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Consortium Speaker Series

The Consortium's Speaker Series brings an international roster of frontline practitioners, reflective activists and engaged scholars to University of Massachusetts Boston's campus. Their talks address the complex realities of women’s and men’s lives and livelihoods in conflict-affected areas, the challenges of trying to bring feminist commitments into security policy and humanitarian practice, and the ways in which gender analysis can and must transform resolutely “gender-blind” paradigms of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Information about Upcoming Speaker Events, Events Earlier This Year, and Past Speaker Events is available here. You can find videos or transcripts of these events, when available, under Consortium Lectures.

Upcoming Speaker Events

“Crippled for Cassava”?: Gender, History, and Violence in a Mozambique Development Scheme

Heidi Gengenbach
Assistant Professor of History, College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts Boston

April 2, 2019
2:00pm - 4:00pm

Integrated Sciences Complex, 3rd Floor, Conference Room 3300, UMass Boston

RSVP

In this talk, Gengenbach draws on interviews, survey data, and archives to understand women’s responses to a controversial development project in Mozambique. The project, supported by USAID and the Gates Foundation, purchases women’s staple food crop for the manufacture of Impala, the world’s first cassava-based commercial beer. Modeled on the “New Green Revolution for Africa” approach to hunger-reduction, the project claims that women’s adoption of high-yield varieties and chemical inputs will enable them to earn income and improve food security through the sale of “surplus” cassava. Yet in coastal southern Mozambique, where women have grown, cooked, and traded this American root crop for 250 years, project implementers have faced angry opposition—including charges of extortion and assault—from the very farmers they purport to help. Gengenbach analyzes these charges historically, linking women’s conversion of a foreign cultigen into an edible commodity with the gendered violence of competing slave trades, and a precolonial “indigenous agricultural revolution” (Richards 1985) with women’s fight to preserve a cassava-centered food system ever since.

This event is being cosponsored by the UMass Boston CLA Dean's Office; Anthropology Dept; Economics Dept; History Dept; Political Science Dept; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Dept and Human Rights Minor; the Honors College; the Sociology Club; and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

How Much Land Does a Woman Need? Women, Land Rights and Rural Development

Esther Kingston-Mann
Professor Emerita of History, University of Massachusetts Boston

April 18, 2019
4:00pm - 6:00pm

Integrated Sciences Complex, 3rd Floor, Conference Room 3300, UMass Boston

RSVP

The failure to include gender in the economic history of rural development has severely limited our understanding of the colonial, privatizing and collectivist economic policies that disrupted and transformed the lives of rural women and men in the modern world. This talk will rewrite a piece of that history, exploring rural development in 20th-century Kenya through the lens of women’s labor and land claims. In the course of the 20th-century, Kikuyu women resisted efforts by husbands, fathers, brothers, tribal authorities and the state to control women-cultivated lands. Were these women seeking private land of their own, or were they advancing claims that didn't fit neatly into preconceived capitalist or pre-capitalist categories?

This event is being cosponsored by the UMass Boston CLA Dean's Office; Anthropology Dept; Economics Dept; History Dept; Political Science Dept; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Dept and Human Rights Minor; the Honors College; the Sociology Club; and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

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