journals including Epoch and Alaska Quarterly Review, and in the anthologies Best New American Voices and Best American Short Stories.


Elizabeth Adan

Elizabeth Adan

About the guest

Elizabeth Adan is an associate professor of art history at Cal Poly. She has an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Contemporary Art, Religion, and Cultural Analysis with a Doctoral Emphasis in Women’s Studies from U.C.S.B. She also holds an MA in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley and an MFA in Studio Art from U.C.S.B. In 2000-2001 she was a Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

Jody Lisberger

Cal Poly Visiting Professor Jody Lisberger to discuss "Challenging the Myth of Disposable Women" Feb. 12


Cal Poly Visiting Professor to Discuss ‘Challenging the Myth of Disposable Women’ Feb. 12
SAN LUIS OBISPO – Visiting Cal Poly Professor Jody Lisberger will deliver a presentation titled “Teaching to Disrupt Gender: Challenging the Myth of Disposable Women” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Philips Hall in the Performing Arts Center on campus.
Lisberger is the recipient of Cal Poly’s 2013-14 Susan Currier Visiting Professorship for Teaching Excellence Award. Her talk will explore her thoughts on the function of mainstream understandings of gender in historical and contemporary contexts.

She will discuss the “myth of disposable women,” including the gendered division of labor and the assumptions and practices that support it. Lisberger contends that students who are encouraged to question the pervasiveness of this myth and explore its consequences are better prepared to respond to 21st century challenges and to work, collaborate and interact more responsibly and effectively in an increasingly diverse and transnational workplace and world.

Lisberger will also offer suggestions for how teachers and educational institutions can better challenge the myth of disposable women.  

An associate professor and director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island, Lisberger has been at Cal Poly since fall 2013 and will remain through the end of winter quarter.

Her academic interests include researching how gendered and racially biased norms get perpetuated through institutions and societal practices. She has recently published essays and given talks on “The Politics of Data,” “Feminist Co-Mentoring as a Model for Changing Institutional Behavior,” and “Pharmaceutical Marketing Choices: Why Women Should Take Heed.”

Lisberger is a prize-winning fiction writer and faculty member at Kentucky’s Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program. Her collection of short stories, titled “Remember Love,” received nominations for a National Book Award, Hemingway Foundation Award, and Winship/PEN New England Award.

She received the 2011 University of Rhode Island Faculty Excellence Award in Diversity Leadership and Scholarship. She earned her doctorate in English from Boston University, a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Vermont College, and a Master of Arts in English with distinction from Boston College.

The Susan Currier Visiting Professorship for Teaching Excellence is a residential teaching professorship that recognizes superior teaching in the liberal arts, emphasizing the intersection between gender/women's issues and global justice/humanitarian concerns.

The professorship honors and sustains the late Susan Currier’s commitment to education. Currier served as an associate dean of Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and as a professor of English. The professorship is made possible through contributions by the Currier family, including husband Max Wills, and private donors.

The event is free and open to the public.

- College of Liberal Arts: 
- Women’s & Gender Studies Department:
- Susan Currier Visiting Professorship:

About the Women’s and Gender Studies Department
The Women’s & Gender Studies Department is an interdisciplinary academic department that promotes a critical understanding of how genders and sexualities shape and are shaped by social, political, ethical, economic, legal and cultural institutions in historical and contemporary contexts to students across all disciplines at Cal Poly. The department strives to promote scholarly inquiry, education and activism that utilizes an integrative perspective, exploring the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, religion, dis/abilities, and other social categories within both national and transnational contexts.

# # #


Conversations with Cal Poly Authors featuring Jody Lisberger in conversation with Debra Valencia-Laver
Friday, February 7, 10 - 11:30am in Kennedy Library, Room 111H

Lisberger and Valencia-Laver will discuss Lisberger's collection of short stories and will feature her book, "Remember Love."


Writing Beyond Boundaries

Rebecca Walker

Author of “Ade: A Love Story”

Cal Poly will host author Rebecca Walker for a reading and discussion of her debut novel “Ade: A Love Story” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics (Building 180), Room 114, for a presentation titled “Writing Beyond Boundaries.” Walker will address issues of race and gender, politics and power, and art and culture. Following the reading, a conversation with the author will take place.

Her newest publication tells the story of a spirited American woman and Swahili Muslim man who fall in love while on the island of Lamu, located off the coast of Kenya. After Ade asks Farida’s hand in marriage, the two are forced to leave the island to prepare for their marriage. The novel pits the private couple alongside a world in the midst of the Persian Gulf War.

Walker has been featured in print publications such as Glamour, The Washington Post, and Newsweek, as well as in television programs “Good Morning America” and “Oprah.” Named one of the most influential leaders of her generation by Time Magazine, she also starred alongside Emma Thompson and John Travolta in Mike Nichols’ film, “Primary Colors.” 

Thurs. Nov. 21st, 6:30 p.m.
Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics, 180-114

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts’ Lottery Speakers Fund; Writers Collective; Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity; Women’s and Gender Studies, English, Ethnic Studies and History Departments; and the Robert E. Kennedy Library. 

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact the Women’s and Gender Studies Dept. at or call 805-756-1525.

Mustang Article:

Please consult this page throughout the academic year for more information about WGS events.


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