Issue II


Textual Note

I am thrilled to showcase this first collection of student-authored manifestos, compiled in association with student’s participation in the 2014 NYI Seminar,  “Riot Grrl to Little Women: Negating Politics of Identity and Place.”   

Our  seminar explored social categories of sex, gender, and sexual identity, devoting particular attention to ways in which these categories are constructed,  represented, and performed across person and  place.   J. Jack  Halberstam’s (2013) “Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal” and  Judith Butler’s (1990) “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity,” are two of several theoretical works that students considered.   The seminar concluded with a focus on ways diverse girls and young women use writing, art, music, and activism to define their lives and create their identities.

The manifestos, as a culminating seminar assignment, provided students with the opportunity  to play with voice and agency  as each student  developed an informed point of view on a concentrated area of interest within  the seminar topics that we studied.  Students brought diverse levels of knowledge into the seminar.  Some were sophisticated in their prior study of women and gender whereas others were considering primary tenets of the discipline for the very first time. Students’ manifesto  style and approach also was diverse spanning poetry , short story, lyrical analysis, and traditional essay.  The volume preserves the authenticity of student voice, sanctioning this wide range of from, ability, opinion, and talent.   

This was my first time teaching at NYI. I have traveled to Russia several times before, and I have,  for several years, been leading  a globally networked teaching partnership linking General Education women and gender students at the College at Brockport  in New York with linguistics and gender students at Novgorod State University in Russia. Even with these prior touch points to Russia, my time at NYI was  like no other.   I found my  NYI students  smart and engaged, my faculty colleagues interesting and brilliant, the staff gracious and kind, and the backdrop of St. Petersburg, rich and meaningful.  Needless to say, this is an extraordinary institute with extraordinary people in an extraordinary place.  

This Riot Grrrl to Little Women manifesto collection bridges my teaching and scholarly passion in Women and Gender Studies with young and  emerging feminist voices across nations as harnessed at NYI in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Halberstam (2013)  argues, if we are to engage in a contemporary dialogue around feminism and gender equality, we must be outrageous.   As so inspired, here’s a little bit of that outrage.

Barb LeSavoy, PhD 
Director, Women and Gender Studies, The College at Brockport (SUNY)

NYI Sumer 2014 Faculty, Riot Grrrl to Little Women: Negating Politics of Identity and Place