Centenary professors organize public forum, Q & A on gender and sexuality

SHREVEPORT, LA —  Centenary College will hold an open forum on Wednesday, February 12, to allow students and community members to discuss issues of gender and sexuality. The free public event begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Whited Room in Bynum Commons.

Participants will be able to use a digital portal to submit questions anonymously to be addressed by a panel that includes Centenary professors Dr. Amy Hammond, Dr. Michelle Wolkomir, and Dr. Amanda Donahoe. Following brief introductions from the panelists, the forum will follow a question and answer format, allowing the members of the audience to direct the discussion topics.

The forum is returning for its third year. It was originally modeled on a student-organized event in which Hammond and Wolkomir were invited to participate, and in February 2019 the professors decided to create further opportunities for discussion with the forum.

“Gender and sexuality are central organizing forces in our society,” explains Wolkomir, a sociologist. “As such, they have enormous consequences for how we engage in social interaction beyond just our intimate relationships and families. They impact how we structure the workforce, distribute resources, and make rules. This forum is designed to allow the audience to question, explore and analyze these interconnections.”

Donahoe is joining the forum as a panelist for the first time this year. Her field, political science, gives her an important perspective on questions of gender and sexuality.

"As a political scientist, I study social and political power, and gender is a system of power, a source of privilege,” says Donahoe. “Like any other form of privilege, we are better prepared to challenge it if we understand it."

Hammond believes that the forum’s anonymous Q & A model creates a discussion space that is robust yet safe.

“We have seen students and community members submit questions that might be considered too ‘taboo’ if asked face to face,” says Hammond. “But these are important, serious questions that deserve clear, research-based answers. The format of this event gives me and my colleagues a chance to share our knowledge on many topics related to human sexuality, and I think it is a wonderful learning opportunity for all who attend.”

For more information about the forum, please contact Dr. Amy Hammond at ahammond@centenary.edu.


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