The Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality aims to host fresh conversations on the history of women, gender, and sexuality in America without chronological limitations. Most sessions will offer the opportunity to discuss new scholarship presented in pre-circulated essays. These sessions begin with remarks from the essayist and an assigned commentator, after which the discussion is opened to the floor. Other meetings will feature panel discussions and “state of the field” conversations.Each session is followed by a reception with light refreshments.

 

Attendance is free and open to everyone. Subscribers who remit $25 for the year will receive early online access to any pre-circulated materials. Subscriptions also underwrite the cost of the series. Pre-circulated materials will be available to non-subscribers who have RSVP’d for a session on the day prior to the program. Subscribe to this seminar series and you will receive access to the seminar papers for SIX series: the Boston Seminar on African American History, the Pauline Maier Early American History Seminary, the Boston Seminar on Environmental History, the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality, the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture, and our new Seminar on Digital History. We recognize that topics frequently resonate across these four fields; now, mix and match the seminars that you attend!

 

Join the mailing list today by emailing seminars@masshist.org.

 

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the latest scholarship.Subscribe
October 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “Ladies Aid” as Labor History: Working Class Formation in the Interwar Syrian American Mahjar 15 October 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Stacy Fahrenthold, University of California, Davis Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, Northeastern University Founded in 1917, the Syrian Ladies Aid Society of Boston (SLAS) provided food, shelter, education, ...

Founded in 1917, the Syrian Ladies Aid Society of Boston (SLAS) provided food, shelter, education, and employment to Syrian workers. Volunteers understood the SLAS as both a women’s organization and a proletarian movement led by Syrian women. Drawing from SLAS club records, private family papers, activist correspondence, and the Syrian press, this essay calls attention to the role women played in working class formation in the Arab American diaspora, and argues for a class-centered reassessment of “ladies aid” politics.

 

This series is co-sponsored by the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society & Culture.

More
December 2019
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, Social Medicine, and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle 17 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sandy Placido, Queens College, CUNY Comment: Susan Reverby, Wellesley College Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual ...

Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual whose life illuminates the crucial role Puerto Ricans played in Cold War-era freedom struggles. Cordero worked as a physician, public health advocate, and radical organizer in New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Egypt, and Nicaragua for over four decades. Using a new framework of feminist social medicine, this essay examines Cordero’s contributions to the field of social medicine, particularly maternal and children’s health.

More
January 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar "For I'd Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World": Mae Gadpaille's Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community 21 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mary McNeil, Harvard University Comment: Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; ...

In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille's efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could "belong" to this community and who might be left at the margins.

More
February 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “What the Women Can Do:” Doctors’ Wives and the American Medical Association’s Crusade Against Socialized Medicine 18 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kelly O’Donnell, Thomas Jefferson University Comment: Oliva Weisser, University of Massachusetts, Boston In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national ...

In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national health program in this country, through lobbying and public outreach about the dangers of socialized medicine. Their most powerful weapon in this fight was a less conventional medical instrument: their wives. This paper examines the mobilization of the AMA Woman’s Auxiliary as the main “public relations firm” of organized medicine during these debates and their lingering influence on American health politics.

More
March 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Contesting Domesticity – a Panel Discussion 17 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kwelina Thompson, Cornell University; Shoniqua Roach, Brandeis University; Laura Puaca, Christopher Newport University Comment: Micki McElya, University of Connecticut The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of ...

The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of women and the workings of gender. How have women experienced, challenged, leveraged, and shaped the domestic? This panel will consider these questions and discuss the domestic as a contested site of constraint and possibility. Shoniqua Roach theorizes the meanings of black domesticity as a deeply fraught space marked by anti-black sentiment and yet full of insurgent potential. Kwelina Thompson explores the history of the La Leche League – a Catholic mothers group that organized to support breastfeeding mothers in the mid-twentieth century. Finally, Laura Puaca tells the story of the expansion of post-WWII vocational rehabilitation programs to include disabled homemakers in the US.

More
April 2020
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Boston Feminists on Drugs, 1970-1990 21 April 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Trysh Travis, University of Florida Comment: Elizabeth Lunbeck, Harvard University With the current opioid crisis as a backdrop, this paper examines the role various groups of Boston ...

With the current opioid crisis as a backdrop, this paper examines the role various groups of Boston feminists played in the development of women’s substance abuse treatment in the 1980s and ‘90s. Organizations such as Women, Inc. (Roxbury), The Dorchester Green Lite Network, and the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Addiction Recovery had roots in and connections to well-known feminist collectives across the city. These historical connections between radical women’s organizing and the development of “behavioral health” services for women sheds light not only on the evolution of late-20th century public policy and medicine, but also of popular feminist culture.

More
More events
History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “Ladies Aid” as Labor History: Working Class Formation in the Interwar Syrian American Mahjar 15 October 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Stacy Fahrenthold, University of California, Davis Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, Northeastern University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg

Founded in 1917, the Syrian Ladies Aid Society of Boston (SLAS) provided food, shelter, education, and employment to Syrian workers. Volunteers understood the SLAS as both a women’s organization and a proletarian movement led by Syrian women. Drawing from SLAS club records, private family papers, activist correspondence, and the Syrian press, this essay calls attention to the role women played in working class formation in the Arab American diaspora, and argues for a class-centered reassessment of “ladies aid” politics.

 

This series is co-sponsored by the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society & Culture.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, Social Medicine, and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle 17 December 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sandy Placido, Queens College, CUNY Comment: Susan Reverby, Wellesley College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020//wgs_banner.jpg

Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual whose life illuminates the crucial role Puerto Ricans played in Cold War-era freedom struggles. Cordero worked as a physician, public health advocate, and radical organizer in New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Egypt, and Nicaragua for over four decades. Using a new framework of feminist social medicine, this essay examines Cordero’s contributions to the field of social medicine, particularly maternal and children’s health.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar "For I'd Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World": Mae Gadpaille's Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community Register registration required at no cost 21 January 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mary McNeil, Harvard University Comment: Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille's efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could "belong" to this community and who might be left at the margins.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar “What the Women Can Do:” Doctors’ Wives and the American Medical Association’s Crusade Against Socialized Medicine Register registration required at no cost 18 February 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kelly O’Donnell, Thomas Jefferson University Comment: Oliva Weisser, University of Massachusetts, Boston Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

In the mid-twentieth century, the American Medical Association opposed attempts to create a national health program in this country, through lobbying and public outreach about the dangers of socialized medicine. Their most powerful weapon in this fight was a less conventional medical instrument: their wives. This paper examines the mobilization of the AMA Woman’s Auxiliary as the main “public relations firm” of organized medicine during these debates and their lingering influence on American health politics.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Contesting Domesticity – a Panel Discussion Register registration required at no cost 17 March 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kwelina Thompson, Cornell University; Shoniqua Roach, Brandeis University; Laura Puaca, Christopher Newport University Comment: Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

The domestic realm has long captivated feminist scholars who have sought to understand the lives of women and the workings of gender. How have women experienced, challenged, leveraged, and shaped the domestic? This panel will consider these questions and discuss the domestic as a contested site of constraint and possibility. Shoniqua Roach theorizes the meanings of black domesticity as a deeply fraught space marked by anti-black sentiment and yet full of insurgent potential. Kwelina Thompson explores the history of the La Leche League – a Catholic mothers group that organized to support breastfeeding mothers in the mid-twentieth century. Finally, Laura Puaca tells the story of the expansion of post-WWII vocational rehabilitation programs to include disabled homemakers in the US.

close

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar Boston Feminists on Drugs, 1970-1990 Register registration required at no cost 21 April 2020.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Trysh Travis, University of Florida Comment: Elizabeth Lunbeck, Harvard University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminar_2019-2020/wgs_banner.jpg

With the current opioid crisis as a backdrop, this paper examines the role various groups of Boston feminists played in the development of women’s substance abuse treatment in the 1980s and ‘90s. Organizations such as Women, Inc. (Roxbury), The Dorchester Green Lite Network, and the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Addiction Recovery had roots in and connections to well-known feminist collectives across the city. These historical connections between radical women’s organizing and the development of “behavioral health” services for women sheds light not only on the evolution of late-20th century public policy and medicine, but also of popular feminist culture.

close