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.

****

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.

****

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.

PANEL: Women and Cultural Activism

Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 4:45 PM

This panel will be moderated by current SLC Women’s History student, Robert Leleux.

Out South of the Salt Line: Lesbians in the Court of Public Opinion

Debbie Hicks

Tourists recall images of the Gulf South port of Mobile, Alabama: teen Azalea Trail Maids as a pastel curtsy of antebellum hoop skirts; maskers rocking Mardi Gras floats; hurricane flooded bayous, and record-busting deep-sea fishing rodeos. Each image speaks, in part, to an aspect of history, custom, and values shaping the lives of women and their families living in a city which boasts a colonial legacy as birthplace of French Creole culture and Mardi Gras in America. Yet lesbians and other gender-minority women in coastal Alabama, like all women in the Deep South, can rightly claim less significant if less heard herstories of advocacy. Our discussion identifies lesbian advocates, their organizations, and strategies which advanced social justice for lesbians and other minority genders in the Mobile area.

Debbie Hicks is an independent scholar who lives and writes about the lives of women and gender-minorities in coastal Alabama, as well as historically segregated Indian communities in the Deep South. She is an activist whose work has included community organizing for civil rights starting in 1977, during which time she participated in the Student Coalition for Community Health (SCCH) to offer the first integrated health care program serving all residents in a rural Alabama community. She currently coordinates Charlotte’s Tree, a volunteer program that recycles materials destined for landfill to assist low-income persons.

****
Womanspace Gallery: From the Laundromat to the Woman’s Building

Elizabeth Dastin

Los Angeles during the 1970s was host to a wealth of significant art historical feminist activity. The best known is the 1972 installation, Womanhouse, organized by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. As an homage to and extension of these efforts, the cooperative gallery Womanspace (1973-1974) opened its doors and the following year, as did the Woman’s Building (1973-1991), a non-profit arts and education center. Although the Woman’s Building closed in 1991, its legacy has recently generated a surge of interest, culminating in a 2011 Getty sponsored exhibition which historicized its contributions to feminist communities in Los Angeles… I correct the glaring omission of Womanspace within the narrative of the Woman’s Building and locate the gallery as an overlooked and instrumental player within feminist activity in Los Angeles. …I extend the Getty’s energies to unearth a narrative for the post-war art scene in Los Angeles to include Womanspace and its contributions to the regional expressions of 1970s feminism.

Elizabeth Dastin is a PhD candidate in Art History with a certificate in Women’s Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. She holds an MA from Christie’s and a BA from Wellesley College. She has taught and lectured at a number of institutions in New York and California, and she currently teaches at Santa Monica College.

****
Women and Political Activism in Selected Novels by Julia Alvarez

Naglaa Hasaan

Julia Alvarez (1950- ), a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist, is known for her engagement with the political dilemmas of her native country, the Dominican Republic. In her novels In the Time of the Butterflies (1991) and In the Name of Salome (1994), she not only grapples with the traumatic historical experiences of Caribbean islands under dictatorship but she also foregrounds the role of women in creating a new revolutionary spring. Alvarez’s novels will be read in light of Foucault’s theory with particular focus on the mechanisms of power and resistance, how power works out to subjugate people and how resistance can take multiple forms, primary among which are discursive practices. To apply Foucault’s concepts to Alvarez’s feminist/political novels will cast mutual light on both writers, elucidating their views in a way that weds theory and practice.

Naglaa Saad Mohamed Hassan earned her PhD from Cairo University in Egypt. Her dissertation, completed in 2009, is entitled, “Cultural Politics in Selected Works of Derek Walcott: A Study in Postcolonial Theory and Practice.” She is a Fulbright scholar and currently lectures in English at Fayoum University. Her other accomplishments include numerous translations from English to Arabic, and articles exploring the Muslim world and Arab cultural identity.

PREVIEW: 15th Annual Women’s History Month Conference in Honor of Amy Swerdlow

Image

“Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?” — Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month archives. http://www.womenshistorymonth.gov

Hello women’s history enthusiasts and loyal readers!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year– namely, WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! To kick off the month of March, Sarah Lawrence College’s Women’s History graduate program hosts an annual conference, centered around a theme in women’s history and activism. This year, our conference honors the late Amy Swerdlow, historian, activist, member of Women Strike for Peace, and former director of the WH program at SLC. Swerdlow expertly combined scholarship and activism in her own amazing life, and we draw on her example as inspiration for the work and message of this year’s celebration.

womenstrikeforpeace

As a member of the conference’s committee, I was privileged to read and select from the brilliant submissions to our conference this year. In the next day or two, the Re/visionist team will be posting excerpts from the papers that will be featured at the conference on March 1st and 2nd, 2013.

In the mean time, mark your calendars and don’t forget to REGISTER HERE so that when you arrive at Heimbold Auditorium on March 1st and/or 2nd, there will be a lovely folder with your name on it!

I can’t wait to see you all there for a day and a half of illuminating and diverse presentations on the intersection of feminisms, activisms, and scholarship in the study of women’s history.

Cheers!

Emma

Breaking Boundaries & A Night of Spoken Word

This weekend the Sarah Lawrence community will be celebrating Women’s History Month with our 13th Annual Women’s History Month Conference, Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference.  Friday, the conference opens with a plenary featuring Marilyn Wann (author of Fat! So?) then a Night of Spoken Word featuring Maria James-Thiaw and Lara Frater, plus other artists: Ms. MaDonna Awotwi a.k.a. Sankofa the Poet, Jennifer Bartlett, Andrea Baker, Sheila Black, Shaashawn Dial, & David Wolach.

flier by Kate Wadkins | illustration by Cristy Road

A full conference schedule can be found here.

— Kate Wadkins

WELCOME TO THE 2012 WOMEN’S HISTORY CONFERENCE ISSUE!

Well Hello There!

March is Women’s History Month which means it’s time for the 14th Annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College {home to first-ever women’s history program and the subsequent founders of Women’s History Month}!

To celebrate this year’s conference, R/V decided to profile some of this year’s most buzz-worthy presenters and performers! And, in spirit of the conference theme, “Women, the Arts and Activism” we’ve reached out to some of our favorite female artists {one of whom belongs to our Women’s History program} who have graciously let us feature their amazing work!

Art isn’t dead. {it’s just not the boy’s club it used to be}.

HAPPY WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! See you at the conference!

xx

Caroline

p.s. here’s the schedule AND you can register here! x

p.s.s. WE LOVE YOU!