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Tea Talks

2018-19 talks

The Women's & Gender Studies Tea Talks series features faculty, staff and guest speakers on a range of topics.

All lectures are held from 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays in Carlsson Evald Hall in the Great Hall on the first floor.

This year's dates are Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Nov. 28, Jan. 23, March 20 and April 10,

Lectures are free and open to the public as well as the campus community. Refreshments are served. For more information about the series, contact

Fall term

Born This Way: Lesbian Moroccan Witches and Paré's use of Leo Africanus

Sept. 26, 2018

Dr. Emily Cranford, visiting assistant professor of French

Description: Like hermaphrodites, women with ambiguous genitalia were a frightening specter for early modern French men. Some early modern surgical texts display a reaction to these women’s anatomy in the form of female genital mutilation. Royal surgeon Ambroise Paré in "Of Monsters and Marvels" (1573) justifies this violence as a preclusion of female female sexual acts.

“Gee, I Wish I Were a Man!”: Gender and Sexuality in Images of WWI

Oct. 10, 2018

Dr. Jane Simonsen, professor of history and gender studies

Description: November 1918 marks the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI. This presentation will look at how images —primarily those produced by the U.S. government — responded to changing ideas about masculinity and femininity before and during the war even as they created new perceptions about gender that influenced U.S. society in the years that followed. We’ll consider not only themes such as women’s war work, but the ways that these images intersected with cultural concerns such as consumerism, race, sexuality, health, and the effects of war on men’s bodies.

Winter term

Nov. 28, 2018: Simone Roby, fellowship instructor of psychology

Jan. 23, 2019: Dr. Lena Hann and Dr. Claire Kovacs

This is a joint presentation of work by Dr. Lena Hann, assistant professor of public health, and Dr. Claire Kovacs, director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art. It tentatively has been accepted into the forthcoming edited volume "Representing Abortion."

Pregnancy Tissue Viewing and "Danger Talk" in Abortion Care, Dr. Hann

Description:  Abortion has been an issue for decades with many arguments surrounding its legality and accessibility. Images of mutilated fetuses are often used by anti-abortion protesters to sway viewers into aligning with anti-abortion sentiments. Clinicians who work in abortion care see and handle pregnancy and fetal tissue as part of their every day jobs, but they do not feel they can outwardly discuss this element of their work due to potential backlash from both anti-abortion and pro-choice communities.

In this Tea Talk Dr. Hann will highlight her time working in abortion care and her ongoing research that examines how clinicians navigate complex considerations and potentially dangerous discussions about pregnancy tissue behind clinic walls and in public spaces.

Rattling Your Rage: Anger, Provocation, and the SisterSerpents, Dr. Kovacs 

Description: The SisterSerpents were an anonymous, feminist art collective active in Chicago between 1989-1998. They utilized fierce, uncompromising, and intentionally aggressive language and practice to shed light on and provoke discussion around a wide range issues including access to abortion care. Their first exhibition, Rattle Your Rage (1990), was designed to provoke. The moment one entered the space, the viewer was confronted with what came to be known as the ‘fetus wall.’

Fetal specimens have a long history of display, beginning with early modern curio culture and moving into specimen collections in the 19th century. The made their way into popular culture in the mid-1960s when the photographic images of Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson were published in Life magazine. The trend in antiabortion rhetoric in the 1980s was to take up images derived or inspired by Nilsson’s photographs to efface women’s reproductive bodies. With such rampant use of images of fetuses in anti-abortion rhetoric, it is little wonder the Serpents, whose practice embodied provocation, decided to open their exhibition with a wall of fetuses, modified to fit their own rhetorical style and purpose.

March 20, 2019: The Possible Life in French: Women, Non-Binary Folks, and the Struggle to Exist in Language

Dr. Kiki Kosnick, assistant professor of French

Description: In October 2017, the Académie Française, a council that oversees the French language, released a staunch statement against forms of inclusive writing designed to create visibility of women in a language that traditionally defaults to the masculine. Despite opposition from the Académie, inclusive writing continues to gain traction in some circles.

At the same time, activist communities and scholars continue to grow strategies to make French more inclusive of non-binary gender. This talk explores the relationship between these feminist and queer struggles and why we need each other.

Dr. Kiki Kosnick earned a Ph.D. in French and gender and women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin in 2016 and taught at Grinnell College for three years before coming to Augustana. Currently an assistant professor of French, she enjoys exploring language, literature, and culture with students at all levels of the French curriculum and contributing a course, "Queer Life Stories," to FYI 103.

Her most recent research focuses on gender-inclusive linguistic strategies in French. Her article on this topic, “The Everyday Poetics of Gender-Inclusive French: Strategies for Navigating the Linguistic Landscape” will be published in May 2019 in a special issue of the journal Modern & Contemporary France that deals with marginalized genders and sexualities.

Thanks to a grant from Augustana, Dr. Kosnick recently began work with a team of student-researchers to develop more inclusive materials for introductory French programs with a focus on the expression of non-binary genders.

April10, 2019: Scholar, Priest, Intersex Activist: Sally Gross

Dr. Michelle Wolff, assistant professor of religion

Description: While serving as a Catholic priest and doctoral student at Blackfriars in Oxford, Sally Gross (formerly Father Selwyn Gross) transitioned to female upon discovering that she was biologically intersex and designated male at birth. After being laicized and denied the ability to perform ordained ministry, she returned to her place of birth and founded Intersex South Africa. Her activism is briefly documented in the Apartheid Museum, however a book has yet to be written on her.

I am particularly interested in Gross’ transnational contributions to religious groups, activist groups, and academics. Duke University Press is currently soliciting this manuscript. My hypothesis is that having been rejected by family, the church, and the state, Gross was thoroughly impoverished and unable to meet her basic needs for healthcare and survival. The book will explicate various forms of Gross’ trans experience – being transgender, trans national, trans religious, etc.