University of Vermont

Acclaimed Spoken Word Artist to Perform at Race, Gender and Sexuality Conference

On Friday, March 16, UVM will hold its eighth annual Race, Gender and Sexuality conference. Events include two panels, moderated by faculty, allowing students to present and discuss their scholarly work on these issues. The first panel is 2 to 3 p.m. and the second is 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., followed by a reception from 5:15 to 6 p.m. All events will be in Billings North Lounge and are free and open to the public.

The conference supports the university’s diversity mission and helps bring issues of race and sexuality to the forefront, notes Gregory Ramos, associate professor of theatre and director of ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies, which is co-sponsoring the event along with Women’s and Gender Studies. “The Burlington community is interested in the intersection of race and gender and this supports that,” Ramos says. “It’s a great reflection of how our students are viewing these issues.”

Following the panels and reception will be a performance by spoken word artist Beau Sia, who has appeared in “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” on HBO and he has been featured on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Last Call with Carson Daley, Showtime at the Apollo, The Today Show and the Tony Awards.

Sia was chosen, in part, because conference organizers wanted to feature an Asian American to steer away from the purely “black and white” thinking that often happens in discussions of race. He’s also highly entertaining. “Sia’s performance is really smart and really funny in terms of how he deals with Asian American identity issues in America,” Ramos says. “He’s very provocative and humorous about dismantling stereotypes that have existed and continue to exist.”

The conference is supported by the offices of the president, provost, chief diversity officer, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the departments of student life, theatre, history and sociology.