In recognition of the transition from February to March—Black History Month to Women's History Month—the Gender and Women's Studies Department will host the one-day symposium "Testify, Witness and Act: Black Women's Resistance" at several campus locations today.

"It is important for the College campus to realize how closely linked Africana Studies and Gender and Women's Studies are," said Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry.

The symposium, organized by faculty members from both the Africana Studies and Gender and Women Studies departments, is designed to complement last year's event. Angela Davis, an outspoken political activist, feminist and author was featured as the keynote speaker in 2010.

"This is really kind of a follow-up on Angela keep that conversation alive," said Program Director and Professor of Gender and Women's Studies Jennifer Scanlon.

The theme of the event this year is "resistance," which will address how the concept and practice of black women's resistance to oppression in the United States has changed over the centuries since antebellum and the Civil War.

The College will welcome four scholars to campus as part of the symposium: Jessica Millward (University of California-Irvine), Aisha Fitch (University of California-Los Angeles), Salamishah Tillet (The University of Pennsylvania) and Bettye Collier-Thomas (Temple University) will all speak.

"These annual events are a really good way for us to work together and to bring renowned scholars to Bowdoin," said Casselberry, who described the symposium and all it has to offer as an "important intellectual project" that students can participate in.

Involved Bowdoin faculty include Scanlon, Casselberry, Lecturer in Africana Studies Jessica Johnson and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Brian Purnell.

"This is interdisciplinary, so students will be exposed to faculty members from a variety of institutions and a variety of disciplinary perspectives," said Scanlon.

"I think, for students, attending a symposium is kind of a unique opportunity," she added. "[Students] are not necessarily engaging with Bowdoin faculty about their research...symposiums actually give students the opportunity to be in that environment."

Johnson also discussed the opportunity to communicate with professors and scholars as part of the symposium.

"For people who are in our will be a good way to see us in a different mode," she said. "It is really important for the professors, but it's really important for the students, too."

The symposium will feature three different panels in Moulton Union's Lancaster Lounge, as well as a keynote address to be given by Collier-Thomas in Kresge Auditorium.

Johnson explained the panels will focus on different time periods: "Antebellum through the Civil War," "The Twentieth Century," and "Academic Work and Activism—Going Forward."

"Each of the panelists are specialists in particular areas," Casselberry said.

According to Casselberry, the participants are "national scholars...on the front line of thinking...the cutting edge of their field in terms of black women's history and resistance from slavery up until the present time."

The keynote address by Collier-Thomas will revolve around her most highly-acclaimed publication, "Jesus, Jobs and Justice: African American Women and Religion." The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

"It's going to be a really, really exciting time...going across the historical spectrum," said Johnson. "You can come to any of those and get good discussion."

"If you come for the whole day, you'll get the whole experience," she added.

Regarding the symposium, Casselberry said that its collaborative message is "important for our intellectual community and our theoretical growth."

Today's symposium also kicks off a series of events scheduled over the course of Women's History Month, details of which are forthcoming.

The panel discussions, all in Lancaster Lounge, will be underway from 8:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m., and again from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Collier-Thomas will deliver the keynote address in Kresge Auditorium at 7 p.m. tonight, with a book signing to follow.