Equality Can’t Wait

New York City is electing its first new Mayor in 12 years. It’s time to make sure NYC’s next leader puts equality at the top of the agenda. Hear from the candidates on the issues that impact women and girls, and on matters that affect every New Yorker.

On Tuesday, May 7, Pace University and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies once again join forces with the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter (NOW-NYC) to host a debate between the top candidates in the upcoming New York mayoral election. The event, “Equality Can’t Wait: NOW-NYC Mayoral Forum,” is meant to ensure that the next mayor of New York City puts equality at the top of his or her agenda.

“NOW approached us and asked if we would host a mayoral candidates’ debate that would focus specifically on issues of interest to women in the upcoming mayoral elections,” explains the Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies department Nancy Reagin, PhD. “We thought that it would be really interesting for our students as well as the community.”

At 7:00 p.m. the candidates of New York City’s mayoral race will take to the Schimmel stage for two back-to-back town hall style debates. The first features Democrats Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, and Bill Thompson, while the second debate includes Republicans John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, and Independent candidate Adolfo Carrión Jr.  The debates will be moderated by former New York Times political writer, Joyce Purnick, winner of the Peter Kihss Award for reporting on city government and the Front Page Award for her political column in New York Magazine and author of Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics. Up for discussion are issues such as equal pay, parental leave, and other issues of workplace equity that the city has a role in regulating and determining.

“We’re hoping for a big turnout from the Pace Community. We’re sure the topics will be of interest to students from all colleges, including Women’s and Gender Studies, Political Science, and Communication students,” Reagin says.

For more information and to register, please visit www.nownyc.org.

Chic To Be Geek

How sci-fi conventions, Star Trek, and a deep love of history paid off for Dyson professor Nancy Reagin. Learn about how her recent publications have shed a historical light on today’s pop culture.

“Like sports fans and music fans, literary fan groups love to discuss and parse out books that they care about, and I’ve always enjoyed dissecting my favorite science fiction series with other science fiction devotees,” says Nancy Reagin, PhD, professor of history and women’s and gender studies within the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Self-described as a life-long fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, Reagin began attending sci-fi conventions when she was a teenager.

As a student and lover of history, Reagin has always been fascinated by the incorporation of history into the dreamed up, imaginary worlds of series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even Twilight. “Science fiction often plays with history, since the stories often involve time travel or discuss how things might have turned out differently if something in the past had been changed,” Reagin says. “And many characters and themes are often deliberately based on historical examples: the Trade Federation in Star Wars is similar to the British East India Company and Voldemort and the Death Eaters in Harry Potter were modeled on the Nazis, according to J.K. Rowling.”

Reagin published several books on modern German history after earning her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, but in recent years she’s begun to translate her love of history and literature into several popular history anthologies that have been enjoyed by scholars and non-scholars alike.

In 2009, Eric Nelson, a Pace alumnus and executive editor at Wiley & Sons, asked Reagin to help develop a series focused on history and pop culture. “I knew that the series would be a lot of fun to pull together,” she says. “It was easy to recruit historians who were also fans to use their expertise to analyze various series.”

Since then, Reagin has worked to produce Twilight and History, which was published in 2010 and translated into six languages, and Harry Potter and History, which was released this past June. Currently, Reagin is working on  Star Trek and History, which will be on the market in summer 2012. She is also collaborating with Janice Liedl, PhD, a historian from Laurentian University, on The Hobbit and History, due out in 2013.

Also on Reagin’s docket this year is a collaboration with Lucasfilm and Star Wars creator George Lucas. When representatives from Lucasfilm approached Wiley & Sons to create a volume dedicated to the history in Star Wars, the publishing house knew that Reagin was the person for the job. Working with  Liedl, Reagin plans on examining the historical influences in the Star Wars dynasty.

“To work with Lucasfilm on this is an amazing opportunity. I never imagined—when I saw the first Star Wars movie at the age of 17—that I’d be editing a scholarly volume on this in collaboration with George Lucas!” she said.

But it isn’t just the pros that are getting in on the action. Reagin has actively recruited some of her students at Pace to contribute to the volumes she’s worked on.  “I realized early on that this series was also a possible vehicle for publishing work by some of my best students,” she says. “I wanted to offer some of my students the opportunity for their work to appear in collections that contained chapters by senior historians and which were published by a good trade press.”