The Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, announces a
September 22-23, 2000 conference, Agents of Social Change: Celebrating Women's Progressive Activism Across the Twentieth Century. The conference marks the opening for research of eight major manuscript collections of women activists. Several of the activists themselves will join third-wave feminists, processing archivists, and scholars Linda Gordon, Linda Kerber, Barbara Epstein, Dan Horowitz and others in exploring the research potential and historical significance of these collections.
Papers include those of Dorothy Kenyon (1888-1972), feminist attorney and judge; Jessie Lloyd O'Connor (1904-88), labor journalist and pacifist; Mary Metlay Kaufman (1912-95), labor attorney and civil liberties advocate; Constance Baker Motley (1921- ), NAACP lawyer and first African American woman appointed as a federal judge; Gloria Steinem (1932- ), feminist leader and co-founder of Ms. magazine; Frances Fox Piven (1934- ), welfare rights advocate; the Women=92s Action Alliance (1971-97), a national anti-sexism clearinghouse and advocacy group; and the National Congress of Neighborhood Women (1972- ), a support network for grassroots organizers of poor and working-class women.
Taken together, the collections highlight women's part in the multiple struggles for social change that span the century - labor, socialism, peace, civil liberties, civil rights, as well as women's rights. They illuminate connections between the Old Left and the New as well as the interplay of gender, race, ethnicity, and class within and among reform movements.
Scholars in search of research topics are especially encouraged to attend. There are a few graduate student travel stipends available. To receive more information and registration materials (available late May), contact conference coordinator Joyce Follet at the e-mail address below.
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