Category Archives: the Berkshire Conference

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 10, 2011, 6:40 pm

Berks Highlights: There’s Got To Be A Morning After (If You Can Make It Through The Night)

Sarah Palin is not at the Berkshire Conference

The sun is finally shining in Amherst, after a day and a night of severe weather that created delays, cancellations, and flights diverted to places like Syracuse.  Power was out for up to four or five hours in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but not at the air-conditioned opening reception last night, where we all treated each other to drinks purchased with the *two* free tickets that were stapled to the conference folder.  As most of us enjoyed ourselves at the opening plenary, dinner at Amherst Chinese (which can seat a large group if you are looking for a dinner reservation tonight) and the dessert reception, our sisters were fighting their way cross-country through a storm system that stretched from Chicago to Philadelphia.  Rumor has it that the heroic local arrangements committee was dispatching transportation to Bradley Airport in…

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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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June 6, 2010, 7:01 pm

After Days of Being Serious I Need To Post This

Go here for Historiann’s report on this year’s Little Berks. As everyone has inferred, I missed the Little Berks — one of my favorite annual events — for the Policy History Conference. In Historiann’s honor, even though she came east without telling me, ahem, I am posting a video from Garfunkel and Oates, the girl version of the Smothers Brothers.

Take it away, girls, on “Pregnant Women Are Smug!”

February 14, 2010, 3:58 pm

Valentine’s Day Super Sunday Radical Roundup

Do As I Say Not As I Do Department: Yesterday, when I thought that a mysterious Web Presence was taking out my illustrations and leaving a ghastly grey hole in their place, I took a bunch of the affected pics down. This was precipitous. Further research on Websense (that I should have done at the time perhaps, but I was maxing out the archives hours) suggests that it is a network device that is location specific, not a bot at all, much less a tool of the capitalist patriarchy. Here I am sitting in a Starbucks on 93rd and Broadway (which I think is a tool of the capitalist patriarchy) and my blog hasn’t been mangled by lost pictures and ominous messages at all. Still the mystery remains: why did Websense knock out a picture of that sexy Radical cowboy?

Feeling Helpless About Haiti? Have An Archives, Museum Or Public History Degree? Well, the last thing they need in Port-au-Prince…

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October 7, 2009, 2:34 pm

Call For Papers: The Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women


The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians has just posted its call for papers for the 15th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, which will be held at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, June 9-12, 2011. The theme is “Generations,” and the link to the call will remain in the sidebar at left until March 1 2010, the closing date for proposals.

As your favorite Radical has been a program chair in the past, and remains an active member of the organization, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions:

Do you have to be a woman to attend this conference? Oh, what is a woman anyway: as Denise Reilly would say, “Am I that name?” No, you don’t have to be a woman to participate or attend, but you will certainly have a better time if you are interested in feminism and/or scholarship on women. There are some men who are regulars (Tom Dublin, Danny Walkowitz, Marc Stein and…

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April 25, 2009, 12:53 pm

The Little Berks: Day 1

This year The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, the group that plans the triennial Berkshire Conference, is not meeting in its normal bucolic setting, but in the Big City — Philadelphia, to be precise, home to the University of Pennsylvania and our fabulous new President, Kathleen Brown.

We are all shacked up in the Inn at Penn, along with a zillion or so track and field athletes from all over the world who are here to compete at the Penn Relays. This means that somehow — and no one is quite clear how — we middle-aged historians got bumped to rooms with one King bed, as opposed to the two double bed rooms we had signed up for. This caused some fuss, resulting in free breakfast coupons for the entire group, which my roommate and I plan to go spend. “All you can eat!” said one of us in excitement yesterday.

But of course, the real business of this organization is business….

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June 17, 2008, 2:15 pm

As Catharine MacKinnon Would Say, “Are Women Human?”

A blogger who goes under the pseudonym of Mercurius Rusticus has taken it into his head to declare the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (as well as all fields of study related to women rather than “humans”) marginal, faddish and irrelevant: read about it here. The passage where he heaps scorn on this trendy organization (that first convened in 1930 as a small group of women responding to male exclusion from the professional activities of the AHA, and which held its first major conference in 1973), has been called to our attention by a post at Cliopatria (and folks, it’s a news item, not an endorsement, so if you do visit, do me a favor and don’t trash the messenger.) Rusticus writes:

“It is difficult to think of anything more depressing than a conference of female historians or more irrelevant to the future of the discipline of history. None of these figures has ever appeared in…

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June 13, 2008, 3:43 am

Day 1 at the Berks: Let the Receptions Begin

Today was reception after reception after reception, since most of the action doesn’t start until tomorrow. We were received at 4:00 by Feminist Studies, where longtime editor Claire Moses stood up on a table and recounted for all of us the history of the journal and the history of the journal’s presence at the Berkshire Conference: it went on for a while, and occasionally the babble of the crowd would get too loud and someone would tell everyone to hush so we could listen to Claire’s speech. Part of what was being said on my side of the room was several of us realizing that we had had our first articles published in FS. So lost was I in that nostalgic moment that I admit I didn’t hear much of the rest, except that the editors have very beautiful notebooks with designs from old FS issues on them that they are selling at the conference. They are also making the entire run of FS

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June 6, 2008, 12:51 pm

The Return of the Radical: A Few Announcements

Well, vacation’s over. That’s the bad news. The good news is: vacation is about to begin! Yes, that time of year for which we all gave up the big bucks has arrived, the summer vacation. Of course, if you have an administrative job or two, as I do, there are always things to take care of over the summer: new faculty to get settled, post-docs to welcome, reports to write, searches to plan for, staff to oversee, budgets to finagle — er, I mean close. But this time of year calls to mind why many of us chose this profession in the first place: intensive reading, whole days to spend writing, imagining the classes we will teach in the fall with perfect students in them who have not yet misunderstood us or done anything weird that takes days to unravel. And did I mention the reading?

I have a few things to do before leaving for the Fourteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women

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