‘Women’s Lives Yesterday and Today V’ at JCU

January 29th, 2015

As the semester kicks off, various academic departments at John Carroll University have already scheduled multiple lectures on campus.


The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies will host two lectures this week  on Tuesday, Jan. 27 and Thursday, Jan. 29 to launch its spring 2015 lecture series “Women’s Lives Yesterday and Today V.”


Katherine Gatto, program director of the women’s and gender studies department, is very enthusiastic about the series and what it will bring to the JCU community.


“I hope, through the series, to fill the lacunae regarding women’s contributions to global and local culture and civilization,” she said. “Most of what we learn formally through educational curricula deals with men’s lives and contributions. I think most students don’t even realize this.”

L&E w&g lecture

Okaka Dokotum, senior lecturer and associate professor of literature and film in Kampala, Uganda, will be presenting the first two lectures on John Carroll’s campus. Dokotum is currently a Fulbright visiting scholar at his doctoral alma mater, Northern Illinois University. He is currently researching African film adaptations of African literature.


Aside from his research on African representation in film and literature, Dokotum is a seasoned playwright, fiction author, poet, filmmaker and public speaker. Over the course of the past few years, Dokotum has presented his field research across Asia, Africa and North America. He focuses on Hollywood’s representation of Africa in five areas (South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya).


Both lectures focus on Dokotum’s research and knowledge of African representation in both literature and film.


The first lecture of the series, “Image Construction, Social Dislocation and Dehumanization in Zola Maseko’s The Life and Times of Sara Baartman: “The Hottentot Venus” was held Tuesday in the LSC conference room.


A lunch, hosted by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, followed the lecture.


Sarah Baartman, a South African woman in the late 1700s to early 1800s, was paraded around London and Paris as a circus animal and exhibit under the name Hettentot Venus. The focus of this exhibition was on Baartman’s genitalia and anatomy.


After her death, Baartman’s remains were displayed at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris until 2002 when, thanks to Nelson Mandela, her remains were returned for burial in South Africa.


Thursday’s lecture centers on the Senegalese film, “Karmen Gei,” a remake of the iconic opera, “Carmen,” in a new time, setting and culture.


Looking at this modern take on a classic opera, Dokotum will focus on ventriloquizing the tragedy of “Carmen” in “Karmen Gei: Globalization, Gender Politics and Cultural Transgression.”


The lecture will take place at 2 p.m. in the Dolan Center for Science and Technology, Room A202.


“The topics for this spring are altogether different, and yet the same in that they offer us new perspectives on women’s lives around the world, and in different time periods,” Gatto said regarding the series.


“Women’s Lives Yesterday and Today V” next lecture will take place Tuesday, April 21 at 5 p.m., where JoAnne M. Podis, vice president of academic affairs at Ursuline College will speak on Jane Austen.