A group of Hamilton students recently joined other students, faculty, and activists for the 2018 Seneca Falls Dialogues: “Race and Intersecting Feminist Futures.” Assistant Professor of Literature Pavitra Sundar brought her class, “Indians, Aliens, and Others,” to the conference with support from a Social Innovation and Transformational Leadership Grant from the Levitt Center.
Sundar said that by bringing students to the event, “I hoped to get my class to think more deeply and creatively about how to bridge the various physical, cultural, philosophical, and linguistic gulfs that structure contemporary lives.”
The Seneca Falls Dialogues covered a wide range of perspectives including the challenges of connecting activism and academics, women’s experiences wearing the hijab in the United States, and creating intersectional diversity training. The event is structured so that rather than presenting papers, presenters structure and facilitate discussion to promote productive and respectful conversation.
Students were able to meet peers from nearby universities, including the University of Rochester, SUNY Geneseo, and Syracuse University. Cilly Geranios ’19 said, “It was really helpful to see an application of the issues we’ve been talking about in class.”
Lindsey Foster ’18 described it as an experience that “will facilitate and enrich our classroom discussions going forward.”
Overall, the 2018 Seneca Falls Dialogues contained tones of both frustration and hope as people with different perspectives and backgrounds gathered for constructive conversation on how to envision a more inclusive feminist future.
Students were able to attend the conferences that most interested them and gained insight into how their studies at Hamilton can work beyond campus and the classroom.