Women’s History Month Celebrated at Island University

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In an effort to bring more visibility to the important work women have done and continue to do, Women’s History Month is celebrated this March at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. This year’s programming includes academic talks, film screenings, a women’s trivia night, workshops, poetry readings, a conversation with a panel of local women professionals about entering the world of Arts and Media, and a Library Guide devoted specifically to achievements of American women who have worked towards ending discrimination against women and girls. CLICK HERE for a full calendar of events.

The four co-coordinators of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – Dr. Lisa Comparini, Associate Professor of Psychology; Dr. Beth Robinson, Professional Assistant Professor of History; Dr. Kathryn Vomero Santos, Assistant Professor of English; and Dr. Jennifer Sorensen, Assistant Professor of English – also oversee the programming for Women’s History Month.

“In the discussion and planning of programming for Women’s History Month, the theme of ‘collaboration’ came up often,” said the group. “The four of us worked closely and flexibly on all aspects of planning and implementation and see this as a distinctly feminist strategy for maximizing our skills and efforts.”

Women’s History Month at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi kicked off March 1 with an inspiring lecture by Dr. Rachel Ida Buff, Professor at UW-Milwaukee, who spoke about the history of immigration and a coalition of activists and lawyers who helped fight for immigrant rights in cases of pending deportation in the past. The detailed and fascinating history ended with a call to action to fight for immigrant rights and oppose unjust deportations and terror within our communities. 

Events held on March 2 included an afternoon workshop and evening lecture, both focusing explicitly on intersectional feminism and women of color feminist approaches. At the lunchtime workshop, Dr. Rachel González-Martin, Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, spoke powerfully about the history of women of color feminisms and called on participants to disrupt, decenter and decolonize their teaching, scholarship and creative work. Then, Itzel García, a poet, storyteller and theorist, shared her gut-wrenching poetry inspired by her theories of writing from the body as a way of healing from personal traumas and histories of trauma. 

“Both women advocated using our emotions in our writing and thinking, and many of the audience members were moved to tears and to constrained breathing by the intensity and power of the work of these women,” said the collective.

In the evening keynote lecture, Dr. González-Martin returned to share her important interdisciplinary work on “Quinceañera Style as Feminist Praxis” and focused on the voices of young girls as they refashion the coming-of-age ritual as a personal act of self-representation and sometimes into an activist spectacle.

While the month-long celebration of Women’s History Month at the Island University is free and open to the public, faculty in charge are especially excited for Islander students enrolled in the WGST minor to attend.

“We want students to see that feminism is intersectional, relevant to their daily experiences, and capable of making their lives better,” said the four faculty. “For students enrolled in WGST courses, we are particularly keen on having their learning extend outside the classroom, so they can connect the materials from the WGST-focused courses to Women’s History Month events and current events.”

Comparini, Robinson, Santos, and Sorensen say that ‘now’ is an historic time, where there seems to be an increased visibility for feminism and more avenues for women’s voices, while at the same time, there has been a renewed attack on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.

“At the federal and state levels, there have been many attacks on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights that threaten the advances that feminists fought for and achieved in the past,” said the women. “By celebrating the achievements of women, we hope to inspire and inform the Corpus Christi community as we push for greater equality for all people in the present and the future.”

Comparini, Robinson, Santos, and Sorensen hope to not only grow the Women’s History Month celebration each year, but to also shine a spotlight on the WGST minor.

“The WGST program is an 18-credit hour minor which offers a wide range of courses that take an in-depth look at some of the issues that both women and men faces in contemporary society,” said the collective. “Because the minor is interdisciplinary – with leadership from English, psychology and history – we are committed to representing as many disciplines as possible in our course offerings.”

Women’s History Month is sponsored in part by the Miriam Wagenschein Endowment and the Division of Academic Affairs at A&M-Corpus Christi and is made possible thanks to the assistance of many volunteers.