Colleen Lutz Clemens, Ph.D. "The Rhetoric of Veiling in Contemporary American Culture"

This talk will explore the role that stories of women in the Muslim world play in “the West’s” creation of the essential notion of “the Muslim woman.” By studying popular texts focusing on women of this region, this talk will argue that such stories are part of a larger constructed narrative of the Muslim world and will seek to consider the ways such a narrative supports Western motives in the area. Most importantly, this talk will focus on Malala Yousafzai’s memoir’s place in this longer line of books from the perspective of women and will ask participants to consider how Malala and her story are working in—and perhaps being used by—Western culture, a disconnect Malala herself acknowledges when she writes the line from which this talk takes its title. It will then consider what the presenter calls "phoenix narratives" that also have a cultural currency in American discourse.

Colleen Lutz Clemens, Ph.D., associate professor of Non-Western Literatures and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, earned her Ph.D. in Post-Colonial Literature at Lehigh University. Her dissertation focuses on issues of veiling in literature and studies the intersection of women’s issues in art and politics.

Previously, she earned her M.Ed. in English Education at DeSales University (where she still teaches courses on South Africa and English Composition) while teaching twelfth grade English in the public system. She earned her undergraduate degrees in English and French Education from Penn State University where she was a Schreyer Scholar focusing on French drama.

Her academic work has been published in Feminist Formations , Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing, South Asian Review, and NCTE’s English Journal and online at World Literature Today. She serves as an academic consultant for the Contemporary Literary Criticism series, where she focuses on postcolonial writing by women, and for the Norton Anthology of World Literature. She reviews novels by postcolonial authors for Mosaic Magazine and World Literature Today and scholarly texts about world issues and American culture for The Journal of American Culture.

Among her creative endeavors, she is the editor of several books of non-fiction including Philadelphia Reflections: Stories from the Delaware to the Schuylkill and has published short essays in various collections including Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Her work on miscarriage and infertility has been published in many outlets including here at TRIVIA, in the collection Three Minus One, and in Chatter House Press’s Biting the Bullet collection, where she won honorable mention for her essay “Breath by Breath.”

On the web, she is a former staff writer for bitchflicks where she wrote about issues of gender in popular films. She has published pieces on Scary Mommy, Literary Mama, and feministing. She is an educational expert for where she writes about diversity in literature and writing. Her interests in teaching, world literature, and social justice issues come together in her blogging for Teaching Tolerance, a publication she has admired since her undergraduate days.

Colleen has been invited to several venues to talk about the depictions of Islamic veiling in literature and culture and is available for talks and publication invitations. She was the 2016 Chair for the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Schools’ Women’s and Gender Studies Conference held at DeSales University in April 2016 and at Muhlenberg College in 2017. She is also the Kutztown delegate for the PASSHE Women’s Consortium and chaired its 2016 conference at KU.

In the Lehigh Valley, she is active in the community and is eager to participate in dialogues on important issues. She is a regular contributor to WFMZ’s Business Matters. Her participation in such forums has roused the ire of alt-right media, which targeted her for her tweets on toxic masculinity.

Timeline for this Event:
10:30 Coffee & Conversation
11:00 Announcements & Presentation
12:30 Q&A Ends

Those who wish to seek a local eatery after the event will find a number of options in the neighborhood for lunch or brunch, including Starbucks, Pizza Mart, The Hamilton Kitchen, Dime, Queen City BBQ, Billy's Diner, and the Allentown Brew Works.

There is no charge for this event, as we strive to make as much of our programming as possible accessible to all. However, donations will be accepted to offset the cost of our regular ongoing expenses.

Street parking is free on Sundays, but please note there is construction in the area. We suggest arriving early if you've never been to the location. Garage parking is available in the Community Deck accessible from 6th and Walnut Streets (both one way) and only costs a few dollars.

July 07, 2019 at 11:00am - 12:30pm
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
522 W Maple St
Allentown, PA 18101
United States
Google map and directions
Jason Brocious ·

Will you come?