Check out the upcoming Gender, Sexuality, and Urban Spaces Conference Mar. 11-13!

Girl, alone #2

MIT’s Graduate Consortium of Women’s Studies has put together a stellar lineup for the Gender, Sexuality, and Urban Spaces Conference, March 11-13 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The conference is *free* and *registration is required*. Find out more about the conference and about how to register.

Keep your eye on for live blogging straight from the conference!

Are you going to be at the conference? Interested in sharing your thoughts on the sessions you attend? Email us at:


Friday, March 11th

6:30 – 8:30 PM • KEYNOTE ADDRESS : Room 32-123, Stata Center

“Queering Identity: The Tyranny of Gendered Planning ”

Location: Building 32 Room 123
MIT Stata Center

A keynote address by:

Petra Doan

Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Master’s International Program, Department of Urban and Regional Planning,
Florida State University

There has been some resistance in planning to the incorporation of gay and lesbian concerns into the planning mainstream. Keynote presenter Professor Petra Doan will begin with a discussion of the controversy created when the APA established a Gays and Lesbians in Planning Division (GALIP) roughly ten years ago. She examines the ways that planning practice reinforces binary gender norms and the impact of these norms on marginalized gender variant people. Feminist planners and geographers have criticized the gendered dichotomization of public and private space, but have failed to interrogate the rigid dichotomization of gender itself that creates a kind of tyranny for gender variant people who experience high levels of harassment and discrimination in most cities. Doan will close with a discussion of the way gendered expectations are written into building codes and urban design standards, especially for bathrooms and other public facilities.

Petra Doan teaches Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. In addition to researching planning in developing countries, she has conducted numerous research projects on LGBT populations in urban spaces. Her latest project is an edited book, Queerying Planning: Challenging Heteronormative Assumptions and Reframing Planning Practice.

Opening Reception:
Reception for Attendees, Presenters, and Conference Organizers with video installations and performances by:

• D’hana Perry, MFA Candidate, Media Studies, Emerson College
• Kaia Niambi Finn, BFA Candidate, University of Massachusetts Boston

Saturday, March 12th

9:30 – 11:00 AM • Concurrent Panels: Section 1

Room 32-124
Empowerment Architecture: Examining Redemptive Spaces for Urban Women

  • “Keeping Clean: Female Consumerism, Propriety, and Gendered Urban Space in Fin de Siecle, Ian Scott Todd, PhD Candidate, English, Tufts University
  • “Gendered Spaces in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Germany”,  Erin Eckhold Sassin, PhD Candidate, History of Art and Architecture; Brown university & UMass Dartmouth
  • “Freedom to Dwell: Gendered Aesthetics of Informal Housing”, Faye Antonia Hays, Doctor of Design Candidate, Design Studies, Harvard Graduate School of DesignDiscussant: Sagarika Suri, MA Candidate, Architecture and Urbanism, MITRoom 32-141
    Legibilities and Illegibilities of (Homo)Sexualities: Representations and Embodiments of Gender and Sexuality in Urban Spaces in the Modern Middle East
  • “City Girls: Representations of Gender and Sexuality in the Urban Arab World”, Elisabeth Harrington, MA, Near Eastern and Museum Studies, New York University
  • “Discovering “gay” Beirut: an exploration of essentialized masculinities and sexualities in contemporary gay travelogues”, Ghassan Moussawi, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Rutgers University
  • “Women in intimate and sexual relations with other women: An exploration of embodiments and constructions of sexuality and gender in contemporary Cairo”, Nadia Dropkin, MA Candidate, Near Eastern Studies, New York University

Discussant: Ghazal Abbasy-Asbagh, MA student, Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Room 32-144
Planning for Gender: Perspectives on Urban Development

  • “Gender Transcendence: The Social Production of Identity in Urban Queer Community”, Adina Koch, MA Candidate, Sociology, Boston College
  • “Mannequins and Prostitutes: Re-Making the Amsterdam Red Light District through Art and Commerce”, Magdalena Sabat, PhD Candidate, Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
  • “Dinks, Homos, Boomers, and Bobos: Creating Inviting Urban Environments that Encourage Investment through Diversity”, Brian Traylor, MA Candidate, City Planning and Urban Spatial Analytics, University of Pennsylvania

Discussant: Ryan Centner, Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, Tufts University

11:15 – 12:45 PM • Concurrent Panels: Section 2

Room 32-155
Living in the Margins: Othered Lifestyles/Hidden Histories

  • “Militarized Spaces and the Queered Warrior Caste Marked for Death in Homonational Times”, Lizzy Shramko, MA Candidate, Gender Studies, Central European University
  • “‘Inside of the Family Circle’: Irish and African American Intermarriage in 19th Century New York”, Virginia Ferris, MA, Irish and Irish American Studies, NYU
  • “What is Doing in the Queer Zone”: Race, Sex, and Commerce in Storyville, New Orleans’ Historic Red-Light District”, Emily Owens, PhD Candidate, African American Studies, History, WGS, Harvard University

Discussant: Fatima Sattar, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Boston College

Room 32-141
Transformational Armatures: The Performance of Gender as/in Architecture

  • “(Re)Constructing the Place of Gender in the Space of Religion: Women’s Places and Spaces in the Contemporary American Mosque”, Maryam Eskandari, MA Candidate, Architecture and Islamic Architecture, MIT
  • “Denison House: Social Settlement in Built Form”, Karen Robbins, PhD candidate, American Studies, Boston University
  • “Building Shapely Bodies: Architecture and Exercise for Women, 1880-1920”, Kathleen Daly, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Boston University

Discussant: Zenovia Touloudi, DDes Candidate, Design Studies, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Room 32-144
Identities Under Development: Gender Identity and Modernization Projects

  • “Centros de Perdicion“: color, class, and the gendered geographies of modernity and vice in Caracas, Venezuela, 1885-1925”, Seneca Joyner, PhD Candidate, History, Northeastern University
  • “Space, Gender and Social Change: A Case Study of Hakka Settlement in Southeast China”, Luo Jiting, MA Candidate, Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • “The Ornamental Sex: Gender, Theatricality, and Public Space in Late Eighteenth Century Paris”, Jason Nguyen, PhD Candidate, History and Theory of Architecture, Harvard

Discussant: Layla Brown, PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, Duke University

11:15 – 12:45 PM • Lunch and Concurrent Poster Sessions

Poster Topics/Presenters

  • “Mujeres Publicas: Femininity, Visibility and Citizenship Among Barrio Women in Venezuelardquo; Layla Brown, PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
  • “Urban Health Disparities for Chinese Girls with Disabilities”, Fangfang Wen and Hi-Hsien Kuo, Masters Candidates, Liberal Studies, Dartmouth College
  • “Who is the Jefe? An Exploration of how Women’s Work in Nicaragua Reinforces and Challenges Traditional Conceptions of Gender”, Magnolia Barrett, MA Candidate, Anthropology and WGS, Brandeis University
  • “The Social Beliefs of Normal and Traumatized Women”,Xiaodan Yan, PhD Candidate, Neuroscience, New York University
  • “Navigating the Public/Private Divide in Urban Rights Movements; The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York”, Emily Schipper, MA Candidate, Anthropology and WGS, Brandeis University
  • “When Barbie Speaks: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of the Music of Nicki Minaj”, LaToya Sawyer, PhD Candidate, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, Syracuse University
  • “Space, Gender, and the Market for Sex: Inside a Las Vegas Strip Club”, Jenny Heineman, PhD Candidate, Sociology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • TITLE TBD (Analysis of photographs of Iranian photographer Shirana Shahbazi), Hana Disch, MA, Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • “Which is Stronger, Love or Fear? The BlackLight Body and/in the City Project in Newark, New Jersey”, Monica Barra, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Rutgers University
  • “Performing Victorian Genders: Frances Benjamin Johnston in her Washington, D.C. Studio”, Jessica Roscio, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Boston University
  • “Negotiating Space: A Phenomenological Study of Women of African Descent: Managing Multiple Marginalized Identities”, Nia Imaney Cantey, PhD Candidate, Humanities, Nova Southeastern University

2:30 – 4:00 PM • Concurrent Panels: Section 3

Room 32-144
Building Community Through Trust, Shelter, and Thread

  • “Gender, Race and Place Attachment: A Case of Historic Neighborhood Recovery in Coastal Mississippi”, Mia Charlene White, PhD Candidate, Urban Sociology, MIT
  • “Accessing the Shelter: Gender, Sexuality and Homelessness in the City”,  Jackson Shultz, MA candidate, Globalization Studies, Dartmouth College, and Kristopher Shultz, MA candidate, Globalization Studies, Dartmouth College
  • “Learning How to Thread, Wax, and Make Batiks: Gendered Deaf Space Production in New Delhi, India”, Michele Friedner, PhD Candidate, Medical Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Discussant: Karen Robbins, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Boston College

Room 32-144
Uneasy Landscapes: There’s Nothing to Fear But…

  • “Urbanism, Transgression and the Feminist Re-appropriation of the Gaze: Contesting Gender Roles in “A Question of Silence”, Asimina Ino Nikolopoulou, PhD Candidate, English, Northeastern University
  • “Shame on You! An Analysis of Sexual Harassment and the Production of Public Space”, Danielle Moran, MA Candidate, Gender/Cultural Studies, Simmons College
  • “Mechanisms of White Fear: The Creation of the Black Male Criminal in Urban Space”, Jacqueline Sutton, MA Candidate, American Studies, New York University

Discussant: TBD

Room 32-155
Urban Ecologies of Gender

  • TITLE TBD (Urban mothers and web 2.0), Maria Diaconu, PhD Candidate, American Literature and Culture, Heidelberg Center for American Studies
  • TITLE TBD (The Urban Womb), Elizabeth Wilkinson, PhD Candidate, Literature and the Environment, Yale Divinity School
  • “Urban Space and Femininity in Popular Indian Films in the Post-Liberalized Indian Economy”, Fadia Hasan, PhD Candidate, Communication, UMass Amherst

Discussant: TBD

4:15 – 5:45 PM • Concurrent Panels: Section 4

PANEL A: Room 32-155
Sex in the City: Reclaiming the Public Stage

  • “Dancing on an Unsteady Stage: The Performance of Gender and Sexuality in New York Neo-Burlesque”, Elisabeth Fallica, PhD Candidate, Sociology, and The New School
  • “Queering the City: Performing Privacy and Claiming Urban Spaces in Howl”, Dagmar Van Engen, MA Candidate, English Literature, Boston College
  • “Haunting the Queer Spaces of AIDS: Remembering ACT UP/NY Back Into the City”, Julian Gill-Peterson, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Rutgers University

Discussant: Jess Deshayes, MA Candidate, Gender/Cultural Studies, Simmons College

Room 32-144
Politics, Class, and Identity in the Queered City

  • “Beyond the Gay Ghetto: Socio-Spatial Differentiation and the Contestation of Gay Identity in the Post-Modern City”, Laura Braslow and Jacob Lederman, PhD Candidates, Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • “Bodies Built in Queer Space: The History, Politics, and Economy of Chicago’s North Halstead Street”, Zachary Blair, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • “From Gay Architecture to Queer Space? Late Twentieth-Century Changes in Montreal’s Gay Village”, Olivier Vallerand, PhD Candidate, School of Architecture, McGill University

Discussant: Julianna Sassaman, MA Candidate, Architecture and Urban Planning, MIT

Room 32-155
Perspectives on Prostitution: Fiction, History, Technology

  • “Urban Topographies of Desire: Writing the Prostitute in the Naturalist French Novel”, Jessica Tanner, PhD Candidate, Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
  • “Mobile Bodies: Practicing Cell Phone-Based Transactional Sex in Gujarat, India”, Mitali Thakor, PhD Candidate, History, Science, Technology and Society, MIT
  • “Intimate Relations: An Examination of the historical Relationship of Lesbians and Prostitutes in the United States, 1935-1965”, Marika Cifor, MA and MS Candidate, History and Library and Information Science, Simmons College

Discussant: Sun-Young Park, PhD Candidate, Architecture and Urbanism, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Sunday, March 13th

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM • Closing Keynote Panel

“Making it Real: Bridging Theory and Practice”
**Co-sponsored by the Tufts University American Studies Program

Room 32- 155

A keynote panel by:

Gia Barboza

Assistant Professor, African American Studies, Northeastern University

Sharon Reilly
Executive Director, The Women’s Lunch Place, Boston

Karen Tei Yamashita
Professor, Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz

Panel descriptions and bios to come

12:30 – 2:00 PM • Boston Site Visits
Site visit locations still being confirmed. Please check back for more information or contact the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies:

For more information about the conference or to register, contact Andi Sutton, GCWS Program Coordinator at:

Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Building 16-287
77 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge , MA 02139
T el:(617) 324-2085