Virtual Conference, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
12:oo noon – 5:00pm EDT
9:ooam – 2:00pm PDT
The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians held its annual business meeting, better known as the Little Berks, online this year. We welcomed all members of the Berks to attend this virtual conference.
Theme: “Recovery as Resistance”
12:00 – 12:05 pm EDT
Welcome and Reading of Land Acknowledgement
Deirdre Cooper Owens
12:10 – 1:10 pm
Roundtable Discussion on What Recovery Means in Indian Country
Margaret Huetl (Univ. of NE-Lincoln), Margaret Jacobs (Univ. of NE-Lincoln) and Farina King (Northeastern State)
1:10 – 2:10 pm
Workshop on Carving Feminist Environments: Female Professional Networks between the “Waves”
Pop-up session sponsored by the Big Berks 2020
Einav Rabinovitch-Fox (Case Western Reserve), J. E. Smyth (University of Warwick UK), Landon Storrs (University of Iowa), and Emily Westkaemper (James Madison University). Einav will pre-circulate the papers.
While recent scholarship has challenged perceptions that feminist organizing and activism declined in the years between the first and second “waves,” it has rarely given attention to women working in creative industries. This panel explores how the formation of feminist spaces in the advertising, fashion, and film industries shaped not only those professions, but the entire landscape of work. Highlighting these alternative—and often overlooked—environments where women continued to fight for gender equality, we ask to generate a conversation on the multidirectional influences of the economy, women’s professionalization, and feminist perspectives in women’s struggles for gender equality and visibility both in the past and today.
As new opportunities became available in work and education after 1920, women sought to redefine their surroundings by claiming new roles, spaces, and identities. Often marginalized or excluded from positions of power in sectors characterized by occupational segregation, professional career women nonetheless created spaces that enabled them to navigate their gender, class, and racial positions. Through the creation of professional networks, clubs, and organizations, these women fought against sexual biases and agitated for better working conditions, equal pay, and professional training, advancing this way feminist issues and causes. Women’s efforts to reshape their professional environments also affected general cultural discourse about gender and work.
Exploring how Hollywood screenwriters, advertising women’s clubs, and black and white fashion designers’ organizations navigated the tensions between opportunities and limitations in the workplace, the panel provides new understandings of the multiple arenas in which women engaged with feminism and redefined its meanings.
2:20 –3:05 pm
Keynote Presentation by Farina King
3:10 – 4:00 pm
Roundtable Discussion on Reproductive Justice, ICE, and Immigrant Women
Virginia Espino (UCLA) and Renee Tajima-Peña (UCLA), producers of No Más Bebés (2015)
Moderator: Deirdre Cooper Owens
4:00 – 5:00 pm