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Faculty To Share Female-Centric Research For History Month

March 14, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Associate professor of history Rosanne Barker has conducted research on the Mescalero Apache and how the U.S. Indian policy has affected women of the tribe. —From www.mescaleroapache.com

Sam Houston State University’s College of Education graduate programs and Professional Academic Center for Excellence will close out Women’s History Month by spotlighting the research of female faculty members.

Presentations by Melinda Kovacs, Rosanne Keathley, Judy Sandlin, Emily Roper and Rosanne Barker will be discussed for the Women’s Research on Women Forum on Thursday (March 29), at 3 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 320.

“The forum will share with the public four research projects by faculty members on women’s issues and the effects of that research in today’s society,” said Marsha Harman, PACE director.
Kovacs, an assistant professor of political science, will share her work on “Gendered Introductions: Women in Introductory Political Science Texts,” which examines how women and men are presented in introductory textbooks in political science.

“While major political decisions are being made by the population, this research highlights what we are explicitly and implicitly taught about whose input is really welcome in the political process,” she said. “By raising issues of inclusion, it focuses our attention on the need for inclusion in political processes.”

Keathley, an associate professor and interim chair of SHSU’s health and kinesiology department, and Sandlin, a clinical assistant professor in the department, will discuss “Risky Alcohol Use Among Young Women.”

Keathley and Sandlin report that females who consume three to four alcoholic beverages per week are at increased risk for cancer, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, depression, and memory and cognitive decline.

“Young females, aged 16 to 26, often participate in dangerous alcohol related activities that can lead to death, disability, and loss of personal or professional reputation,” they said. “These risky behaviors include binge drinking, ‘drink driving,’ mixing alcohol with energy drinks, and drunkorexia (replacing the nutrients from food with the empty calories of alcohol.”

Roper, an assistant professor of kinesiology, will present “Empowering Women and Girls through Sport and Physical Activity,” focusing on the significance of how men and women are taught to understand and physically use their bodies and what differences are involved.

Specifically, she will present three of her recent research projects: female runners’ perceptions of fear and concerns for safety engaging in outdoor leisure activities, representations of physically active girls in children’s literature, and the roles that women play in the Diamond Dolls organization and the meaning and significance of those (gendered) roles in the university and athletic setting.

Barker, an associate professor of history, will present “Miserable in the Extreme: A Gendered Assessment of U.S. Indian Policy for the Mescalero Apache,” which examines the intersection of cultural attitudes, gender, and U.S. Indian policy as it played out on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in the 1930s.

The Mescalero Apache, historically a nomadic people, posed a significant problem for the United States government because they refused to become sedentary farmers even when most of their reservation land disappeared, according to Barker.

“In recognition of the failure of (land) allotment, Congress then passed the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 in an effort to include Native Americans in the New Deal,” she said. “Accordingly, efforts were made on the Mescalero Apache Reservation to assess and improve living conditions.

“It is within this effort that the contrasting but longstanding belief systems of the two cultures, Apache and white America, become apparent. Housing surveys done in 1934 and 1936 reveal as much about white cultural attitudes and notions of gender as they do about the Apache lifestyle,” Barker said. “While reporting Apache living conditions as ‘miserable in the extreme,’ the three surveyors, all female, realized that Apache cultural beliefs, largely unchanged for centuries, guaranteed that U.S. Indian policy would again fail.”

For more information, contact Beverly Irby, COE associate dean for graduate programs, at 936.294.1134.




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