Category Archives: its always women’s history month

June 21, 2011, 8:02 pm

In Sisterhood: Support The Strike At London Met’s Women’s Library

There’s a long history of feminist resistance in England

Eighteen months ago found your Radical in London.  On the trail of radical feminist Leah Fritz, I had also decided to check out what archival material was available on the feminist anti-pornography movement in London.  What I found at The Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University changed the shape of my research.  I discovered that, just as radical feminists in the United States had become intractably divided over the representation of eroticism, Andrea Dworkin’s ideas had roamed across the pond and found both opposition and fertile ground on the British left.  In the UK, where there is no absolute right to free speech, and where skinhead violence had produced legislation against hate speech that would have violated the First Amendment in the United States, the struggle took some similar, but also different forms.

I loved the…

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June 12, 2011, 9:03 pm

What’s More Fun Than Feminist History? More Berkshire Conference Highlights

Iacovetta presents at an event that makes me want to go to Canada

The 15th Berkshire Conference is finishing up with a business meeting as I write here at my desk in Shoreline, a meeting where outgoing president Kathleen Brown of the University of Pennsylvania will hand the organization over to Franca Iacovetta of the University of Toronto.  Iacovetta will take us to Canada for the very first time, just as Vicki Ruiz took us West for the first time in 2005, and Ruth Mazo Karras took us to the Midwest for the first time in 2008.  Thanks to a great program committee, the University of Massachusetts — Amherst, and a hard-working local arrangements (who, it is rumored, started shuttling people to the airport at 4:00 a.m.) the meeting appeared to come off without a hitch.

If you heard a rumor that this year’s festivities included a burlesque show, I won’t say you are wrong — they also…

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June 9, 2011, 1:47 am

The Berkshire Conference: What To Do, What To See, What To Wear

In the introduction to her classic volume of essays, Disorderly Conduct:  Visions of Gender in Victorian America (Oxford: 1986), Carroll Smith-Rosenberg wrote:

The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians has proved one of the pivotal influences in my professional and personal life.  Through both formal and informal comments on a succession of papers, Berkshire members have contributed to my development as a woman historian and as a historian of women.

 Second that.

So Sisters, the triennial gathering of the tribe is about to begin.  By tonight, participants in the 15th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will have begun to assemble for this year’s event, “Generations: Exploring Race, Sexuality, and Labor across Time and Space.” The conference begins on Thursday June 9 and ends on Sunday, a day devoted to seminar-style discussions organized around papers submitted in advance…

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October 17, 2010, 3:16 pm

Double, Double Toil And Trouble: Or, Why Images Of Witch Burnings Are A Bad Idea

Decades ago, feminists really cared about the casual use of images that exploited women’s bodies or that used violence against women as a way to sell a product.  A billboard that went up on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1975 was the catalyst for feminists to form Women Against Violence Against Women, the first of numerous groups in the United States, Canada and England that began to link the anti-battering movement to images that articulated violence against women as part of the status quo.

By the 1990′s, the feminist consciousness that promoted swift and effective action in such cases had gone under cover, due in part to profound disagreements about what constituted a radical feminist agenda and what women’s civil liberties meant.  I am writing a book about why that was, so I won’t go on at length, but you will be hearing more about this topic at Tenured Radical in the coming months…

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October 8, 2010, 8:19 pm

Not Equal Opportunity, But Every Opportunity: An Argument For Single-Sex Education

A longer version of this post was written as a talk I gave at a large public university in spring 201 that has a small residential college dedicated to women.  

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes
Photo credit:  Sophia Smith Collection

Picture this. An intelligent and ambitious young woman leaves her home for a women’s college. Upon arrival, she finds a faculty committed to progressive internationalism, free speech, civil rights, feminism and anti-racism. She finds a campus where women are encouraged to pursue careers in the sciences, the arts and to make a difference in public life during an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions. Encountering the women and men on the faculty over the four years of her education, often in small seminar classes, she comes to understand what it means to dedicate herself to meaningful work. At a women’s college, this student comes to know, as…

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August 1, 2010, 4:00 pm

The Moonlight And Magnolias School Of Women’s History: Katie Roiphe’s Take On Mad Men

Who needs another blogger bashing Katie Roiphe for not being a feminist? And why read more about what is often obvious nowadays: that if you have decent writing skills, have gone to an Ivy League school, and have a mother in the business you can get published even if your ideas are peculiar, uninformed and often just wrong? And why belabor the fact that, while feminists can’t get published nowadays, if you are willing to stand up and tell young women that feminism just doesn’t matter, you can make a tidy living?

If, despite my advice, you were a blogger who wrote such a piece, Katie Roiphe would just say you are part of the victim culture bred by 1970s feminism, and you are so deluded.
Which brings me to what I really want to write about Roiphe’s contribution to the New York Times “Sunday Styles” section today, The Allure of Messy Lives, in which she argues — through a superficial…

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March 8, 2010, 9:24 pm

It’s Women’s History Month: Do You Know Where The Women’s History Blogs Are?

OK, everyone from the Library of Congress to Coca-Cola is “celebrating” women’s history month. Whaddya bet we see a commercial next week where a computer-generated Bella Abzug shares a coke with a computer-generated Betty Friedan to yuck about old times at the 1977 Houston Women’s Conference and that nutty lesbian plank that made Phyllis Schlafly and Jimmy Carter just plotz!?

Better yet, let’s look at some history blogs that celebrate women’s history every day of the year.

Let’s start with History of American Women Blog, written by Maggie MacLean, who also writes Civil War Women Blog. The first has a keen sidebar with links to the Wives of the Signers, and the second, wives of the Civil War Generals. Because both lists are alphabetized by first names, we learn that an astonishing 11 wives of generals were named Mary (Emily comes in second, with 7.) Mary was also the most popular name …

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March 2, 2010, 12:03 am

We’re Bewitched — By Mary Beth Norton! Friday March 5, 8 PM on NBC

Just received at the Radical News Service: “On Friday, March 5, at 8 PM on the new NBC series ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlan Alger Professor of History at Cornell University and author of In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (Knopf, 2002) will tell Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame about her Salem witch ancestor.”

In addition to being a terrific scholar, an all around good person, and a stalwart of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Mary Beth is also herself descended from a Salem witch! I think she mentions this in the book, but I definitely remember her telling me this when we were out on one of our biannual antiquing treks in western Massachusetts.

The show was taped over a year ago, and will be taped once again in the Radical house, since by the time it is on, this historian will be on a Really Big Broom,…

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January 24, 2010, 1:53 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Spring Is Coming, The Scholars Are Blooming

If You Can Rip Yourself Away From The Political Train Wreck In Massachusetts: New Englanders, you may want to put the following event at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center (Ledyard, CT) on your calendar for Saturday, Feb. 27, 1 pm–4 pm: “Sovereignty and Indigenous Rights. Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American Studies at Wesleyan University, moderates this important discussion. Panelists include John Echohawk, president and founder of Native American Rights Foundation; James Jackson, Mashantucket Pequot tribal councilor; Jackson King, general council for Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; Betsy Conway, legal council for Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; and Dr. Cedric Woods, director (interim) of the Institute for New England Native American Studies, UMass. Boston. For ages 16 and older. Free with Museum admission, free to Museum members. High…

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