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NIU Today | Students invited to enter essay contest through the NIU Center of the Study for Women, Gender and Sexuality

To celebrate Women’s History Month and honor the legacy of famous American author, professor, feminist, and social activist bell hooks, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), in collaboration with the Center of the Study for Women, Gender and Sexuality (CSWGS ), is hosting as essay/artistry contest.

Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to submit an essay or artistic work that responds to the following excerpt: “To be truly visionary we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.”

The essay contest has been a goal of Ariel “Ari” Owens (she/her/hers), assistant director for Women and Gender Programs, since she began her role at the GSRC in 2018. Owens is an NIU alumnus who studied English and Women and Gender Studies. She’s excited to bring this idea to fruition and to name the contest after one of her favorite socialites.

“I wouldn’t have a job, or more importantly, the ability to radically daydream about a better world without the existence and significant contributions of bell hooks.”

Two winners will be selected and awarded $500 to be deposited to their bursar account or Huskie Bucks. Winners’ work will be featured during the CSWGS’s Research and Artistry Symposium, Friday, April 29 from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm in Altgeld Hall, Room 315.

The symposium will showcase student presentations and creative works that examine women, gender, and sexuality through a critical lens.

This day-long symposium is an exciting opportunity to become acquainted with student work from across disciplines, to discuss common interests with students and faculty from all over campus, and to see the broad range of intellectual disciplines women’s and gender studies encompasses.

Jessica Reyman, PhD (she/her/hers), director of the CSWGS says, “The faculty and staff of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality are indebted to bell hooks and her writings on activism, liberation, and love. bell hooks taught us that feminist pedagogy is a practice of freedom, and her work is foundational to our curriculum, programs, and teaching. We would not be who we are without her.”

Contest submissions should be emailed to aowens1@niu.edu by March 31.

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