IGWS Newsletter Vol. 28

  • Report on the 21st IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Students' feedback on the 21st IGWS Seminar
  • Report on a study tour to the USA ― American society and civil power
  • Report from the workshop of the 8th Japan Feminist Counseling Conference
  • An essay ― Being born from a mother and becoming independent
  • Report on the lecture by Ms. Linda Ohama
  • Open lectures in the second (2009) related to gender and women's studies

Report on the 21st IGWS Seminar

Lecture Series: ‘Genderized' Nature ― Studies on Natural History of the 18th century
(Speaker: Ms. Mariko Ogawa.-Professor in the Department of Culture, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mie University)

 This seminar gave us an opportunity to question the conventional gender outlook in natural history.
Ms. Ogawa began her lecture with a statement: "the 18th century was a period of classification." She introduced the book "Systema Naturae" written by Carl von Linne in 1735 and explained Linne’s classification process of everything, including plants, animals and human beings. She emphasized that his work of " classification" was an arbitrary one. Until Linne’s classification, Nature had been a text of truth, but his work changed it to a text written with arbitrary interpretations.

 For example, Linne made the standard of the classification of plants not dependent on the number of pistils, but on the number of stamens. It was natural for Linne to classify in this way because he lived in a male-dominated society. As an additional example, Ms. Ogawa explained that the term “king bee,” which had no connotation of female characteristics, was used instead of "queen bee", the only bee which can lay eggs. It was obvious that a human judgment which implied “the ruler = male” was reflected in the process of naming insects.

 Ms. Ogawa also referred to the classification of animals. In late 18th century, Linne suggested the classification term of human beings as "Mammalia" instead of "Quadruped." As a background of this classification, there was an increase of the infant mortality rate because of the malady by the wet nurse system in the 18th century. Therefore, the term which Linne suggested contained a strong message that children, as well as female animals, should be raised on their mother’s milk. And he believed that, by giving birth to and raising their own children, this ensured an adequate labor force.

 By citing Linne’s classification, the intellectuals at that time made people think that Nature showed the gender roles. It can be said that Nature was also ‘genderized.’

Report on a study tour to the USA ― American society and civil power
<A report meeting was held on May 29, 2009>

 Ms. Yuko Kouzaki, General Manager of the Community Collaboration Center Office, Aichi Shukutoku University, applied for the U.S. Department of State, Education and Culture Bureau’s International Visitors’ Program, and was chosen as one of the 50 Japanese participants, as well as one of 4400 participants all over the world. For three weeks in January 2009 she visited civil organizations, political institutions, and universities. The aim of her visit was to collect information about the activities connecting local people and their nearby universities, as well as the activities of various NPOs, and to make this information available to assist our students’. Her visit happened to be immediately after President Obama’s inauguration and the social mood was in high spirits. At this report meeting, Ms. Kouzaki introduced specific examples of the associations’ activities and the institutions she visited. This report meeting was held for the staff and faculty members of our school.

Report on the lecture by Ms.Linda Ohama

 Ms. Linda Ohama, a documentary movie director, gave us a lecture entitled "The Connection and Change through Generation of Women in the Past Century." It was hosted by the Department of Global Culture Communication Research Department, Aichi Shukutoku University and co-hosted by IGWS. Ms. Ohama’s lecture was given in English, occasionally in Japanese, as we enjoyed the part of the film "Obachan’s Garden" which she directed. She talked about the woman who traced her grandmother’s roots, and the women of the next generation, as well as replying sincerely to the questions asked by the audience.

To read the Japanese original newsletter, click here and download a PDF file.

"Adobe Reader" is needed to read a PDF file. "Adobe Reader" of the following click a download button, and the person who doesn't have download and install software, please.