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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Filtering by Tag: gender

Kishonna Gray on race, gender, and deviance in Xbox Live

Nickie Phillips

Crimcast welcomes Dr. Kishonna Gray, assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Gray’s work focuses on race, class, gender, and criminal justice. Her book Race, Gender, and Deviance in Xbox Live explores how the gaming culture reproduces hegemonic masculinities that serve to marginalize the “other.” While much attention has focused on how (white) women are oppressed within the gaming community, Dr. Gray sheds light on the importance of understanding how intersectionality—the interlocking identities of race, gender, and class—impacts the experience of gaming.

Gaming is generally considered a young, white, male environment, although recent ESA research shows that 46% of gamers are women, and the average age of gamers is 31 years old. What do you think is the impact of the changing demographics on gamers’ experiences? Do you agree, as Leigh Alexander proposed, that “gamers are over?”

OMG when I read that article I was like “absolute power to the truth.” Sadly, we get it. Marginalized bodies recognize that they have always been a part of the conversation. I think there is just more recognition of this fact. As was mentioned in the article, it’s hard for someone to let go of what they once owned. They aren’t that special anymore. They have to share. This entitlement culture is over. The pie that they once had is now cut into more slices for other people to share.

Now does that mean that everyone is opening doors and welcoming women, people of color, and other marginalized individuals within gaming culture? Absolutely not. These folks who have always had and have always been privileged will fight hard to hang on. But as the article indicated, they can be ignored. I don’t have to deal with them. We don’t have to listen to them. They don’t have control over access anymore. And that’s the beauty of it. They must begin to expand their definition of what it means to be a gamer. Because their game is over.

I also love how social media and fandom have allowed those who’ve previously been excluded access to be a part of gaming culture now. So if I don’t like a story line in a game, FanFic allows me to just create my own story line. And I can have a following around my stories. That’s powerful. That empowering. We don’t have to rely on what’s been created.

The struggle is still real for minority game developers, gamers, etc. But with male allies, White allies, and other privileged bodies who are down with coalition building, this does not have to dominate the reality within gaming culture.

In your book, you discuss how racism and sexism in the Xbox Live experience is common and condoned. Can you explain why racist and sexist remarks and behavior should be distinguished from other forms of “flaming?”

Critical race and critical feminist scholars contend that in order to talk about a problem, you have to name that problem. We can’t talk about if we don’t name it. So we can talk about flaming all day. But is that really talking about racism? Is that really addressing sexism, or heterosexism? No.
When something is named, we draw our attention to it. Flaming is a general vague term that encompasses all sorts of virtual ills. People have negative associations with words like racism and sexism. There is no negative association with flaming. People who engage in these kinds of activities relish in being called a troll. It’s cool in many segments of toxic gamer culture. This is why we have to call the problems what they really are. Another reason people don’t like using the real terms to describe these real problems is because one would then have to check their own behavior and their own actions within the space. You have to ask yourself, am I engaging in this behavior? Am I a racist? Am I sexist? Etc. People don’t want to be complicit in these systems. We also have to examine these behaviors as an extension of real life. Real world problems are manifesting in virtuality. By using the concept of flaming, one can situate themselves in digital spaces. You can leave that on the internet. Racism follows you. Sexism follows you. It exists not just in virtual spaces, it is exists in the real world.

And it’s ok if people become uncomfortable. Marginalized bodies are uncomfortable all the time.

You describe Xbox Live as a type of virtual community where identities are constructed and expressed through avatars and voices. Can you describe the importance of voice and linguistic profiling in understanding gamers’ experiences?

Comparing old and new games, they are so much different. If you recall old MUD’s and MOO’s, they were mostly text based. We had no idea who people were. But with the diffusion of digital technology in games, such as audio, video, image capture, use of avatars, etc, it’s hard to hide who you are.

Xbox Live is a voice based community. Gamers chat with each other. When people hear a person that deviates from the norm, meaning they don’t sound like a White dude, people start flaming out. So, women experience a host of sexism and misogynistic language. People of color experience racism.

Even aside from actual verbal cues, non-verbal cues are telling about identity. Gamertags are a huge point of contention. Many women choose to gender their gamertags by incorporating Miss or something like that. Many people of color racialize their gamertags too incorporating PR for Puerto Rican, or using alternative spellings for the n-word. So even if a person doesn’t speak, there are still ways to gauge a sense of what that person’s identity may be. And avatars are important but they aren’t as important as computer games like WOW.

But modern games rely on interacting with others within the space so when people hear you talk, your voice is automatically emitted into virtuality. Back in the day the New Yorker had a caption saying that on the internet, nobody has to know you’re a dog. That’s not true anymore. You can’t escape who you are.

And why should people escape who they are? Why don’t we value identity and difference? Having to acknowledge difference means that a person has to deal with that person holistically. You have to challenge your assumptions or generalizations especially if you aren’t used to dealing with a particular group within a space that has long be controlled and dominated by privileged bodies.

In your book you talk about various forms of resistance to oppression such as gaming strategies that use friendly fire to kill teammates. How do official Xbox Terms of Service actually serve to perpetuate racism and sexism while simultaneously cracking down on resistance strategies?

When individuals who engage in forms of resistance within the space, most of them are violating Xbox Terms of Use. Under section 1.9, there are a list of things that a person can’t do. One of those things is to use the xbox live services to harm, threaten, or harass another person. Although marginalized gamers who engage in these resistance strategies are responding to harassment they experienced, they were the ones being punished.

Now I will tell you how this happens. Most marginalized gamers, specifically gamers of color don’t file complaints within Xbox. They didn’t feel the reports generated any meaningful results. When they began their own forms of resistance in Xbox live, the gamers they were targeting (mostly White male sounding gamers) actually started filing complaints on them. And there would be dozens of complaints filed so two females actually had their accounts banned for a period of time for violating Xbox Terms of Use. Pretty messed up.

So does Xbox through their terms of use perpetuate racism and sexism? Not directly. But the system is not set up to report these kinds of issues. And who wants to take the time to find the category to file the complaint? You have to find the person’s gamertag. You have to interrupt your gameplay. It takes time and didn’t result in much, so minority gamers stopped doing it. Sadly, this is why Xbox Live doesn’t think there is a problem with racism within the space. They proudly declared this a few months back. They are looking solely at numbers and if the complaints aren’t there, what do you do? I contend that the architecture of the space allows it to happen. It’s a structural issue.

Over the past few months, mainstream media has focused attention on #GamerGate, revealing the extent of misogyny and oppression of women within the gamer community. While initially #GamerGate supporters attempted to frame the issue as one of “ethics in gamer journalism,” the rape and death threats toward those critical of the movement made clear that the motives were misogynist in nature. As someone who has written at length about intersectionality and oppression in the gamer community, can you give us your reaction to #GamerGate and  your take on #NotYourShield?

I don’t think anybody really wants my opinion on this. I will end up making a lot of folks mad. But here it goes!

The article you referenced talked about how GamerGate hurt the reputation of the gaming community. No. The gaming community is complicit in GamerGate.

Gaming culture created GamerGate. By accepting a culture that diminishes the status of women as full members of the gaming community, this toxic environment has been able to fester and take shape and lead to harassment and threats of violence against women in our community. Since video games have existed, women have been marginalized and have had to accept second class citizenship within gaming culture. Devaluing a culture renders it powerless, unable to define itself or articulate on its own behalf. As Iris Marion Young suggests, powerlessness leads to the exposure of disparate treatment because of diminished status. Powerlessness is one of the strongest forms of oppression and this is apparent given Anita Sarkeesian’s inability to speak at Utah State or Brianna Wu and other women in the gaming industry now fearing for their lives.

I appreciate the mobilization of the gaming community against GamerGate but it has come too late. Our response needs to be more than just condemning an anonymous group. We need sweeping changes to our culture to ensure future cowards know that punishment will be quick and swift. Of course, this requires a complete change in ideology and operating. One I’m not sure we’re, the gaming community, is entirely ready for.

Can we expect more work in this area from you in the future? Do you have any upcoming work that you would like to tell our readers about?

Oh absolutely. Privileging the experiences of marginalized gamers is my bread and butter! I can’t wait to go back and interview participants from my original study. The online environment was just so toxic and it’s much less so now. But many of the women in that study left Xbox Live forever. I might try to get them to come back! As far as other work, yes I am currently working on a book manuscript that I hope MIT Press will love! But it’s tentatively titled, Beyond the Box: Mediated Console Multiplayer Environments. It will provide a much needed conceptual framework to situate contemporary console video games. By providing gaming, entertainment, socialization, and other forms of interaction, we must rethink the limited narrative of ‘console game’ and position them within our convergent culture providing an all-in-one experience for users (I use the term user because research has shown that a segment of owners of consoles aren’t even gamers). So I will provide a brief overview of the process leading to the convergence of all these mediums into the consoles, PlayStation, Xbox, and even Nintendo Wii! Another recent project I am working on with a colleague explores the use of non-verbal cues within Xbox Live as I previously discussed. So specifically, we want to examine the use of Gamertag’s as an aspect of identity and representation in the Xbox Live virtual gaming community. Now the gamertag is interesting because you’re limited by the programming code to 15 characters in length, and you must adhere to Xbox Live’s Terms of Service and not contain any graphic or offensive language. But, Xbox Live users actively bypass this restriction and generate Gamertag’s that are representative of one’s physical identity.

Orange is the New Black and New Perspectives on the Women in Prison Genre, Call for Papers

Nickie Phillips

Call for Papers

Friday 5 June 2015

Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland

Keynote Speaker: Professor Diane Negra (University College Dublin)

We would like to invite proposals for papers for a one-day conference framed around discussions of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black (2013-). The series has received a great deal of critical media attention, particularly surrounding its representation of sexualities and women of colour. The series is the most recent in a sequence of TV programmes and feature films exploring women’s incarceration in a popular format. Considered as part of the ‘women in prison’ genre, the show upholds certain stereotypes while simultaneously using the genre framework to explore new territory. This conference aims to open up scholarly debates surrounding OITNB and to further contextualise it alongside other representations of women in prison from a multidisciplinary range of perspectives. We also welcome contributions from creative practitioners on their engagement with the ‘women in prison’ genre.

Contributors are invited to address OITNB in relation to issues around the representation of women’s experience with imprisonment in any geographical location, in both historical and contemporary contexts. Some of the questions this conference wishes to address are: what defines the ‘women in prison’ genre and how has it changed historically? What effects does it have on specific groups of (incarcerated) women and public audiences? How do new modes of circulation impact on audience reception of the ‘women in prison’ genre?

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

·         OITNB and genre

·         OITNB and questions of adaptation

·         Comparative analyses with other ‘women in prison’ series or feature films

·         Gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and age in OITNB

·         OITNB and questions of ‘the gaze’

·         OITNB in relation to ‘real world’ criminal justice settings

300 word abstracts should be sent to: by midnight on 16 January 2015.

For further inquiries please contact the conference organisers:

Dr Sarah Artt and Dr Anne Schwan

Exploring Criminal Justice and Colonialism in Bahrain

Nickie Phillips

Bahraini policewomen on the eve of the country's independence from Britain (1971; Photo: Bahrain Weekly)

In Bahrain, the criminal justice system we see today is a direct result of the colonial encounter -- a situation not acknowledged enough in current scholarship, and in desperate need of a critical voyage to the imperial archives.

Staci Strobl, Co-founder Crimcast

Eight years ago, when I was conducting an ethnography of Bahraini policewomen, I attempted to refer to secondary sources as to the criminal justice history of the small country, particularly regarding the development of policewomen.  Unfortunately, I found only sanitized, un-critical sources that picked up at a colonial moment as if nothing strange or disruptive had ever happened before that, for naturally a European-style criminal justice system, complete with bureaucratic forms to handle a "gender problem," was completely sensible in this distant land.

The field of comparative criminal justice remains under-developed relative to other criminal justice endeavors.  The last decade has seen a proliferation of encyclopedic volumes designed to fill in the descriptive gap, but detailed analytical pieces, particularly from non-western countries which are sufficiently historically contextualized, remain scant.  Bahrain is no exception.

To augment my ethnographic data, I made my way to the Historical Documents Center in Riffa', Bahrain and poured through colonial documents in order to uncover the policing past. 

Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifah, ruler of Bahrain from 1961-99

In the end, I was left with the historian's task (though I am not a trained historian) of interpreting some ambiguous and contradictory claims in primary sources by various important actors of the day from the

Al-Khalifah royal family to the political consultant from the 1920s-50s, Sir Charles Belgrave. Policewomen were a British legacy of gender liberalism at the time of de-colonization, I argued, but were palpable to local Bahrainis as a means of serving conservative populations who appreciate traditional sex segregation.

Along the way, I vowed to one day be the more general criminal justice historian I needed for my then-specific, ethnographic mission.  It has taken several years to get around to the task, but this year I will be spending enough time in England to follow up on the many interesting threads first encountered in the Bahrain historical center, having time to review the vernacular file of the India Office records of the British Library (Bahrain was administered under the India Office during the early 20th century).


We take as natural that police should have uniforms, that punishment should involve concrete cages called prisons, that judges should sit at benches in standing courts.  But in non-European contexts this was often not the indigenous way of maintaining social order and punishing deviance.  Max Weber callously maligned the palm tree justice of the Arab world, but in fact, in the Arabian Gulf it was an effective method for maintaining the peace in the wake of fluid tribal alliances and shifting economic endeavors.  The qadi under the tree, eclipsed by Belgrave's push to "rationalize" Bahraini justice, had political and religious legitimacy that could never be replaced by the modern colonial machine-- a machine that remains contested today in the Arab spring.

The seeds of today's opposition in Bahrain stem from colonial days.  Patterns of police employment of Sunni individuals over Shi'a were cemented in the late colonial period as punishment for Shi'a involvement in the National Union Committee and earlier revolutionary attempts, buffeted by head of the British colonial police in Bahrain and later State Security (1966-97), Ian Henderson (linked to police torture of Shi'a activists).  The political cache of hiring outside consultants-- Belgrave and Henderson then and John Yates and John Timoney more recently-- stem from the early 20th century rival Gulf monarchies' boasts of powerful foreign friends.  Playing up an overblown Iranian threat is a at least hundred-year old trope that the West swallows over and over again.

Ian Henderson, British police consultant to Bahrain linked to torture (photo: The Telegraph)

The Al-Khalifah royal family and advisors like Belgrave made very concrete political decisions throughout the 20th century that unraveled the fabric of traditional means of maintaining order and achieving justice.  It was disruptive to social and political relations as they had been operating for centuries previous, not a natural or teleological development as many mainstream scholars have assumed.

My archival research at the British Library and at University of Exeter will hopefully help to uncover what existed before the colonial experience and how it was eclipsed.  I hope to better document from whence Bahrain criminal justice came-- at least in the way that it may have been understood and misunderstood by British political agents.

It is here, though, that one often uncovers indigenous voices that have been lost in the paperwork-- testimonies of elder tribespeople, oral laws written down at a certain colonial period of time, etc.  But can an understanding of the old ways, themselves fluid and changing over time, be recovered?

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is certainly right to haunt us with the notion that all this historical

Bahrain court sketch from the trial of 21 opposition movement leaders in June of 2011 ( leaders in June of 2011 (

back-tracking just leads us to the brick wall of a "tearing of time" in which the colonial encounter in all its "docketing" of the cultural and political threads ends up obscuring that which existed before it.  Or, in the word of Homi Bhabha, we cannot begin to make sense of an “imperial aporia” that described indigenous lacunae through a very thick and cloudy lens of colonial paternalism.

All of this seems like a very tall order for four months of research abroad, but perhaps all such endeavors start off exalted and then whittle themselves down to bite-size pieces.  In any case, it will be a bit of geek-joy to sit in the British library with old, colonial letters, and ponder a time gone by.

Series on archival research in criminal justice

This is the fifth in a 5-part series appearing throughout 2013 focusing on the often game-changing discoveries that come out of archival work in the realm of police, courts, and corrections.  The other four parts can be found here:

Paradox and Progress: Islamic Feminism in Kuwait

Nickie Phillips


Crimcast sat down with Dr. Alessandra Gonzalez, John Jay College of Criminal Justice post-doctoral fellow and author of Islamic Feminism in Kuwait (2013), to discuss her book’s insightful glimpse into women’s rights in a Muslim national context.  Islamic feminism is a school of thought which aims to bolster women’s rights and participation in public life while grounded in an Islamic framework.  Dr. Gonzalez’s interviews with Kuwaiti women’s rights activists, religious scholars, and national leaders pointed to a number of interesting paradoxes which she describes in her book.  One is that when women recently got the right to vote, they often voted for conservative Islamist candidates— the same people who previously stood against the right to vote. What did your interviews find to explain the paradox of women voting for conservative candidates once they got the right to vote?

There are several possible explanations which are discussed in the book. The sociological explanations include demographic shifts of bedouin desert background Kuwaitis moving to urban spaces, where they bring their conservative cultural perspectives into their political participation which happen to favor conservative Islamists. There are also global factors that influence the resurgence of Islamic identity among youth across the Middle East, which are favoring political Islamists as bearers of cultural representation of Islamic identity in politics. Lastly, many of my more politically Liberal interviewees blamed a lack of experience in politics on first-time women voters for voting for Islamists who more or less represented the status quo.

What were some of the other paradoxes that your book describes?

Some of the other paradoxes explored in the book include: the fact that Western feminism has not taken root in Muslim hearts and minds; that veiled women are not shying away from public life but are in fact leading in several sectors including education, business, and now politics; that men as a whole are not oppressing women, but are in fact enabling Islamic feminism; and that the youth are both modern and traditional in their approach to women’s rights. These paradoxes emerged from my interviews and show the compatibility of Islam and an indigenous approach to women’s rights, as illustrated by activists in Kuwait.

The book explores the idea that Islam and women’s rights are not incompatible.  Is this an idea that you feel is popular in the Arabian Gulf today?

Absolutely. In my research I found that instead of a “clash of civilizations” scenario, that Kuwaiti youth approached the idea of feminism within Islam from what I call a “co-existence” model. The majority of the youth in my survey sample, both male and female, believed in gender equality and agreed that Islam was a source of motivation for them to fight for women’s rights.

Crimcast readers are interested in gender and violence.  How did your research subjects feel about women’s access to the criminal justice system and social support mechanisms in the event of a woman being the victim of domestic violence?  Has Kuwait made an effort to combat domestic violence?

Kuwait towers

Kuwait, like many of its neighbors, is responding to increasing deviations from their traditions regarding family life. Among them is the rise in divorce rate to above 30%, which leaves the society and government looking for reasons to address the high number of failing young marriages. It is possible that intolerance for domestic abuse is actually a positive reason for leaving a marriage, however more research needs to be done to determine what percentage of these marriages are actually failing as a response to abuse, versus other factors such as economics or personal incompatibilities. Many Kuwaiti women are also choosing not to marry in order to focus on their careers. This means a flooding of the labor market by highly qualified and educated women in a country where conservative family traditions prefer to hire men as family breadwinners over single women. Women’s access to the criminal justice system in Kuwait (not unlike women’s access to justice in the US) is an issue whether it is due to domestic abuse, divorce, or discriminatory hiring practices. Changes at the societal level need to be addressed at the level of legislation and many of the women’s rights activists in Kuwait are focusing on these issues.

What are you working on these days?  Will we see more work from you on the subject of Islamic feminism in the future?

I am working on several projects at the moment. Currently I am working on the Extremist Crime Database Project at John Jay College looking at theoretical approaches to female criminal involvement in ideological extremist groups in the US. I believe there is a window for us to understand women’s empowerment that fights violent extremism in our communities by also understanding how women engage in criminal activity themselves. It is in fact, the other side of the coin of female agency, where women are free to seek power through legitimate or illegitimate means for a greater ideological belief. Next year, I will be continuing my work on Islamic Feminism as a James Madison Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University.

Dr. González is currently a post-doctoral Research Associate at John Jay College, CUNY and a non-resident Research Fellow at the Institute for the Studies of religion at Baylor University. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from Baylor University and received a B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University. Dr. González has publications in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, and an op-ed on Islamic Feminism in the Dallas Morning News. She has presented her research at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy's Conference on "The Rights of Women in Islam," the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, the Dialogue of Civilizations Conference hosted by the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Houston, the Gulf Research Conference at the University of Exeter, and various other academic settings.

Go here, for Dr. Gonzalez's interview about Islamic Feminism in Kuwait on the Research on Religion podcast.

Go here, for a review of Islamic Feminism in Kuwait in the journal Contemporary Islam.

Trafficking of Women and Girls in Immigrant Communities: Identifying and Assisting Victims Event

Nickie Phillips

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at Mar 4, 2013, 10.24.19 AM

Join ECPAT USA for their panel: Trafficking of Women and Girls in Immigrant Communities: Identifying and Assisting Victims

Speakers: • Megan M. McKenna: Communications and Advocacy Director for KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) - Identification and Services for Unaccompanied Immigrant and Refugee Minors • Fran Gau: Senior Assistant Director of Client Services for the New York Asian Women’s Center - Identifying Sexually Exploited Women and Girls in Asian Immigrant Communities in New York • Ingrid Liao: Vice Chair of ECPAT –Taiwan - Victims of Human Trafficking – the Asian perspectives • Marina Colby: Director, Public Policy and Government Relations for ECPAT-USA - Using Policy Advocacy to Protect Children in Immigrant Communities

Moderator: • Ana Morse, President of the Board of ECPAT-USA

When: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 at 4:30pm Where: Chapel Room, 1st floor, Church Center at the UN 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Leanne Shapton to discuss her new memoir Swimming Studies

Nickie Phillips

Swimming Studies is a collection of writing and drawing about Leanne Shapton's life in competitive and recreational swimming.

Leanne Shapton

Leanne Shapton is an illustrator, author and publisher based in New York City. She is the co-founder, with photographer Jason Fulford, of J&L Books, an internationally-distributed not-for-profit imprint specializing in art and photography books. Shapton grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, and attended McGill Univesity and Pratt Institute. After interning at SNLHarper's Magazine and for illustator James McMullan, she began her career at the National Post where she edited and art-directed the daily Avenue page, an award-winning double-page feature covering news and cultural trends. She went on to art direct Saturday Night, the National Post's weekly news magazine.

Shapton will appear as part of the Fall 2012 Senior Citizen Lecture Series.

When: Tuesday - November 27, 2012, at 11:10 AM

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

Women and Family Formation

Nickie Phillips


Join us for Robert Cherry's lecture at SFC on "Women and Family Formation." Robert Cherry is a professor at CUNY Brooklyn College and author of numerous publications. Dr. Cherry received his Ph.D. in Economics from Kansas State University. Dr. Cherry’s areas of expertise include: poverty, race and gender earnings disparities, low-income housing, tax reform to aid working families, and immigration. His most recent publication: Moving Working Families Forward: Third Way Policies That Work (NYU Press) discusses these issues at length, as well as issues of community college training, tax reforms and strengthening domestic relations.

When: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

For more on "How to Move Working Families Forward" here.

Dr. Cherry's book, "Moving Working Families Forward: Third Way Policies That Can Work" may be found here.

Live Streaming Event: Legacies of Mass Atrocities: Sexual Violence against Women in Guatemala

Nickie Phillips

The Historical Memory Project at John Jay College invites you to attend a conversation about sexual violence in Guatemala in person or on the web, Wednesday, November 7, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m. Presenters include Sonja Perkic, investigator of human rights violation during Guatemala's internal armed conflict, Marcia Esparza, Founder and Director of the Historical Memory Project, and Kyoo Lee, Faculty Fellow for the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at CUNY Graduate Center. To watch live streaming video of the event on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 6 p.m, click here.

To attend in person, go to Haaren Hall at John Jay College (899 Tenth Ave., New York City), Rm. 630.

Women and Representations of Fundamentalist Islam in Fiction & Film

Nickie Phillips


Dr. Athena Devlin will speak at SFC on Women and Representations of Fundamentalist Islam in Fiction & Film. Dr. Devlin is a professor of English at St. Francis Colleges where she co-directs both the American Studies and Women's Studies programs. Dr. Devlin received her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Between Profits and Primitivism: Rehabilitating Middle-Class Manhood in America, 1880-1917.

When: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

For more information on the American Studies Program at SFC, go here.

For more information on the Women's Studies Program, go here.

MTV Settles Lawsuit Alleging Rape by Real World Cast Member

Nickie Phillips

Jezebel reports on the lawsuit settlement here.

"The main legal issue for Cooley was that she was suing for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, but the extensive waiver she signed with the production company not only says that cast members are not official employees, but that they might have to deal with "non-consensual physical contact, of which MTV is not responsible," which means that they could get raped on camera and MTV wouldn't be at fault."

The Village Voice published the "Real World" standard cast member contract here.

Sophie Berman on Philosopher Simone Weil

Nickie Phillips


Dr. Sophie Berman will speak at SFC on Philosopher Simone Weil. Sophie Berman is the Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at St. Francis College. Dr. Berman received her B.A. from the University of Paris- Nanterre and her Ph.D. from Fordham University. She is a member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and an honorary member of the Duns Scotus Honor Society. She has philosophical affiliations with the American Philosophical Association, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Cusanus Society, and the Renaissance Society of America. Dr. Berman’s research interests focus on Descartes, Neoplatonism, and the notion of infinity. She has published and lectured locally and nationally on Plotinus, Anselm, Nicholas of Cusa, and Descartes. Her manuscript for a book on “Descartes and the Infinite,” for which she has a publishing agreement with The Edwin Mellen Press, is in its final stages.

When: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

No Way Out But One Documentary Film

Nickie Phillips

The Crime Report interviews documentary filmmaker Garland Waller about his new film, No Way Out But One, that follows Holly Collins and her children as they seek asylum in the Netherlands as a result of the domestic violence received at the hands of Collins’ ex-husband.

No Way Out But One Official Trailer from Garland Waller on Vimeo.

The film will premiere on the Documentary Channel on October 29, 2012

For more on events in NYC focused on Domestic Violence Awareness, go here.

Sister Tesa and Kellie Phelan to Speak at SFC on Helping Incarcerated Mothers

Nickie Phillips

[youtube] Tuesday October 23, 2012, Sister Teresa and Kellie Phelan will speak at St. Francis College on Helping Incarcerated Mothers

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald founded Hour Children to offer incarcerated women and their children a chance for a fresh start. Over the past 25 years, Fitzgerald's group has provided life-changing assistance to more than 9,000 mothers both behind and beyond bars. Its goal is to reintegrate former inmates into society by helping them with common post-release stumbling blocks, such as reuniting families and finding safe, affordable housing. It also provides the women with free counseling, education and employment support. Kellie Phelan is the Assistant Program Coordinator at Hour Children Inc. After the Hour Children Organization helped her change her life around, Kellie now runs a mentoring program at the organization.

When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

For more on Hour Children, go here.

For more on Kellie Phelan and Hour Children, see this recent CNN article, "Nuns help moms in prison move past their mistakes."

Women and Poverty Lecture at SFC - Senior Citizen and Women’s Studies Center Lecture Series

Nickie Phillips

Tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 16) Paddy Quick will lecture on Women and Poverty at 11:10am in Room 4202 as part of the Senior Citizen and Women’s Studies Center Fall 2012 Lecture Series.

Paddy Quick is an activist, feminist, and Department Chair of Economics at St. Francis College. Dr. Quick received her B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University and her Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University. Dr. Quick is a longtime activist in the civil rights, anti-imperialist and trade union movements. She is also a long time member of the Union for Radical Political Economics, the International Association for Feminist Economics, and the American Economic Association. Her research interests include economic history with a focus on household production.

When: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

SFC Lectures By and About Radical and Progressive Women

Nickie Phillips

The St. Francis College Institute for Peace and Justice & the Women’s Studies Center are pleased to announce their Fall 2012 Senior Citizens Lecture series. The series is devoted to lectures by and about radical and progressive women and will feature topics such as women and poverty, women and science, women and representations of fundamentalist Islam, and incarcerated mothers. For the month of September, the lectures will feature the following:

On September 11, Emily Horowitz, professor of sociology, will speak on “Women and the 2012 Election.”

On September 25, Bettina Aptheker, political activist, feminist, professor and author, will speak on her life as a pioneering activist in the Free Speech and Women’s Movements.

The lectures will be held at

St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

Tuesdays at 11:10am in Room 4202

The lectures are free and open to the public.

Rape victims and child custody

Nickie Phillips

Missouri Representative Todd Akin's comments incorporating his bogus and offensive concept of "legitimate rape" have understandably provoked much outcry, particularly from rape victims. Here, attorney Shauna Prewitt writes about her pregnancy as the result of rape and the often neglected legal consequences--child custody.

"In the vast majority of states, a rapist has the same custody and visitation rights to a child born through his crime as other fathers enjoy."


Her paper, titled "Giving Birth to a “Rapist’s Child”: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape" and published in the Georgetown Law Review, is available here.

UPDATE: New Mexico Considering New 'Forcible Rape' Language For Child Care Assistance Policy

"…if the amendment passes a woman whose rape is not ruled "forcible," such as a young victim of statutory rape, would be forced to contact her rapist for child support in order to receive any state assistance."

UPDATE: Governor pulls "forcible rape" language

Women and Corrections

Nickie Phillips