Colloquium Series

The CRGW Colloquium Series showcases the work of cutting-edge gender and intersectional scholars from both the University of Wisconsin—Madison and other universities. See below for upcoming and previous colloquia.

Spring 2024

Dr. Claudia Sofia Garriga Lopez

Transfeminist Puerto Rico
Claudia Sofia Garriga Lopez
Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 1:30 pm in 3401 Sterling Hall and virtually via Zoom.

This presentation documents and analyzes the contemporary history of transfeminism in Puerto Rico as a radical politics that centers trans liberation and upholds an anti-racist, decolonial, pro-migrant, anti-capitalist, pro-sex worker, and environmentalist stance. It traces the emergence of transfeminism in Puerto Rico to the leadership of feminist, queer, and trans students during the University of Puerto Rico strikes of 2005, 2010-2011, and 2017, and the massive protests of the summer of 2019. Dr. Garriga-López will map out a constellation transfeminist organizations such as Espicy Nipples, Sombrilla Cuir, El Hangar, La Casa del Joseo, Entre Putxs, Casa Cuna Editorial, Polvora Colectiva, The Trans Youth Coalition, and Borivogue, as well as feminist organizations predominantly comprised of cisgendered members like La Coalición del 8 de Marzo, Todas PR, Aborto Libre, La Colectiva Feminista en Construcción (La Cole), La Impresora, and Taller Salud who are taking on trans politics with a serious commitment. Their work is as varied as the needs and interests of the feminist, queer, and trans members who make up these organizations. Far from being a single-issue identity-based politics, Puerto Rican transfeminism represents a vibrant cultural scene and intersectional mutual aid ethos.

Claudia Sofía Garriga-López is an assistant professor of queer and trans Latinx studies in the Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies of California State University, Chico. She is currently conducting a year-long ethnographic research project with the San Juan-based Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico as a fellow in the Arts Research with Communities of Color Initiative. Her scholarly work is grounded in a critical engagement with activism, public policy, and public health, as well as trans, feminist, and queer performance art and cultural production in Latin America, the Caribbean, and within people of color communities in the United States. She conducted long-term participatory research with trans, feminist, and queer activists and artist groups in Quito, Ecuador, and is currently researching transfeminism’s emergence in Puerto Rico. Garriga-López is the author of “Transfeminist Crossroads: Reimagining the Ecuadorian State” published in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (2016), and is also one of the coeditors for the “Trans Studies en las Américas” issue of TSQ (2019). Her scholarship, poetry, and visual art have been featured in several publications, including Sinister Wisdom, the Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, and Latinas: Struggles and Protest in Twenty-First Century USA.

Dr. Dána-Ain Davis facing the camera, wearing black rimmed glasses and a bright blue collared shirt
Dr. Dána-Ain Davis [Photo by Alex Irklievski ]
The Traumatic Repercussions of Obstetric Racism
Dána-Ain Davis
Thursday March 21, 2024, 1:30 pm CST at the UW South Madison Partnership (2238 S. Park St.) and virtually via Zoom.

***Please register here***

The UW Collaborative for Reproductive Equity and the Center for Research on Gender and Women present a free talk, open to all, by Dána-Ain Davis. There will be in-person and virtual attendance options (details to come).

Davis is a professor of urban studies and anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

In the last decade, Davis has focused her attention on reproduction, race, and the technologies that assist in reproduction. She has written several articles addressing issues of reproduction and racism, including “The Politics of Reproduction: The Troubling Case of Nadya Suleman,” “Obstetric Racism: The Racial Politics of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birthing,” and “The Bone Collectors.”

She is the author, co-author, or co-editor of five books, the most recent being Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth. In Reproductive Injustice, Davis examines medical racism in the lives of professional Black women who have given birth prematurely.

Additionally, Davis has published Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place; Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America with Christa Craven; Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges and Possibilities with Christa Craven; and Black Genders and Sexualities with Shaka McGlotten.

Davis has been engaged in social justice, particularly reproductive justice over the last 30 years. Learn more about Davis.


Dr. Sara Warner

Madison’s Queer Militant History: Lorraine Hansberry’s “Flowers for the General”
Sara Warner
Thursday, March 14, 2024, 3:30 pm in 3401 Sterling Hall and virtually via Zoom.

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry, best known as the author of A Raisin in the Sun, attended UW-Madison in the late 1940s, leaving before she completed her degree. A member of the campus’ Young Communist League, she participated in a number of political actions, one of which she documents in an unpublished play, Flowers for the General. Set in a women’s dormitory in the wake of World War II, this full-length script follows a diverse group of students debating pacifism and whether they should participate in an upcoming ceremony honoring a military hero’s visit to campus. The real drama, however, revolves around a stolen diary and the outing of a freshman Marcia, whose journal overflows with Sapphic love poetry for senior Maxine. I show how this unpublished script decenters Stonewall as our LGBTQ+ myth of origin. Penned in 1955 during the Lavender Scare and the author’s participation in the Civil Rights and Homophile Movements, this play sheds light on forgotten intersectional alliances among Black Freedom fighters, gay liberationists, and the New Left.

Sara Warner (she/her) is Director of LGBT Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. She studies the art of activism, paying particular attention to the role joy, laughter, and pleasure play in creating and sustaining social change. Her work takes many forms, from academic tomes and mainstream journalism to community-based plays and the staging of “patriot acts” – political performances on national holidays. Sara’s first book, Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure, received the Outstanding Book Award from the Association of Theater in Higher Education, an Honorable Mention for the Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research, and was named a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She is working on two monographs, a book about the queer life and art of dramatist Lorraine Hansberry and a memoir about her grandmother’s travels in the South Pacific during the Great Depression.

Dr. Christopher Hommerding

Stone Houses, Stone City, and Stone Walls: Queer Pasts of the Upper Midwest and the Potential of (Counter) Public Queer History
Christopher Hommerding
Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 1:30 pm in 3401 Sterling Hall and virtually via Zoom

The field of queer history is usually a bicoastal venture, with the flyover country of the Upper Midwest often overlooked. This is especially true of places outside of urban centers and of stories not easily incorporated into LGBTQ public history narratives, which emphasize social movement history. This presentation examines three pre-Stonewall queer histories of the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota) that emerged in spaces outside of urban centers and run counter to social movement narratives. Drawing on theories of counterpublics, this presentation speculates that a (counter)public history of queerness – one not rooted in social movement narratives – might better present the transformative queer possibilities inherent in these stories of stone houses, Stone City, and stone walls.

Chris Hommerding is an independent historian and holds a PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work focuses on histories of gender, sexuality, and the built and natural environments. He works in the field of public history as an architectural historian.

Professor Vick Quezada

Queering the Archaeological
Vick Quezada
Wednesday, January 31. 2024, 1:30 pm in 3401 Sterling Hall and virtually via Zoom.

Quezada is an acclaimed mixed media artist working in sculpture, assemblage, found objects, video performance, and ceramics. Their lecture will explore Chicanx inspired art called Rasquache through the themes of settler colonial domination, assimilation and discipline. Here, Quezada queers the archaeological through a focus on material objects and forms that combines indigenous knowledge and spirituality with nature’s queer ecology. In the process, they connect personal narrative, historical and anthropological research, and activism informed by critical theory.

Currently, Quezada lives in New Haven, CT. and is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts. Quezada recently served as a Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. In 2021, they received the prestigious US Latinx Art Forum Fellowship co-sponsored by Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and the Ford Foundation in Latinx art. In 2020 Quezada was hand selected from a “large-scale survey” of 40 emerging artists from the US and Puerto Rico to be featured in El Museo del Barrio’s groundbreaking, La Trienal. From 2019-20 Quezada was the artist-in-residence at the Latinx Project at NYU. Quezada was selected as the UMASS Contemporary Arts Curatorial Fellow in 2018, along with Fred Wilson, who curated the show. Quezada will be participating in the following exhibits: Underneath Everything, Humility and Grandeur in Contemporary Ceramics on display at the Des Moines Art Center from August 26 to December 16 and then at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from October 7 to January 13, 2024. Following at the Weil Gallery Corpus Christi, Texas from October 19, 2023, to January 16, 2024, Schaefer Art Gallery, Feb. 26 – April 7th, 2024 and in August 2024, From the Ground Up: Nurturing Diversity in Hostile Environments at the Armory Center for the Arts in Los Angeles. Their work has been featured in Hyperallergic, BOMB Magazine, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Art News, Trans Studies Quarterly, and Remezcla. Quezada received a Bachelors from University Texas at El Paso and their MFA from University Massachusetts at Amherst.

Fall 2023

Professor Meghan Moe Beitiks

Performing Resilience for Systemic Pain
Professor Meghan Moe Beitiks
Friday, September 22, 2023, 12:00 pm (lunch included), in 3331 Sterling Hall (the CRGW)
Co-sponsored with the Center for Visual Cultures

While reflecting on her multidisciplinary work “Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience,” artist Meghan Moe Beitiks considers bodies of knowledge in Trauma Theory, Intersectional Feminist Philosophy, Ecology, Disability Studies, New Materialism, Object-Oriented Ontology, Gender Studies, Artistic Research, Psychology, Performance Studies, Social Justice, Performance Philosophy, Performance Art, and a series of first-person interviews in an attempt to answer that question. Beitiks brings us through the first-person process of making the work and the real-life, embodied encounters with the theories explored within it as an expansion of the work itself. Embodied encounters prompted by the experience of the research and material in the book will lead to a workshop of creative exploration and communal brainstorming.

Meghan Moe Beitiks (she/they) works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology through the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that examines relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation.

She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied playwriting, acting, movement and scenic design. She has an MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Bio Art, Social Practice, Environmental Chemistry, and performance methodologies.

She has presented work in California, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia, Australia and Russia. She has been a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, an OxBow LeRoy Neiman Fellow, a Bemis Artist in Residence, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s recipient for the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.  She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at Concordia University, with a focus on Ecology, Performance and Design.

Professor Bridget Cooks

Conjure: Art and the Black Supernatural
Professor Bridget Cooks
Monday, September 25, 2023:

1:15-2:30 p.m.  Workshop for grad students and faculty, Hagen Room, Rm 150, Dept. of Art History, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building: “Art, Museums, and the Fear of a Black Planet

5:00-6:00 p.m. Reception, Chazen Lobby, Chazen Museum of Art

6:00-7:15 p.m.  Public Lecture: “Conjure: Art and the Black Supernatural,” Chazen Auditorium, Chazen Museum of Art

Tuesday, September 26

9:30 -11:00 a.m. Gallery Conversation about Exhibiting the Emancipation Group and Lifting the Veil

Co-sponsored with the Department of Art History

In the public lecture, “Conjure: Art and the Black Supernatural” Prof. Cooks will discuss visual expressions of faith and the supernatural as a quotidian feature of African American culture. Beginning with the presence of paranormal sensory communication during the enslavement period, Cooks will address spiritually inspired visions and magic as critical to the struggle for racial freedom over time. For many artists, the supernatural is one explanation for the resilience of Black people. It offers hope for complete liberation in future worlds. Examples of artworks from the nineteenth century to the present will be featured.

Bridget R. Cooks is Professor of Art History and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She received the M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from University of Rochester, and the BA “cum laude” in Art History from the University of California-Irvine.

Her research focuses on African American artists, Black visual culture, and museum criticism. She is author of the book Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011). Her writing can be found in dozens of art exhibition catalogues and academic publications such as the journals Afterall, Afterimage, American Studies, Aperture, and American Quarterly.

Cooks has curated several exhibitions including, Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California, (2018) at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Ernie Barnes: A Retrospective at the California African American Museum (2019) (CAAM), The Black Index (four venue national tour), Dissolve (Langson IMCA, University Art Gallery, UC Irvine) and Lava Thomas: Homecoming (2022) at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.

Prior to her appointment at UCI, she taught in the Department of Art and Art History and the Program of Ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University. She also served as museum educator for the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Professor Marwa Shalaby

Who Supports Gender Quotas in Autocracies?
Professor Marwa Shalaby
Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 1:30 pm, via Zoom

What are the drivers of citizens’ support for electoral gender quotas in transition- ing and authoritarian states? Despite extensive research examining public support for women in politics in democracies, we know little about how the public perceives them in less democratic settings. The talk will focus on the determinants of citizens’ attitudes toward gender quotas in authoritarian Morocco and transitioning Tunisia – two Arab countries hailed for their progressive gender policies.

Marwa Shalaby is an assistant professor in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin, Shalaby was the Fellow for the Middle East, Director of the Women’s Rights in the Middle East Program at Rice University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD), the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Shalaby’s research areas are gender politics, authoritarianism, and legislative politics. Her work focuses primarily on the intersection of legislative politics, authoritarianism, and women in politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Politics and Gender and the Review of Economics and Political Science. Shalaby is also a steering committee member of the GLD Institute. Shalaby’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Politics and Gender, Comparative Politics, PS: Political Science & Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Parliamentary Affairs, and the Middle East Journal, among others.

Ramzi Fawaz
Professor Ramzi Fawaz

Webbed Attachments: Psychedelic Lessons from the Multiverse
Professor Ramzi Fawaz
Monday, October 30, 2023, 6:00 pm, Elvehjem Building, Room L140, 800 University Avenue
Co-sponsored with the Center for the Humanities

This Focus on the Humanities talk explores how the fundamental qualities of the psychedelic experience—including heightened affective intensity, the dissolution of the ego, and a sense of cosmic interconnectedness with the world—offers a hopeful alternative to contemporary identitarianism, a left political logic which frequently associates the pursuit of social justice with the defense of seemingly coherent, bounded marginalized subjectivities. Building on Wendy Brown’s classic formulation of “wounded attachment,” Fawaz argues that in a painful paradox, the obsessive attachment to cultural identity as the vehicle for articulating marginalized subjects’ bids for political freedom, often masks the underlying desire to commune freely across our differences. Against this logic, Fawaz turns to the distinctly psychedelic animated film, Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse (2018), which uses the titular superhero’s signature “webbing” as a visual theory of attachment and affiliation across infinite differences. By visually and conceptually fracturing Spider-Man’s seemingly coherent ego across time and space, the film presents the fictional concept of the multiverse as a distinctly psychedelic figure for conceiving differences as an endless web of relations across multiple dimensions rather than rigidly formed identities.

Ramzi Fawaz is a Romnes Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radi­cal Imagination of American Comics (2016) and Queer Forms (2022). With Darieck Scott he coedited a special issue of American Literature titled “Queer About Comics,” which won the 2019 best special issue of the year award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Alongside Deborah E. Whaley and Shelley Streeby, he coedited Keywords for Comics Studies, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2022. Fawaz is currently at work on a new book project titled Literary Theory on Acid, in which he argues for the necessity of literary and cultural studies approaches to the contemporary psychedelic renaissance.

Bishakh Som

Trans Migrations: Journeys through Art, Architecture, Comics and Gender
Bishakh Som
Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 6:00 pm, 1310 Sterling Hall

Charting my personal history of cultural and geographical displacements, I will propose that such continuous movements have been integral to my reckoning with myself not only as part of a South Asian diaspora, but also as a transgender femme. I will trace how ideas of travel, migration, language and longing for a sense of home/belonging have been crucial to my art-making as it has itself migrated from its roots in comics, through architecture and painting to now roosting firmly back in comics, a medium which has allowed me to integrate these previous endeavors into one practice.

Bishakh is an Indian-American trans femme visual artist and author. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Boston Review and The Georgia Review, amongst other publications. Her graphic novel Apsara Engine (The Feminist Press) is the winner of a 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel and a 2021 Lambda Literary Award winner for Best LGBTQ Comics. Her graphic memoir Spellbound (Street Noise Books) was also a 2021 Lambda finalist.

Bishakh’s artwork has been exhibited at The Society of Illustrators, the Grady Alexis Gallery, De Cacaofabriek, and Art Omi.

You can see her work at

Accessibility Information

The 2023-2024 colloquium series will be mostly hybrid, in 3331 Sterling Hall, and on Zoom, unless otherwise noted. Sterling Hall is wheelchair accessible. There are 2 accessible entrances: the South entrance and the leftmost side of the West entrance of the building. Both entrances lead to an elevator, which leads to the 3rd floor. Please contact Christine Garlough, the CRGW Director, with any questions.