Documentary Screening Kicks Off Gender Studies Lecture Series

Lauren DeCillis

Lauren M. DeCillis

This year’s Gender Studies Lecture Series takes a look at how gender shapes history and modern culture. 

The series is a collaboration between the Gender Studies program in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Galerstein Women’s Center at UT Dallas. Each year, four leading faculty and professional researchers share their knowledge and experiences and discuss feminist theories and ideas.  

Lauren M. DeCillis, director of the women’s center, said the series is designed to inform and inspire conversation in a relaxed, educational setting.   

“Our hope is that the University community will spend the evening at UT Dallas, learn about the significance of gender research in our society and be encouraged to advocate for justice and equality,” she said. 

The series, which originated in the early 1990s, kicks off Sept. 25 with a screening of the award-winning documentary “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation. 

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Jennifer Lee. The talk will focus on the importance of women in history and recognizing women as leaders. 

The one-hour documentary covers the second wave of the women’s liberation movement from 1963 to 1970. The work features prominent feminist figures such as Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Holmes Norton, among many others.  

UT Dallas Gender Studies

Gender Studies Lecture Series

Speaker: Film director Jennifer Lee, whose documentary "Feminist: Stories of Women's Liberation" will be screened.
When: 5:30 – 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25
Where: Clark Center (CN 1.120)

Speaker: Shawn McGraw, a supervisory special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations
When: 5:30 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7
Where: Faculty/Staff Dining Hall (SU 2.905B)

Dr. Karen Prager, professor of psychology and program head of Gender Studies, said the documentary targets a younger generation and aims to explain why feminism is still needed today. 

Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation won Best of the Fest for documentary at the Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival. 

Lee has worked for several Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Imageworks and Technicolor. She has done technical and creative work on films including “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Enchanted” and “Beowulf.” 

For the second installment of the series on Oct. 7, Shawn McGraw, a supervisory special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, will lead a discussion on sex trafficking

Prager said participants will learn about the underreported existence of modern-day slavery in the United States.  

“There is an extensive criminal enterprise devoted to kidnapping girls and women from around the world and selling them to customers living here in the U.S.,” Prager said. “There is no country in the world that we know of that does not have some kind of underground slave trade.” 

McGraw has more than 25 years of federal law enforcement experience. He previously served as the deputy attaché for Homeland Security Investigations in Beijing, the attaché in Islamabad and as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative in Moscow for the Office of International Affairs. 

Before working at the Department of Homeland Security, McGraw was a special agent for the legacy U.S. Customs Service. He has conducted numerous successful international investigations that resulted in the indictments, arrests and prosecution of violators of a wide range of U.S. laws.

Both lectures are open to the public.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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