On October 13, Sociology Professors Rachael Russell and Brian Starks, in concert with the Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) National Honor Society for Sociology and the Student Organization of Sociology (SOS), presented non-violent human rights activist, sociologist, and author, Dr. Nina Smart. Dr. Smart educates people about female genital mutilation (FGM) and works to eradicate the practice in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Dr. Smart offered a detailed report on her work in Sierra Leone. She introduced FGM as a human rights violation at the global level and a treasured tradition at the local level in Sierra Leone where 88% of women are initiated into the Female Secret Society, Bondo. FGM is part of the initiation ritual. She discussed how recent political dynamics, including a temporary ban on FGM due to the Ebola crisis and a proposed “Age of Consent” position on FGM, are effecting the practice in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Smart’s presentation was followed by a book signing of her memoir, Wild Flower – the True Story of a Romanian Girl in Africa, which details her connection to FGM in Sierra Leone. She encourages Social Science, Gender and Women’s Studies, Conflict Management, International Affairs, and English classes to use her story as a gateway for class discussions on relevant topics from immigration to deviance to politics to race/ethnicity to gender and female sexuality.
Posted: November 3, 2016