Corvallis Social Justice: “The Word for World is Forest” Symposium, Self-Defense Classes for LGBTQIA+ Women, Race and Sexuality Research, Return of “AThought” Zine Series

The Anarres Project for Alternative Futures, co-founded by Oregon State University Professors Joseph Orosco and Tony Vogt, is a community forum dedicated to bringing together ideas, conversations, projects and initiatives by a wide variety of activists and scholars that build toward futures liberated from oppression, domination, exploitation, and empire. The project is currently accepting abstracts or presentation proposals for their upcoming The Word for World is Forest Symposium, predicated on the themes of Oregon author Ursula K. Le Guin’s eponymous anti-war novella.   

According to their website, the symposium “aims to bring together activists, organizers, and scholars to consider the ways in which Le Guin’s tale can help us to diagnose social injustices in the present moment, and to imagine the ways we can catalyze solidarities to achieve more just futures.” 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Le Guin’s novella, which depicts a colonial, imperialist, and militaristic regime violently occupying and pillaging a planet for the extraction of resources and conquest of the Indigenous population that inhabits it – and who are forever changed by their resistance to the invasion.   

“Rather than strictly academic discussions or literary critiques, we are looking for presentations that take Le Guin’s novella as a basis for understanding themes such as oppression, patriarchy and toxic masculinity, racial justice, resistance, colonialism/imperialism, nonviolence and armed struggle, environmental justice, intersectional solidarity in the world today.”    

Anarres Project members are especially interested in abstracts that explore how the novella might help us “develop strategies for mutual aid and community organizing against injustice” in the present.  

Abstracts/presentations should be no longer than 300 words, and can be submitted by anyone who has formal academic or research experience or anyone who is affiliated with their community via activism and grassroots organizing. They should be submitted no later than midnight PST on Friday, Sept. 9, using this submission form. The symposium itself will be hosted online over Zoom on Oct. 14.  

Self-Defense Classes for LGBTQIA+ Women: Sept. 10 marks the beginning of a six-week period of Saturday morning “accessible, welcoming, and time-effective self-defense and awareness classes” specifically for women in the LGBTQIA+ community. Taking place from 9 – 11:30 a.m., the classes are taught in Corvallis by instructors with SAFE Women Self-Defense, a local, burgeoning organization that seeks to fulfill a need in the Willamette Valley to help empower women – cisgender, trans, and queer alike – by providing the education and skills for promoting safety “in all areas of their lives.”  

SAFE Women emerged in response to what the founder, Mara P., noticed a lack of effective self-defense classes in the Mid-Valley that did not require years of practice and technique training, that were based on natural body movements and realistic scenarios, and that were accessible to all women” – including those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Beyond teaching physical self-defense moves that work with students’ bodily instincts and natural movements, SAFE Women classes also incorporate training in situational awareness, threat detection, abuse recognition, verbal self-defense, relationship safety, and de-escalation.   

Instruction involves the use of state-of-the-art equipment, integrated techniques, and realistic strategies that allow students to work through a variety of scenarios. Students are taught at their individual level of ability, with one-on-one coaching available.  

To register for these classes, which are also open to non-binary individuals, click here. If you have any questions or would like more information, send an email to info@SafeWomenSelfDefense.com  

Budding Researchers at the Intersections of Race and Sexuality: The Center for Positive Sexuality, a non-profit that seeks to address pressing social issues through sex-positive research and education, is calling for research projects and proposals for its third annual round of Race and Sexuality Research. Launched in 2020, this project seeks to fund, award, and promote research that connects social issues, sexual health and violence, and Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx/e, and other communities of color. This may include issues like the disparate impacts of abortion bans and restrictions, anti-transgender legislation, police brutality and incarceration, the fetishization of women of color, and more. 

“We recognize that sexual identity and racial identity are intersectional, and that research on sexuality must attend to issues of race,” reads the center’s Intersection of Identities statement. “We recognize that racial disparities affect issues like access to sexual health resources and the impact of social stigma about sexuality. We recognize that sexuality research must push back against a history of marginalizing rather than uplifting communities of color. We recognize that people of different races have diverse, unique, joyful, and humanizing experiences with sexuality that deserve scholarship and recognition.”  

Research projects that have been awarded funding from previous years include “Coming From My Own: Understanding Affirmation, Oppression, and Identity Formation of Black LGBTQIA+ Members Through an Intersectional Lens” by Briauna A. Johnson, a California State University professor who teaches courses on sexuality, gender, stratification, and Black cultural politics; “Carnival in the Caribbean; Positive Health and Wellbeing; and Pleasure, Healing, and Liberation” by Sherine Andreine Powerful, a Diasporic Jamaican feminist committed to “celebrating and furthering pleasure, healing, and liberation for Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples and persons of diverse a/genders and a/sexualities, particularly those of Caribbean descent”; etc.   

Proposals are welcomed from researchers at any level, including community members who are unaffiliated with academic institutions and/or have no prior publication record. Submissions by researchers from historically marginalized communities (applicants have the option to comment on their identities and how they relate to the research they’re proposing) are especially encouraged, as are proposals that focus on transgender youth, sex education in schools, and reproductive justice. Proposals will be evaluated by the center’s Board of Directors in accordance with specific criteria, including the “centrality of research on communities of color” and the potential for effective impact on such communities.  

While it may say on their website that the submission deadline was Aug. 31, the center announced on social media – which was shared in a retweet by the OSU Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies program – that the deadline has been extended to Sept. 15. To apply and/or learn more about submissions, click here  

Coming Full Square: After a nearly two-year-long hiatus, AThought Zine, a Corvallis-based collaborative zine series for queer, fat, BIPOC, and other historically marginalized creators, is accepting submissions for a new issue, “Full Square.”   

Co-created by local artists and activists Jayden Dukes and Serena Swanson, “Full Square” will be an homage to AThought’s very first issue, “Square One,” and touch on themes of growing up, healing, and approaching situations with newfound perspectives. “Square One” offered the two creators (and one special guest) space to share their thoughts as women/femme artists navigating the world of adulthood as individuals with vastly different experiences and marginalized identities – an issue about beginnings, including how they begin making their mark on contributing to the feminist history of zines.   

“Three years ago, Serena and I shared our first issue (Square One) with the world,” wrote Dukes in an Instagram post. “Now we’re back up and running and ready to keep making zines featuring and sharing space with artists.” 

They define coming “full square” as “a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to a complete reversal of the original position. Returning to a similar position or belief. A rerun. Deja vu. Growing up (or not). Healing (non-linearly).”  

All media – collage, painting, photography, poetry and other writing – pertaining to the theme of “Full Square” are accepted. Images of your work can be submitted by Oct. 1 to athoughtzine@gmail.com.  

By Emilie Ratcliff 

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