Women’s History Month is nearing its end and the Women’s Studies Program, along with the education division of the Museum of Texas Tech, have joined to host “Binding Equality: A Women’s Studies Symposium.”
The symposium will begin at 8:45 a.m. today at the Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium in the museum.
The topic of the symposium will be the exhibition that is currently on display in the museum, titled “Speaking Volumes – Books and Ideas from 1250-1862.” There will be a guest panel giving their perspectives about different pieces of literature from each time period.
Patricia Earl, coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program, said the guest panelists for the symposium will consist of two academic professors with backgrounds in literature and bestselling author Jodi Thomas, who is a romance novelist.
“In the morning, you’ll get to hear an academic perspective about women writers of the 18th and 19th centuries,” Earl said. “Then, we’ll end with Mrs. Thomas talking about her current experiences as a novelist.”
The Women’s Studies Program partnered with the Museum of Texas Tech to put on the special collections exhibition that has been on display since January, along with the symposium.
Melissa Benner, a heritage management graduate student, said the symposium provided an opportunity for the departments on campus to get involved with the museum.
“It’s always great, anytime you have that inner-departmental collaboration,” she said. “We typically direct a lot of our events at the museum towards kids, so this was a good way to incorporate things that we’re doing with a different audience.”
Earl said the focus of the symposium is to focus on the collection of documents provided by the Remnant Trust and also the history of the women who wrote the documents.
“This symposium is dedicated to bringing attention to women writers and the history of women writers, as well as the exhibition and the collection that the Remnant Trust has,” she said.
The “Binding Equality: A Women’s Studies Symposium” title originated from a literal reference to an actual bound book and a figurative reference to the feeling of oppression, Earl said.
“There are two metaphors there,” she said. “There’s the physical part of the book, and then there’s this metaphor of binding and feeling oppressed when it comes to topics of equality. There are people right now who are in oppression and are working through it in order to bring awareness to the equality of women.”
Luke Iantorno, a British romanticism, literature and book history graduate student from California, said he thinks the exhibit will be good for anyone interested in learning more about book history.
The symposium will take an in-depth look at pieces of literature, such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women.”
“I think that anyone who has the opportunity to visit the exhibit, should; because it not only tells about the history, but also how books were made from manuscript to book and revolutions in printing,” Iantorno said.