“Failure is Impossible”: The Past, Present, and Future of Feminism
The 19th Annual Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at the University of Rochester
March 23rd & 24th, 2012
Director, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Jonathan Trumball Professor of American History
In 1906, on the final day of the annual National American Woman Suffrage Association and the eve of her 86th birthday, Susan B. Anthony stood before a gathering of fellow suffragists and made what would be her final public address. Reflecting on the collective legacy of the many women who had devoted themselves to the struggle for women’s rights, Anthony announced her now famous words: “Failure is impossible.” As Ida Hustead Harper notes in The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, these words were “the keynote of her [Anthony’s] own life and in her last public utterance she sounded the slogan under which an army of women will march to victory” (1410). Although she did not live to see the victory of the passing of the 19th amendment, commonly known as the “Anthony Amendment,” Anthony did live to witness another victory for women’s rights, the admission of women to the University of Rochester in 1900.
Each year the Gender and Women's Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference held by The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rochester features considerations of gender, sexuality, and women's studies from varied disciplinary fields. The conference aims to foster an environment of interdisciplinary communication, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, we would like to dedicate this year’s conference to a continued reflection upon these issues. We would like to invite graduate students to present research that addresses a wide array of questions regarding the past, present, and future of feminism, women’s rights and gender equality. Some questions one might consider are: What are some of the confrontations faced by past and present women’s movements in regards to race, class, sexuality, religion, etc. and how were/are they dealt with? How have different social and political movements appropriated feminist figures, such as Susan B. Anthony, for their own use and what is the meaning of this appropriation, such as the pro-life SBA List? Is it still important to have Women’s Studies departments in the university or is Gender Studies a more appropriate department heading for such discourse? Along these same lines, does our educational system do an adequate job of teaching the history of the women’s movement and feminist and gender theories in general? How have significant advances in communication systems, such as the Internet, affected the ways in which feminist ideas are disseminated?
As an interdisciplinary conference, we welcome proposal submissions from a wide range of disciplines. These include (but are not limited to) art, art history, cultural studies, education, film, history, geography, law, literary studies, linguistics, media studies, medicine, music, philosophy, and political science. Additionally, research topics relevant to this year’s theme might include the following keywords, though this list is far from exhaustive:
• The body
• Employment and Economics
• Gender and Identity
• Popular Culture
• Public Policy
• Public and Private Spaces
• Violence and Gender/Sexuality
Please send abstracts (in the form of a Word document) of no more than 300 words to Julianne Heck at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the top of the abstract, please include the scholar’s name, home institution, email address/contact information, brief biographical statement, and any audio-visual or technological equipment needed for your presentation. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes, including audio-visual demonstrations. Submissions are due no later than January 28, 2012. You will receive the committee’s decision by February 10, 2012.
University of Rochester
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