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Women, Gender & Sexuality Conference Addresses "Cultures of Change"

Siavash Zohoori photo Siavash Zohoori will present "Boys 'n' Guns: Masculinity in a Culture of Violence" during the "Cultures of Change" conference.

Vermillion, S.D. – The Women, Gender & Sexuality Program at the University of South Dakota hosts its biennial research conference on the Vermillion campus March 22-24, 2017. The conference features keynote speakers on transgender rights and gender-based violence as well as musical performances, an art show, a film screening and panel sessions on topics such as legislating access to reproductive health care and mother-daughter relationships.

“This year’s conference focuses on two interconnected challenges that we face,” says Sara Lampert, conference organizer, assistant professor of history and program coordinator of the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program. “These are how to combat cultures of violence that disproportionately target women and LGBTQ individuals and how to foster more inclusive understandings of gender and rights for transgender individuals.”

Three of the conference’s events are free and open to the public:

“Recovering Women Composers, a Lecture Recital”—featuring Ioana Galu, assistant professor of music (violin), and Alessandra Feris, assistant professor of music (piano). Wednesday, March 22, Colton Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building, 7 p.m.

“Boys ’n’ Guns: Masculinity in a Culture of Violence”—a lecture by Siavash “Vash” Zohoori, who was almost a victim in a drive-by mass shooting in 2014 that targeted women. His mission has been to use his story to end gender-based interpersonal violence. Thursday, March 23, Farber Hall, Old Main, 4 p.m. (PHOTO)

“Neither, Nor: How to Circumnavigate the Gender Binary in Seven Thousand Easy Steps”—a lecture by Ivan Coyote, a writer and advocate for transgender rights. They will speak and perform from their work, which explores the complex issue of gender identity and the struggle for social justice for people of all genders. Friday, March 24, Muenster University Center Ballroom, 12–1:15 p.m. (PHOTO)

More than 80 individuals are presenting their research and creative work at panels and performances held on Thursday and Friday. USD students can attend the conference sessions free of charge. Faculty and members of the public may register on Thursday morning at the second floor lobby of the Muenster University Center starting at 7:45 a.m. Registration for both days is $60. For more information, contact Sara Lampert at 605-677-5218 or Additional information can be found at


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