Barnard Librarians Present at Scholar & Feminist Conference

Barnard was founded 125 years ago with the feminist mission of providing education to those who were excluded from major avenues of education. In honor of this legacy and the 40th anniversary of BCRW’s signature Scholar & Feminist Conference, this year’s conference builds a feminist framework for understanding the institutional, social, and pedagogical facets of teaching, learning, and schooling. Scholars, activists, educators, and artists explore the K-12 landscape and investigate who can attain post-secondary education, under what circumstances, and at what cost. They discuss diverse feminist approaches to such topics as the Common Core standards, educational alternatives, the school-to-prison pipeline, adjunct labor, sexual violence on campus, and continuing racial and economic segregation within educational spaces.


Image courtesy of Pete Railand,

Manager of Instructional Media Services and Film Librarian Miriam Neptune will participate in one of the opening presentations:

The Octopus: Cognitive Capitalism and the University
Natalia Cecire, Miriam Neptune, Nicci Yin

It has often been remarked in recent years that we have entered a second Gilded Age of capitalist deregulation and socioeconomic inequality, with patterns of a hundred years ago repeating themselves. And while the rhetoric around the university is that it affords social mobility, as tuition and student debt have risen and affirmative action and need-blind admission have been revoked, it has become increasingly apparent that the university is an engine of that inequality and the many violences that attend it. This presentation uses visual art and documentary video to explore the university’s complicities with and resistances to power, focusing on the University of California system as a case study. By proposing images for figuring these complex dynamics, we hope to initiate a conversation about how to bring elusive and even immaterial relations into concrete form, and render them available to critique and action.

Humanities and Global Studies Librarian Vani Natarajan will serve on a two part panel:

Freedom Schools: History & Future of Educational Alternatives for Justice
Rod Ferguson, Vani Natarajan, Che Gossett
Diana Center LL103

This panel explores the freedom schools as a historical entity and as a model and inspiration for present-day political organizing and activism. To this end, the panel asks the following question: What role can/does the archive play in making movements sustainable across time and space and in the face of neoliberal reform? How was the original freedom school a model for democratic education and interventions into the forms of inequality around race and class generated by the U.S. government and by U.S. capital? How might we imagine the future of those interventions for communities differentiated not only by race and class but by gender, transgender, religion and ethnicity as well. In what ways did the freedom schools lay a foundation for thinking about the student as not a passive recipient of ideologies of race and nation but as critics who engage those ideologies as well as analyzing the workings of gender, sexuality, ability, and so on? How do we extend and at times appreciatively depart from the civil rights vision that occasioned the freedom schools? What has been gained and what has been lost through the formal institutionalization and financialization of Freedom School models?

Building Today’s Freedom School
Rod Ferguson, Vani Natarajan, Che Gossett
Diana Center 504

This workshop will bring together the theme of the previous panel with current struggles extending the spirit and intention of the freedom school in our contemporary moment. The workshop aims to engage student activists in exploring questions, such as: What might the space of liberatory education look like—how does it, for instance, challenge spatial norms? How might the repurposing of space challenge the security apparatus of the university in the ways that space is reimagined? How is the space also created via movement-through-space? How can digital space constitute a site for today’s freedom school? How does today’s freedom school push for redistribution of resources, and what does this redistribution look like? How can/does activist scholarship challenge the colonization of knowledge/power and what is the role of the activist-academic in the freedom school movement? What are the various forms of unfreedom that students are organizing against today and how are these connected to history of freedom school and what are strategies for solidarity, joint struggle and support?

There's still time to register for this free & delicious Action on Education-themed conference.