March 01, 2017

Annual Gender Studies Symposium Finds a Point of Access

Featuring panels, discussions, and keynote lectures from Roxane Gay and Eli Clare, Lewis & Clark’s 36th annual Gender Studies Symposium, “Point of Access,” will confront how gender and sexuality interact with power. The symposium, which runs March 8 through 10 and is free and open to the public, is a student-led effort to foster conversations on the nuances of privilege and accessibility.

There is no uniform expression, narrative, or struggle that comes with the experience of gender. This year’s Gender Studies Symposium “Point of Access”, running March 8 through 10, will navigate these complexities. How has the loss of archives impacted the public understanding of gender and race throughout history? Is feminism to be a militant set of rules or an individualized set of beliefs? Is it possible for a body of people diverse in ability, sexuality, aesthetic, race, and nationality to works towards a common goal in the name of gender?

Student-led, and supported by Associate Professor With Term of Humanities Kim Brodkin and Lewis & Clark’s interdisciplinary Gender Studies program, “Point of Access” will begin Wednesday morning with a discussion of sex and death in cultural expression, moderated by Associate Professor of English Karen Gross. This will kick off the collection of over 25 panels, performances, presentations, and workshops taking place over the three days.  

This year’s symposium will also proudly present two keynote speakers: writer and activist Eli Clare will present Wednesday evening, and author and cultural critic Roxane Gay will present Friday evening. Clare will examine how the notion of “defectiveness” has damaged communities throughout history, from the use of shock therapy to cure homosexuality through the 1960s to the disability-based bullying that occurs today. Gay will be presenting “An Evening with Roxane Gay: Making a Point of Access,” discussing gender and intersectionality.

“I am personally extremely excited for our keynotes, whose incredible work draws attention to both the interpersonal and systemic aspects of feminist, LGBT, and disability focused activism,” said student cochair Bryn Parry ’18. “The symposium is a valuable opportunity for the campus and wider community to come together and explore academic and activist work around gender and sexuality. There’s something for everyone, whether feminism is a brand new concept to you or if you’ve been reading the theory for years.”  

The symposium’s events will be supplemented by the annual student-curated Gender Studies Symposium Art Exhibition, titled Access. The aim of this year’s exhibition is to dismantle the idea that there is a singular experience of gender or sexuality, illustrated through its personal and individualized works of art.

For a full schedule of speakers and events visit the symposium’s website.

Gender Studies Department

Diversity and Inclusion


This story was written by Scout Brobst ’20.