Olivia Garcia

Olivia Garcia

In a few days, March will arrive, marking the return of Women’s History Month.

Since the late 1980s, organizations and individuals across the nation have used this opportunity to recognize the significant contributions of women in the United States.

As part of that celebration, Bakersfield College will hold a series of events, thanks to the work of the group Women’s History and More, also known as WHAM. All events are free and open to the public. Free parking will be offered as well.

This year, the WHAM events will explore “ways in which historical portrayals of women originated, evolved and continue to influence modern presentations of ‘self,’ especially on social media,” said Erin Miller, BC history professor and a member of WHAM.

The highlighted event, “Women in the Middle Passage: Gender, Slavery and the Problem of Writing History,” will be presented by New York University history professor Jennifer L. Morgan. Her presentation will be held 7 p.m. March 2 at the Levan Center for the Humanities, which is also sponsoring the event.

“Customarily we’ve studied history through the lens of men and their expectations; this is called the male gaze,” Miller said. “In her talk, Dr. Morgan will consider how viewing history through the lens of women enriches our understanding of the experience of both men and children.”

A partial list of other events planned are as follows:

• A viewing of the documentary “Miss Representation,” to be held 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 6, in Forum 102 at BC and 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the Delano Campus (room TBD).

A discussion will take place. The event will be moderated by Elizabeth Rodacker, English for multilingual students professor, and Susanne Langham, philosophy and religious studies professor. The Levan Center for the Humanities, which is directed by Jack Hernandez, is also sponsoring the event.

• Two nights of improv featuring “Male Gaze & Female Haze, Brian's Beard Improv Theatre Troupe” on March 9 and 10 at BC’s Black Box Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is organized by theater and performing arts professor Kim Chin and co-sponsored by the Performing Art Department. A suggested donation of $5 is requested. There's adult context and language.

• A panel discussion “The Evolution of the Selfie: Deconstruction of the Female from 1400 to the Present,” 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the Fireside Room.

Moderated by Tina Mendoza, a Taft College history professor and member of WHAM, the discussion will “address the historical and social constructions of femininity, as well as the power these stereotypes continue to exert through language, self-presentation and individual interpretation,” Miller said.

The discussion will feature the following panelists: Miller, Andrea Thorson, BC communications professor, Jessica Grimes, Taft College English professor, and Faheemah Salahud-Din, executive director of First and Always Melanin (FAAM). The event is sponsored by Friends of Women’s History Month, the Bakersfield College Alumni Association, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities.

WHAM committee members gave special thanks to Ann Wiederrecht, BC history professor, for her leadership over the years in leading such vital campus events.

HISTORY FORUM: Speaking of historical events happening in town, Cal State Bakersfield will feature a presentation on “What do Politics have to do with Starving Millions? Digital Humanities Approaches to the History of Philanthropy.” It will be held 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Walter Stiern Library’s Dezember Reading Room. This event is free and open to the public.

At the History Forum, Shrout will examine the history of philanthropic giving during the Irish Famine, according to Kate Mulry, a CSUB history professor.

According to the flier on her visit, Shrout will discuss “digital humanities tools to explore the motivations of donors to victims of the famine in Ireland in the 1840s and to better understand the complicated ways in which disaster, philanthropy and politics intersected in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world.”

Shrout holds a PhD in history from New York University and teaches classes on Atlantic and American history, the digital history and environmental history at Cal State Fullerton.

On her website Shrout writes, “My research focuses on the nineteenth-century origins of international humanitarianism, and particularly the ways in which philanthropic donations were used as proxies for arguments about governance in the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

“I’m also interested in how the ‘internet age’ changes the way we interact with sources and with students — and in how the digital humanities shape what we do both as scholars and as teachers.”

Shrout’s presentation is expected to generate an enlightening discussion. Hope to see you there.

Email contributing columnist Olivia Garcia at oliviagarcia2@icloud.com. The views expressed are her own.

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