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June 17-18-19, 2004

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Spearkers Series 2004-2005

September 21 4:00-6:00 7-162 (AECP)
Shauna Butterwick & Kaela Jubas, UBC
"What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?!"
Exploring Women's Informal Pathways to Jobs in the IT Field:

Issues of invisibility, identity, and isolation. Examining the stories: work and career histories of women working in the IT field. Broadly conceived, indicating an access and participation in a diverse array of fields and niches. Learning pathways include a complex mix of formal and informal learning where both serendipity and planning are evident. This presentation will begin with an overview of themes emerging from a preliminary analysis and then turn focus to case scenarios about women working in the technical communications arena.

Shauna and Kaela are WALL case study group investigators in the project titled "Women's Alternative and Informal Learning Pathways to Jobs in Information Technology"

October 13 12:00-2:00 12-274 (SESE)
Joan Eveline & Discussant
"Putting the Spotlight on Ivory Basement Work: Essential and Essentially Unseen"

Research on the corporatisation of universities has paid almost exclusive attention to academic and managerial staff in the 'ivory tower'. In contrast, this paper looks at the 'ivory basement' of the university, in which general staff and lower-level academics, most of whom are women, are clustered. Drawing on focus groups and interviews, the study examines the nature of the hierarchical division between 'basement' and 'tower', the gendering of university rewards and spaces it fosters, and the imbalances it perpetuates, showing a marked gap between the expertise involved and the rewards it carries.

Drawing on stories from ivory basement workers the paper suggests that the university's daily functioning depends on this work being done so well it becomes invisible. In particular, it highlights the investments that women themselves may have in aspects of their work remaining hidden.

Joan Eveline teaches sociology of work, gender and industrial relations in the UWA Business School, University of Western Australia. Her research on women's investments in change agency, on gendered organizations and on citizenship at work has examined primary, secondary and service industries, including mining, call centres, policing and higher education. Her recently published book is: "Ivory Basement Leadership: Power and Invisibility in the Changing University" (Perth, UWA Press, 2004).

November 4 4:00-6:00 7-162 (AECP)
Michael Riordan
"The Unauthorized History of the World"

Drawing on his new book, An Unauthorized Biography of the World:  Oral History on the Front Lines, Michael will speak about his experience of engaged oral history, particularly around issues of work. This talk will explore the difficult, sometimes dangerous work of recovering fragments of human story that have gone missing from the official version.  Michael brings to the conversation thirty years of experience as a writer and broadcaster, one of many who gather silenced voices and lost life-stories.  In his book, the canvas is broad, the stakes high: the long battle for First Nations lands in Canada, environmental justice in Chicago, genocide in Peru, homeless people organizing in Cleveland, September 11/01 and after in New York City, gay survivors of electroshock in Britain, the struggle to preserve a people's identity in Newfoundland, peasant resistance to a huge transnational gold mine in Turkey. 

Michael Riordon teaches writing and has written two books of oral history:  Out our Way: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Country (BTL, 1996) and Eating Fire: Family Life on the Queer Side (2001). He lives near Picton, Ontario.

November 23 4-6:00 12-274 (SESE)
Sharzad Mojab
"Alienation: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Immigrant Women's Work Experience in Diaspora"

(visit again for more details soon)





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