Panel Talk to Explore ‘What is Gender?’

Dr. Meredith Whitnah

Dr. Meredith Whitnah

Amanda Sparkman, assistant professor of biology, Sameer Yadav, assistant professor of religious studies, and Meredith Whitnah, assistant professor of sociology, examine the ways gender might be defined in their respective disciplines on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in Hieronymus Lounge at Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall. “What is Gender?” co-sponsored by the gender studies program and the Westmont Feminist Society, is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact organizer Caryn Reeder, associate professor of religious studies, at (805) 565-7047.

“We use the language of gender all the time in our everyday lives, but as recent national conversations and controversies have highlighted, what terms like male and female, transgender, intersex, gender identity, or masculinity and femininity actually mean can be difficult to discern,” Reeder says.

Dr. Sameer Yadav

Dr. Sameer Yadav

Sparkman, who earned a doctorate from Iowa State University, focuses her research on life-history evolution, comparative endocrinology and behavioral ecology. She is a co-principal investigator on an NSF grant, “Integrated Physiological, Genetic, and Demographic Responses to Long-Term Habitat Change.” The research focuses on garter snake populations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Yadav, who earned a doctorate at Duke, focuses his research on systematic and philosophical theology. Earlier this year, he gave a talk, “An Appropriately Scientific Theology,” at Multnomah’s Church and Science conference and published an article, “Mystical Experience and the Apophatic Attitude,” in the Journal of Analytic Theology.

Whitnah, who earned a doctorate at the University of Notre Dame, studies the intersection of gender and religion, especially in the Global South. In August, she presented “Anti-Apartheid Religious Organizations’ Responses to Gender-Based Violence in South Africa” at the American Sociological Association in Seattle.