bell hooks Writing Prize in Gender and Women's Studies
The bell hooks Writing Prize in Gender and Women’s Studies is awarded annually by the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh for an outstanding paper on a topic relating to how gender intersects with other social locations such as race, ethnicity, nation, class, sexuality, age, (dis)ability, religion, and culture. The prize is awarded at the annual Arts and Sciences Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony and carries with it a cash award of $100. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Plattsburgh College Foundation.
Pontifications on powerWritten as a "reflection" on a weekend course at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh, "Sexuality, Power & Relationships," taken in the spring of 2018 and led by Prof. Butterfly Blaise and students in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, this essay contrasts attitudes toward and behaviors involving such topics as sex, sexuality, gender identity, and relationships in the 1960s and 70s, when the author, Fred Balzac, was coming of age, and the late 2010s. The essay links these changed interpersonal attitudes and behaviors to such global and national challenges as climate change, rising economic inequality and the impoverishment of half the population, despair and alienation as evidenced by the opioid crisis and neglect of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the decaying of American democracy, arguing that ruthless corporatism and unrestrained capitalism are at the root of many of the social problems discussed in the course at SUNY Plattsburgh. Contending that while the contemporary focus on issues such as gender identity and intersectionality encompass important and necessary struggles for the freedom and empowerment of all peoples, the essay concludes that, to address the global/national as well as the interpersonal problems they face, the younger generations—including Balzac's then-23-year-old son and his peers in the weekend course—will have to take on the corporate-capitalist power structure.