PANEL: Education and Activism

Saturday March 2, 2013 10:00 AM

This panel will be moderated by Dr. Kathryn Hearst of Sarah Lawrence College. 

Feminist Pacifism and Gendered Nonviolence in the Age of New Media

Amy Schneidhorst

The Sixties anti-nuclear and anti-war group, Women Strike for Peace was known for its media savvy. Their creative direct action attracted broad media attention and created a space for moral and ethical critiques of realpolitik policy during the Cold War. This paper analyzes the legacy of WSP on the rhetoric and tactics of post-Cold War era, feminist-pacifist CODEPINK and maternal nonviolence proponent Kathy Kelly. This paper
finds, in an era where citizen journalists have a great latitude to craft their own brand, that Kelly and CODEPINK both perpetuate maternalism to justify female participation in international debates about war and militarism while at the same time they utilize post-modernist and feminist critiques of international relations in their criticism of U.S. economic sanctions and drone warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Amy Schneidhorst received her Ph.D. in History with a concentration in Gender and Women’s studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, England, has completed M. Ed. coursework at University of Illinois at Chicago, and holds a BA in Art History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her most recent publication, from which she draws material for this presentation, is Building a Just and Secure World: Popular Front Women’s Struggle for Peace and Justice in Chicago during the 1960s.

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For the Public Good: Connecting Women’s History and Public Education Advocacy 

Jessie B. Ramey

Public education is a public good. That’s the rallying cry of a new grassroots
movement in the United States opposed to a substantial wave of education “reformers” interested in privatizing public education. These reformers promote the fairly radical belief that public education – an institution widely regarded as a cornerstone of American democracy – has failed. Using the language of choice, competition, accountability, and data-driven decision-making, they argue that public education ought to be subjected to the business techniques of market capitalism. Ironically, those who promote these corporate-style reforms and privatization plans do so in the name of civil rights, equity, and racial justice. Yet privatization efforts of public education have actually harmed our poorest students. To understand how and why local communities are rejecting these corporate-style reforms, this presentation takes Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a case study, situating the struggle for public education in historical and political context.

Jessie B. Ramey, Ph.D., earned her MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002. She is a historian of working families and U.S. social policy and an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in Women’s Studies and history at the University of Pittsburgh. Her new book, Child Care in Black and White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages won the Lerner-Scott Prize in women’s history from the Organization of American Historians, the Herbert G. Gutman Prize from the Labor and Working-Class History Association, and the John Heinz Award from the National
Academy of Social Insurance.

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Who Needs Feminism? Feminist Pedagogy and Public Engagement in a Digital World

Rachel F. Seidman

As a final project in my class at Duke on Women and the Public Sphere: History,
Theory and Practice, the students created a poster campaign called Who Needs Feminism. In this campaign, individuals from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and gender identities held up signs completing the sentence “I need feminism because…” When the students posted these pictures online, they instantly “went viral.” Today Who Needs Feminism has received over 23,000 “likes” on Facebook, thousands of submissions of new posters from around the world, and the attention of media giants. The students
continue to organize and expand on the campaign, and to use it as a springboard for activism. Faculty on other campuses are using the campaign as the basis for lesson plans in their classrooms. I hope to use our experience to open up a dialogue on how these shifts affect the powerful connections between feminist pedagogy, civic activism, and what we might call public scholarship.

Rachel F. Seidman received her B.A. in History and Classics from Oberlin college, and her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Yale University. She is the Associate director of the Southern Oral History Program at the Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill. Her most recent publication is “After Todd Akin, Why Women – And Men – Still Need Feminism” for The Christian Science Monitor.

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