The Sociology of Gender Brownbag (or FemSem) meets every Thursday from 12:30 to 2pm in Social Sciences 2435 (unless otherwise noted).

Fall 2018 Calendar 

If you’d like to request a presentation date, please email Nona Gronert at

February 21, 2019
  • Femsem: Abby Letak, “‘Feminist’ with an Asterisk”: Feminism, Television, and Identity

    February 21, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
    2435 Sewell Social Science

    “‘Feminist’ with an Asterisk”: Feminism, Television, and Identity

    In 2014, satirical newspaper The Onion ran a story with the headline: “Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show.” Below a picture of a woman watching TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, a byline explains that the woman “says she just wants to enjoy a little TV without thinking about how our culture repeatedly perpetuates gender stereotypes in a damaging way.” This comical article begs some very serious questions: how do feminists consume television media? How do feminists reconcile watching sexist or even anti-feminist content with their claimed feminist identity? Feminists present a particularly interesting segment of the audience; they have claimed an identity (i.e., that of “feminist”) that, in theory, prescribes efforts toward gender equality and proscribes participation in anything standing in the way of that goal. Feminists, then, could be posed to endorse and condemn media along the lines of their socio-political beliefs—in reality, however, this is often not the case. This study draws on data from twenty-seven semi-structured interviews with self-identified feminists to interrogate the relationship between feminists’ socio-political identities and their television consumption habits. Ultimately, the relationship is one fraught with contradiction, compromise, and cognitive dissonance. In navigating the television landscape, feminists point to (1) the need for self-care, (2) the need to settle for less than ideal content, (3) the need to stay informed, and (4) the insignificance of their own viewing activity.

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February 28, 2019
  • Femsem: Youbin Kang

    February 28, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
    2435 Sewell Social Science

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March 7, 2019
  • Femsem: A guide to dissertation proposals

    March 7, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
    2435 Sewell Social Science

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March 14, 2019
  • Femsem: Tarsha Herelle

    March 14, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
    2435 Sewell Social Science

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  • Activities

    The Sociology of Gender Brownbag (or FemSem) meets every Thursday from 12:30 to 1pm in Social Sciences 2435 (unless otherwise noted).

    Spring 2014 Schedule

    1/23 -Organizing Session - All Welcome!

    1/30 - Katie Zaman, Doctoral Student in Sociology, Understanding the Causal Complexity of Women's Empowerment using Set Theoretic Methods

    2/6 - no femsem this week, see you at SWS!

    2/13 - Gina Longo, Doctoral Student in Sociology, Marriage, Migration, and Citizenship

    2/17- (Monday) Tressie McMillan Cottom, Doctoral Student in Sociology at Emory, and visiting fellow at the UC-Davis Center for Poverty [Bio] - Organized for Profit or the Public Good? Lessons from the Expansion of the For-Profit College Sector for the U.S. Higher Education Landscape [Abstract]
    Sponsored by Femsem and the Race and Ethnicity Brownbag
    Monday, 2/17, 12:00-1:30pm, 3470 Social Sciences

    2/18 - Informal discussion with Tressie McMillan Cottom, Time and Place TBD

    2/20 -

    2/21- The Threat from Within: Current and Alternative Responses to Sexual Assault in the Military, sponsored by the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, and Society
    at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

    2/25 - Aliya Saperstein,  Assistant Professor of Sociology, Stanford University, The Past and Present Significance of Racial Mobility. Sponsored by the Race and Ethnicity Brownbag and the Demography Seminar
    Tuesday, February 25, 8417 Sewell Social Sciences, 12:30-1:45 pm

    2/26 - Eithne Luibhéid, Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, University of Arizona, Pregnant on Arrival: Making the 'Illegal' Immigrant, Sociology Colloquium Presentation.
    Wednesday, February 26, 12-1:45pm, 8417 Social Sciences

    2/26 - Quasi Pot Luck Reception with Dr. Luibheid at Myra's home
    Bring a dish to pass, Myra will provide vegetarian and non-vegetarian chilli.
    Please RSVP to, and indicate whether you need a ride or have one to offer.
    6:30 pm, Myra and Don's residence, 17 Sauk Creek Circle, Madison

    3/6 - Maria Azocar, Doctoral Student in Sociology

    3/13 - Nina Eliasoph, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California, Making Volunteers: Civic Life after Welfare's End

    3/27 - Di Wang, MA Student in Gender and Women's Studies, The 2012 "Nude Bodies for Anti-Domestic Violence" Petition@FeministVoice—The Shifting Logic of New Feminist-Content Creation in Digital China.

    4/1 - Jane Jenson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Montreal
    Topic TBD.
    Sponsored by the Politics, Culture, and Society Brownbag
    Tuesday, April 1, 12:30-2:00pm in Social Sciences 8108

    4/3 - Nadine Marquardt, Lecturer, Department of Human Geography, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Mothering Urban Space, Governing Migrant Women: The Intersection of Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in Area-based Interventions in Berlin

    4/3 - Quasi Pot Luck Reception with Nadine Marquardt at Myra's home
    Myra will provide chilli (vegetarian and meat), please bring a dish to pass.
    RSVPs requested:
    6:30pm, 17 Sauk Creek Circle, Madison

    4/7 - Joyce Bell, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh
    The Black Radical March Through the Institutions: Black Power & American Professional Associations. Presented with the Race and Ethnicity Brownbag
    Monday, April 7, 12:00pm - 1:30pm, 3407 Social Science

    4/10 - no femsem, go to Race and Ethnicity this week (Joyce Bell)

    4/17 - Catasha Davis, Journalism and Mass Communications

    4/24 - Hannah Miller, Doctoral Student in Sociology

    5/1 - Michelle Robinson, Doctoral Student in Sociology

    5/8 - End of year celebration

Events older than 2010 are listed here.