Sharing Stories of Feminist Activism

Kate Drabinski is a lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and director of the WILL Program at UMBC.

Kate Drabinski, UMBCOne of the core courses for majors in UMBC’s Gender and Women’s Studies program is our Studies in Feminist Activism class, and it makes sense that we would ask all students to take this one.

After all, our program is the result of steady and dedicated activists inside and outside the academy who insisted—and still do—that human knowledge demands that all voices, experiences, research questions, answers, and ideas be heard. Gender and women’s studies programs, teachers, and students have always been “breaking ground,” and this course makes that explicit, teaching students histories of feminist activism in many arenas, from 19th century labor politics to today’s struggles for public housing and community justice.

This semester, with a BreakingGround course grant, the class is using digital tools to tell the stories of UMBC’s newest feminist activists. Our students have started a blog exploring their own relationships to activism and telling the stories of activists who inspire them. Other students are producing short digital stories that also will be featured on the blog. Later in the semester, students will use these digital tools to share their experiences in organizing their own projects on and off campus, and to tell the histories of important activist movements that still resonate today.

The students’ blog will become a permanent home for Studies in Feminist Activism at UMBC, updated yearly with the tales of emerging activists. Follow along with us at!

Contact the author, Kate Drabinski, at

UMBC Underground

Andrew Gordon, Communications and Marketing Assistant at the American Health Assistance Foundation, completed his BA in English at UMBC in 2008.

“I have this idea that I really want to make happen. I’m not sure how, but I just hope I can figure it out before it’s too late.” I wrote those words in my journal from a Walker bedroom in the middle of a July night in 2007. It’s where UMBC Underground began.

I was preparing for my senior year, flooded in feelings of nostalgia and excitement for the future. Having continually lived on-campus since the winter of 2005 after a falling out with family, I’d been involved with about as much as I could, including First Year Council, SGA, an OPA through Admissions, SEB, Pi Kappa Phi, a Maintenance Assistant, intramural basketball (2005 champs with Right Hand Rule! haha) and The Retriever Weekly. I was feeling really frustrated with the wide-spread apathy and lack of community I saw among UMBC students. At that time, I felt a particular frustration with The Retriever Weekly, which I didn’t think talked about the issues, news or events that mattered most to students, although they had a special vehicle to do so. I decided to start my own newspaper to fill that void, not yet knowing I was about to embark on the most important experience of my college career.  [Read more…]

UMBC’s Leiter-Mason & Case Blog from Democratic Convention

Caitlyn Leiter-Mason and Mitch Case (photo by Brian Brown)

UMBC’s Caitlyn Leiter-Mason ’14, GWS and political science, and Mitch Case ’11, MCS, are in Charlotte this week serving as delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Leiter-Mason was elected to represent Maryland’s 6th District and Case to represent Maryland’s 7th District in the April 2012 primary election. Both are delegates for President Obama.

The two are blogging about their experiences at A Tale of Two Delegates. [Read more…]