The History Department and the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies of Texas State University - San Marcos seeks papers that investigate the historical legacy of first ladies around the globe for a symposium entitled “The Double Lives of First Ladies: Power, Paradox, and Pageantry” to be held March 1, 2013 in San Marcos, TX (30 miles south of Austin).
After leaving the White House, Harry S. Truman remarked, “I hope some day someone will take time to evaluate the true role of the wife of the president, and to assess the many burdens she has to bear and the contributions she makes.” Yet women’s historians have typically regarded first ladies only tangentially. This symposium hopes to interrogate the public visibility and celebrity of women who share a unique proximity to power while also problematizing first ladies’ extra-constitutional power, their ceremonial roles as public hostesses, and their adoption of traditional gender roles to maximize their political effectiveness.
This symposium will be interdisciplinary, though grounded in historical approaches, and we encourage scholars working from the global north and south, the east and the west, and the imperial and postcolonial perspectives to submit abstracts.
We seek papers that consider the role of the wives of national leaders and their contributions of national political culture. We are interested in the ways that feminist scholars situate the informal, and sometimes problematic, power wielded by the wives of male heads of state. The organizers intend to develop an edited collection of essays on the basis of the work presented.
Please send a 300-word abstract and a brief cv to the conference committee by October 1, 2012.
Dr. Mary C. Brennan (email@example.com)
Dr. Elizabeth Bishop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Jessica R. Pliley (email@example.com)
Department of History, Texas State University - San Marcos
Taylor Murphy Hall
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78704
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