March 19, 2010, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
New Approaches to Second-Wave Feminism, 1964-1984
Commentator: Susan Levine, University of Illinois at Chicago
"The ERA is Their Bag, Agriculture is Mine": Midwestern Agrarian Feminists in the Second Wave, 1964-1984
Jenny Barker-Devine, Illinois College
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Midwestern farm women cultivated agrarian feminisms as a homegrown response to distinctly rural issues. By the late 1970s, inequitable inheritance policies, deteriorating economic conditions, the mechanization of agriculture, and rural depopulation threatened “family” farming operations. Women debated solutions in the farm press and formed female-led organizations that emphasized women’s roles as producers, farm laborers, and vital contributors to the wellness of farm families. In doing so, they challenged assumptions that farming was a purely male profession and demanded that male agricultural leaders utilize female voices to speak for the agricultural community as a whole.
Race Matters? African American Women, Feminism, and Consciousness-Raising in 1970s Chicago
Voichita Nachescu, Grand Valley State University
Consciousness-raising groups, the preferred organizing method of Second Wave feminism, have been misrepresented as including primarily white women. In my paper, I revisit this narrative. I focus on the National Alliance of Black Feminists, which was active in Chicago between 1976 and 1982 and organized consciousness-raising groups for Black women and men. I argue that consciousness-raising groups and assertiveness-training seminars played a crucial part in the life of the organization, offering African American women a way of enacting feminism in their daily lives and within their communities.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at email@example.com, or call 312-255-3524. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.
The Newberry Library Seminar on Women and Gender is co-sponsored by the History Departments of Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago
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