Center for Feminist Research News & Events

Spring 2022 Events

"Thinking with Andaiye’s The Point is to Change the World: Feminism as Praxis"

with Bedour Alagraa, Shanté Paradigm Smalls, Kwame Edwin Otu, K’eguro Macharia, Carole Boyce Davies, and Alissa Trotz

Thursday, Apr. 14, 11am - 1pm PT

Co-sponsored by the Center for Latinx & Latin American Studies

Zoom registration here.

Andaiye is a name synonymous with the fight for transformative change in Guyana. She was a champion for women, the working class, the chronically ill, and sexual and gender dissidents. While a lecturer at Queens College in New York City, between 1972- 1977, she became active in what would be known as civil rights, black power, anti-apartheid, and Latin American anti-dictatorial movements. These experiences strengthened and diversified her feminist and anti-imperialist commitments, further inspired by revolutions in Nicaragua, Iran, and centrally Grenada. During the 1980’s, she was a guiding force in the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research (CAFRA) and co-founded Red Thread Women’s organization in Guyana, emerging as a key thinker of the international Wages for Housework perspective which evolved into the Global Women’s Strike. The incredible range of her critical thought can be gleaned from her posthumously published collection of writing, The Point is to Change the World, edited by Alissa Trotz. The title comes from Karl Marx’s eleventh and final thesis on Feuerbach (1845): “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.” This tremendous collection further cements her place alongside pivotal Caribbean thinkers, such as Elsa Goveia, Aimé Césaire, Édouard Glissant, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, Suzanne Césaire, George Lamming, Stuart Hall, and Walter Rodney, her comrade in the Working People’s Alliance. Please join Kwame Edwin Otu (University of Virginia), K’eguro Macharia (Independent Scholar), Bedour Alagraa (University of Texas), Carole Boyce Davies (Cornell University), Alissa Trotz (University of Toronto), and Shanté Paradigm Smalls (St. John’s University) for a discussion of The Point is to Change the World




Spring 2022 Events

"What Does Justice Look Like? Connecting Abolition to Indigenous Feminisms," with Melanie Yazzie

Thursday, Jan. 27, 5pm - 6:30pm

Zoom registration here.

Over the past two years, we have seen an uptick in Black-led mobilizations for police and prison abolition unfold in tandem with an increase in Indigenous frontline movements to protect land, water, and human relatives. In this talk, Professor Yazzie examines the historical and political reasons for the emergence of these seemingly separate political projects and explores the connections between Black-led struggles for abolition and Indigenous-led struggles for decolonization. Yazzie specifically asks, What happens when we put radical traditions of abolition in conversation with Indigenous feminisms? What kind of political and historical possibilities arise through their connections?




Fall 2021 Book Talk Series

"Radiant defections: Queer expressions and gendered deviations in vocal technology" with Sasha Geffen 

Thursday, November 11, 5pm - 6:30pm

Zoom registration here.

Why has music so often served as an accomplice to transcendent expressions of gender? Why did the query "is he musical?" become code, in the 20th century, for "is he gay?" Why is music so inherently queer? For Sasha Geffen, the answers lie, in part, in music’s intrinsic quality of subliminal expression, which, through paradox and contradiction, allows rigid gender roles to fall away in a sensual and ambiguous exchange between performer and listener. Glitter Up the Dark traces the history of this gender fluidity in pop music from the early 20th century to the present day.  

Starting with early blues and the Beatles and continuing with performers such as David Bowie, Prince, Missy Elliot, and Frank Ocean, Geffen explores how artists have used music, fashion, language, and technology to break out of the confines mandated by gender essentialism and establish the voice as the primary expression of gender transgression. From glam rock and punk to disco, techno, and hip-hop, music helped set the stage for today’s conversations about trans rights and recognition of nonbinary and third-gender identities. Glitter Up the Dark takes a long look back at the path that led here.




Fall 2021 Book Talk Series

"Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Theory" with Durba Mitra 

Thursday, October 21, 5pm - 6:30pm

During the colonial period in India, European scholars, British officials, and elite Indian intellectuals―philologists, administrators, doctors, ethnologists, sociologists, and social critics―deployed ideas about sexuality to understand modern Indian society. In Indian Sex Life, Durba Mitra shows how deviant female sexuality, particularly the concept of the prostitute, became foundational to this knowledge project and became the primary way to think and write about Indian society.

Bringing together vast archival materials from diverse disciplines, Mitra reveals that deviant female sexuality was critical to debates about social progress and exclusion, caste domination, marriage, widowhood and inheritance, women's performance, the trafficking of girls, abortion and infanticide, industrial and domestic labor, indentured servitude, and ideologies about the dangers of Muslim sexuality. British authorities and Indian intellectuals used the concept of the prostitute to argue for the dramatic reorganization of modern Indian society around Hindu monogamy. Mitra demonstrates how the intellectual history of modern social thought is based in a dangerous civilizational logic built on the control and erasure of women's sexuality. This logic continues to hold sway in present-day South Asia and the postcolonial world.

Reframing the prostitute as a concept, Indian Sex Life overturns long-established notions of how to write the history of modern social thought in colonial India and opens up new approaches for the global history of sexuality.

Zoom registration here.



Fall 2021 Book Talk Series poster



Fall 2021 Book Talk Series

"Liberatory Adornment: Autonomy and Erotics in Black and Latina Self-Fashioning" with Jillian Hernandez

Thursday, September 23, 5pm - 6:30pm

Heavy makeup, gaudy jewelry, dramatic hairstyles, and clothes that are considered cheap, fake, too short, too tight, or too masculine: working-class Black and Latina girls and women are often framed as embodying “excessive” styles that are presumed to indicate sexual deviance. In Aesthetics of Excess Jillian Hernandez examines how middle-class discourses of aesthetic value racialize the bodies of women and girls of color. At the same time, their style can be a source of cultural capital when appropriated by the contemporary art scene. Drawing on her community arts work with Black and Latina girls in Miami, Hernandez analyzes the art and self- image of these girls alongside works produced by contemporary artists and pop musicians such as Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker, and Nicki Minaj. Through these relational readings, Hernandez shows how notions of high and low culture are complicated when women and girls of color engage in cultural production and how they challenge the policing of their bodies and sexualities through artistic authorship.

Zoom registration here.



Fall 2021 Book Talk Series

"Uncertain Expertise in Trans Medicine" with stef shuster

Thursday, August 26, 5pm - 6:30pm

stef shuster is an assistant professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. Their research and teaching examines the social implications of durable inequalities in gender and medicine. Informed by feminist science and technology studies, much of their work considers the construction of evidence, expertise, and knowledge in unsettled medical fields, which is the subject of their recent book, Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender (NYU Press).

Zoom registration here.



For the International Intersectionality Conference schedule click here.




RSVP here



Call for Papers:
International Intersectionality Conference

University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, USA

March 6-8, 2019




Please note: the venue for the Anita Hill event has changed to Bovard Auditorium!






Join Amber Rose and USC Professor Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro as they moderate a panel discussion around issues of sexual assault. Panel guests: Genie Harrison, lawyer specializing in sexual assault; Nicole a’Beckett, activist with SameSide; USC Professor Shafiqa Ahmadi, Title IX expert; Liz Havstad, activist with Hip Hop Caucus. The chat will be followed by the presentation of Amber Rose Foundation Scholarships. 

More at

RSVP here.








The 2015 fall calendar is out!






USC Sociology & Gender Studies Prof. Michael Messner and PhD. students Tal Peretz and Max Greenberg have written a book on men working to end violence against women. The book will be out on March 2, through Oxford University Press.



Our fall events calendar is out!





Our spring events calendar is out!











2013-14 New Directions in Feminist Research Fellows


The Center For Feminist Research is pleased to announce that the 2013-1 New Directions in Feminist Research Seminar, directed by Professor Rhacel Parrenas, will focus on "Global Capitalism and Intimate Industries."  In addition to Parrenas, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, next year's seminar will include the following group of fellows:


1) Katie Hasson, Assistant Professor of Sociology (Dornsife). Her project, “The Global Politics of Menstrual Suppression,” will examine the international availability and marketing of menstrual suppression birth control as well as how narratives of menstruation and menstrual products circulate globally.


2) Chaitanya Lakkimsetti, Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow with the Gender Studies Program and the Center for Feminist Research (Dornsife). Her project, “‘From Bars to Streets’: Understanding Intimate Industries Through Dance Bars in India,” will explore media representations of dance bars and bar dancers in India, particularly how notions of “excess and extraction” are represented and how they are tied to moral panic and social exclusions.


3) Nathanial Burke, Ph.D. student in Sociology (Dornsife). His project is entitled “Performing Masculinity in the Adult Film Industry.” Through a survey that interrogates the working experiences of men in pornography, access to employment, pay rates, and job satisfaction will be correlated with workers' demographics to understand how the industry (re)produces norms and ideals of sexuality and masculinity.


4) Feng-Mei Heberer, Ph.D. student in Critical Studies (Cinematic Arts). Her project, “Lesbian Factory – On the Production of Love and Care Among Migrant Women Workers in Asia,” will draw from scholarship on global migration and neoliberalism, affect theory, queer studies, as well as critical race studies, to investigate documentary and performance videos on Asian transnational subjects and discuss the normalization of minority populations.


5) Erin Kamler, Ph.D. student in Communication (Annenberg). Her project, “Art, Social Justice and Women’s Empowerment: Dramatization as Research in the Trafficking In Persons Space in Thailand,” combines international feminist research with the writing, composing and production of an original musical based on the discourse on the trafficking of women in Thailand.


6) Demetrios Psihopaides, Ph.D. student in Sociology (Dornsife). His project, “Producing Technologies of Trans Subjectivities and Defining US Citizenship,” will provide a rigorous, empirically grounded analysis of how heterogendered, racialized, and economic anxieties converge in decentralized, state-sponsored arenas to not only construct the state and definitions of national belonging, but also produce the very technologies of subjectivities that produce a coherent sense of “self.”


The CFR's "New Directions in Feminist Research" is organized annually around a particular theme.  The seminar offers participants an opportunity to work collectively on thematically linked projects, and also creates public events--invited speakers, panels, conferences--that engage the broader feminist community of faculty and students at USC.  Stay tuned for announcements for such events in 2013-14




The Fall 2013 CFR Events Calendar is available!


  • Center for Feminist Research
  • University of Southern California
  • Mark Taper Hall of Humanities
  • Room 422
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, California
  • 90089-4352 USA