Undergraduate Symposium on Masculinities | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

Undergraduate Symposium on Masculinities

The GSWS program held the Undergraduate Symposium on Masculinities on April 21, 2017. Nineteen undergraduate students from the University of Pittsburgh – and one student from Ohio State University – showcased their work on panels and round tables throughout the day. These included “Deconstructing Global Masculinity,” “Images and Interpretations of Masculinities,” “Masculinity and Violence,” “Black Masculinities, Racism, and Whiteness,” and “Masculinity and Privilege.”

Above: GSWS student Tamara Farrell presents on African Masculinities and the Patriarchal Eroticization of Power.

All of the panels were lively and well attended. We recently checked in with some of the presenters, who shared their experiences at the event. Alissa DePiro, a Neuroscience and GSWS double major at Pitt, replied: “My experience at the masculinities symposium was very positive. I found it to be an enriching experience that allowed me to present my research and discuss other topics in masculinities with fellow undergraduate students.” Tamara Farrell, a recent Pitt graduate with degrees in Statistics-Economics and GSWS, provided an enthusiastic review. Farrell explains, “This was my second time participating in a GSWS Undergraduate Symposium, and both times were incredible experiences. Being able to share my work with my colleagues in a setting outside of the classroom has been unique in that it has given me a platform to broadcast my ideas to a wider audience while forcing me to think more critically and intricately about the work I’m presenting. The symposium has also helped quell some of my public speaking anxiety because every year the audience is such an attentive, yet welcoming group of people. I’ve graduated, but I wish I hadn’t so I could participate again!” Cole Boillat, a junior at Pitt studying Neuroscience and Music Composition with minors in GSWS and Chemistry, also noted the welcoming audience; he states, “It was amazing to be able to present my work in such a welcoming environment.”

Our keynote speaker was local writer Brian Broome, who has published on being a black gay man in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community. During his lecture, humorously titled “Balls,” Broome shared his writings and reflections in a deeply personal and engaging way, challenging dominant narratives about masculinity, race, and sexuality.

Symposium participants and volunteers received this mug as a special thanks and a memento to remember the day.Right: Symposium participants and volunteers received this mug as a special thanks and a memento to remember the day.

Many people contributed to making this symposium a success. Our volunteer moderators included Sam Allen, Matt Lovett, William Scott, Julie Van Gyzen, and Julie Beaulieu. This year’s symposium organizing committee was co-chaired by us – GSWS faculty Julie Beaulieu and Marie Skoczylas – and also included Emily Deering Crosby from GSWS and Alana Fields, a graduate student in Sociology. We would also like to thank Karen Lillis, who helped with event planning details.

We are very grateful to our sponsors for enabling such a successful event. They include the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Charles Crow Fund, the Honors College, GSWS, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Thank you for your support.

This symposium built on the success of the undergraduate conferences from the past two years, which focused on sexuality studies in 2015 and gender and the body in 2016. The GSWS program plans to continue this tradition next spring.

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