The University of Missouri–St. Louis will present “Compromising Positions: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the State of Missouri” April 7 and 8 in the J.C. Penney Conference Center at UMSL. Speakers will examine individual and group positions on race, gender and sexuality in political, legal, historical, social, educational and creative arenas in Missouri from the pre-colonial period to present day.
Situated in the middle of the U.S. and composed of old South, frontier West and lower Midwestern values and cultures, Missouri is an intersectional border state. Its ongoing debates on race, gender and sexuality have often led to compromised positions, negotiations and agreements that mark the sites of multiple, often muffled purposes and meanings that have had unsettling or sustaining ramifications for individuals, groups and the state. Speakers will explore and discuss these positions throughout the two-day conference.
Speakers will include Dr. Robert Moore, who has worked for the National Park Service for more than 25 years and written eight books, including “The Gateway Arch: An Architectural Dream;” Kathryn Red Corn, director of Osage Tribal Museum and Archives; Gary Fuenfhausen, curator at the Andrew County Historical Society; Ann Hazelwood, writer, historian and quilt appraiser; and Lynn Rubright, professor emeritus at Webster University in Webster Groves, Mo., and recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2007 ORACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Lynne Jackson, Dred Scott’s great-great-granddaughter will also have a presentation on the first day of the conference. Jackson’s presentation will be followed by a series of music performances, including “Freedom Suite” and the world premiere of “Harriet’s Story.” Barbara Harbach, professor of music at UMSL, composed both pieces, which were inspired by Dred Scott and his family.
Interested participants can register to attend the full two-day conference or just one day. An optional bus tour during the afternoon of April 8 will include visits to historic homes, cemeteries and the Old Courthouse, scene of the Dred Scott Decision.
“Compromising Positions” is funded with a generous grant from the Missouri Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. UMSL sponsors include the Gender Studies Program, Department of History, Women in the Arts and Division of Continuing Education.