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Bradley Hilltopics

Spring 2010 • Volume 16, Issue 2  

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Become a fan of Bradley Hilltopics | Placement rate in 09 | Engineering innovation recognized | Help for Haiti | Women’s basketball will make first postseason appearance in program history | Aerial view of Alumni Center | Knowledge in print | Women’s Studies hosts ’70s activist | Deon’s heave | High-tech engineering lab | SAME Cafe wins 10k from NBC feature | Enriching the campus experience | Speed painting: an Olympic performance | Bradley board game is a winner | Grant funds internships | Old Vonachen’s Junction menu

 

Women’s Studies hosts ’70s activist

By MELISSA VOGRIN ’10

On March 9, Bradley students, staff, faculty, and Peoria residents crowded into Neumiller Lecture Hall to hear Angela Davis’s lecture, “Gender, Race, and Crime.” After all the seats filled, people continued to file in, sitting in the aisles and climbing onto the stage. The civil rights activist, author of eight books, and self-proclaimed Marxist feminist drew the largest audience to date for a speaker sponsored by the women’s studies program.

Davis was the third woman to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List, and she twice ran for vice president on the Communist Party ticket during the Reagan era. Once she was acquitted of all felony charges against her in the 1970s, she began traveling the world, and she has since lectured at several prestigious schools, including Stanford and Brown universities, about the criminalization of communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination, with a particular emphasis on women and gender.

As a prison abolitionist, she stressed, “I don’t want to just change prisons — I want to get rid of them.” About 2.3 million people are currently in prison in the United States, and many more are affected by the stigma of having been in prison. Though women only comprise six to seven percent of prisoners, she linked abuse of women in prison to abuse of women in the home, proclaiming, “State violence against women legitimizes private violence.”

Davis expressed concern about the fact that “prisons are always involved in the process of classification, especially in terms of gender.” The state divides prisoners into female and male penitentiaries, and because of this, transgender and gender-nonconforming prisoners often suffer unspeakable hardships at the hands of the state. Davis believes the methods of prisons reflect those of society at large. She stressed the importance of accepting all people, regardless of ethnicity or gender. She proclaimed, “In this campaign to abolish prison as the dominant form of societal punishment, implicit is the abolition of gender policing.”

After tracing the attempts to first abolish slavery and racism, then patriarchal sexism, and now gender discrimination, Davis concluded her lecture to raucous applause, stating, “We continue to cross new terrains that broaden the very notion of what it means to be free in our country, and we must face challenges head-on.”

 

Become a fan of Bradley Hilltopics | Placement rate in 09 | Engineering innovation recognized | Help for Haiti | Women’s basketball will make first postseason appearance in program history | Aerial view of Alumni Center | Knowledge in print | Women’s Studies hosts ’70s activist | Deon’s heave | High-tech engineering lab | SAME Cafe wins 10k from NBC feature | Enriching the campus experience | Speed painting: an Olympic performance | Bradley board game is a winner | Grant funds internships | Old Vonachen’s Junction menu