Sean Ramsden

Ali Neff, a Ph.D. candidate in Culture and Communication at the University of North Carolina, will present the keynote address.

The Gender and Sexuality Studies program at Rider University will celebrate its 31st anniversary with the annual Gender and Sexuality Studies Colloquium on Thursday, April 11. The daylong program will feature three student panels on related topics, as well as the presentations of the prestigious Ziegler-Gee Award and the Virginia Cyrus Scholarship.

The GSS Colloquium will also feature the keynote address from 1:10 to 2:40 p.m. by Ali Colleen Neff, a Ph.D. candidate in Culture and Communication at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, a Mellon/ACLS Fellow and a Peacock REACH Fellow. Neff’s presentation is entitled Lees Waxul or Things that Cannot Be Said: Women’s Musical Vice across the American and Global Souths.

“I’ll be looking at the work of women musical practitioners around the world, with a specific focus on my sites of research in the Mississippi Delta and Dakar, Senegal,” explained Neff, a specialist in Mississippi hip-hop and ethnographic music. “Drawing from my collaborative ethnographic fieldwork, I’ll explore the ways in which women use their musical voices to create new modes of global creativity – and, in the process, locate a special kind of political agency in the hidden folds of things that can otherwise not be said.”

The presentations of the Ziegler-Gee Award and the Virginia Cyrus Scholarship will be held at 1:10 p.m. in Sweigart Auditorium, just prior to Neff’s address. Michael J. Rutkowski, grants manager in the Controller’s Office, is this year’s recipient of the Ziegler-Gee Award, which was established in 1986, honors Rider faculty, staff and administrators who have contributed significantly toward ending gender-based discrimination on campus, in their fields, and in their communities.

“Mike’s service to the LGBTQ community since he arrived at Rider has proved immensely valuable to the LGBTQ students who have turned to him for advice and guidance,” said Dr. Mary Morse, director of the Gender and Sexuality Studies program. “His advocacy for LGBTQ students demonstrates his commitment to the principles of the Rider Gender and Sexuality program.”

Rutkowski has served as the adviser to the LGBTQ students on the Lawrenceville campus, first as an advisor to Rider FLAG, then to the Rider Gay-Straight Alliance and now to the newest incarnation of the LGBTQ group, Rider Spectrum Pride Alliance. He has also worked to spread awareness of the Rider Allies program.

Recipients of the Virginia Cyrus Scholarship are recognized for their achievements in Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as their potential to improve the status of women through scholarship and activism. The entire Rider community is invited to attend any and all events.

Student panels in the Sweigart Auditorium begin at 9:45 a.m. with Sexuality in Movies and Music, moderated by Dr. Nowell Marshall, assistant professor of English, which concludes at 11 a.m. Gender in Commercials and Music Video, moderated by Dr. Megan Titus, assistant professor of English, runs from 2:50 to 4:10 p.m., followed by The Gender That Binds Us, moderated by Dr. Brea Heidelberg, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. Ten Rider students will be presenting in the three sessions.

Veronica Villacres ’15, Winifred Mackintosh ’15 and Amy Loux ’14, whose collective work is the basis of the 4:30 panel, have also been invited to present papers at the ninth annual New Jersey Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium at Georgian Court University on Friday, April 5. They join a select group of undergraduate scholars focusing on issues related to women, gender, and sexuality. 

Villacres, a Psychology and Spanish dual major, wrote “Analysis of the Influence of Heteronormative Views on Friends,” as her final paper in a CMP125 – Research Writing class taught by Titus.

Mackintosh, an English and Political Science dual major, wrote “No Story of Her Own: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl in Young Adult Literature,” as her final paper in ENG 240 – Methods of Literary Analysis taught by Marshall. 

Loux, a Liberal Studies major, first produced “The Gender Wage Gap: From the Senate House to Our House,” as a project in COM 318/GND 318 – Gender and Communication, taught by Susan McManimon, adjunct assistant professor of Communication.

For more information about either day’s events, please contact Dr. Mary Morse, director of the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, at 609-895-5570, or at [email protected].