Blair Legacy Series Highlights Second-Wave Feminism

Publicity shot from the documentary Makers: Women Who Make America.
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Publicity shot from the documentary Makers: Women Who Make America.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will co-host the fifth symposium in the Blair Legacy Series.

“18 million cracks”: The Legacy of 2nd Wave Feminism in American Politics will be held Nov. 13-15 in Fayetteville and will examine the role and impact of female leaders in the era beginning in the 1960s.

“Second-wave feminists used their voices to spark a national dialogue regarding gender inequities,” said Angie Maxwell, assistant professor of political science and Diane D. Blair professor in Southern Studies. “This symposium recognizes the work and diligence of women, like Diane Blair, who fought for the passage of the ERA, pay equity and women’s reproductive rights. Their efforts several decades ago continue to impact the roles of women in today’s society.”

As part of the symposium, the public is invited to a free screening of the PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Arkansas Union Theatre. Sara Evans, one of the film’s advisers, will lead a discussion following the viewing, and a reception will follow the program.

The two-day symposium will include respected scholars from around the country. The invited participants will work in small groups throughout the conference to produce a manuscript examining second-wave feminism and its ongoing influence on contemporary politics in the United States.

“Top women scholars from across the U.S. will come together to provide a critical examination of the legacy of second-wave feminism,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School. “These discussions during the symposium and the resulting publication reflect the value and commitment the University of Arkansas System makes to produce relevant research.”

National participants in the 2013 Diane Blair Legacy Series include Christina Bejarano, associate professor of political science, University of Kansas; Susan Carroll, professor of political science and gender studies, Rutgers University; Cecelia Conrad, director, MacArthur Fellows Program; Sara Evans, McKnight Distinguished University Professor of History, University of Minnesota; Stephanie Gilmore, activist, educator and writer, Philadelphia, Penn.; Valerie Martinez-Ebers, professor of political science, University of North Texas; Catherine Rymph, associate professor of history, University of Missouri; Wendy Smooth, associate professor of women’s studies and political science, Ohio State University; and Marjorie Spruill, professor of history, University of South Carolina.

The Blair Legacy Series invites senior scholars to assess the regional, national and international impact of politicians, intellectuals and social leaders though collaborative investigation. The previous four symposia have each resulted in a published book:

  • The Clinton Riddle: Perspectives on the Forty-Second President (University of Arkansas Press, 2010), edited by Todd G. Shields, Jeannie M. Whayne and Donald Kelly
  • Unlocking V.O. Key: Southern Politics for the Twenty-First Century (University of Arkansas Press, 2011), edited by Angie Maxwell and Todd G. Shields
  • The Ongoing Burden of Southern History: Politics and Identity in the Twenty-First-Century South (Louisiana State University Press, 2012), edited by Angie Maxwell, Todd G. Shields and Jeannie Whayne
  • Taking the Measure: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Texas A&M University Press, 2013), edited by Donald R. Kelley and Todd G. Shields.

For more information about the Blair Legacy Series or the film screening, please see the Blair Center website.

About the Participants:

Christina Bejarano is associate professor of political science at the University of Kansas and the current chair of the Committee on the Status of Latinos with the Western Political Science Association. Her research examines the intersectionality of race/ethnicity and gender. In addition to contributing book chapters, Bejarano has authored the forthcoming book, The Latina Advantage: Gender, Race, and Political Success (University of Texas Press) and refereed articles with colleagues including, “Tracking the Latino Gender Gap: Gender Attitudes Across Sex, Borders and Generations” (Politics & Gender, 2011) and “What Goes Around, Comes Around: Race, Blowback, and the Louisiana Elections of 2002 and 2003” (Political Research Quarterly, 2007).

Susan Carroll is professor of political science and women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University. She also holds the position of Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Carroll is a founder and former president of the Organized Section for Women and Politics Research of the American Political Science Association, and she currently co-edits the CAWP Series in Gender and American Politics, a book series published by the University of Michigan Press. She is the author of Women as Candidates in American Politics (Indiana University Press, Second Edition, 1994). She is the editor of The Impact of Women in Public Office (Indiana University Press, 2001), Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions (Oxford University Press, 2003) and co-editor of Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Cecelia Conrad is vice president of MacArthur Fellows Program. Conrad currently chairs the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Sciences and Engineering, an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation. She is a board member of the Western Economic Association International and of the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession. Conrad’s research focusing on the effects of race and gender on economic status has been published in both academic journals and nonacademic publications including The American Prospect and Black Enterprise.

Sara Evans is the McKnight Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is the editor of Feminist Studies and a consulting editor for the Journal of American History. Evans’ research specializes in gender analysis, American women’s history and social movements. She is the author of Journeys That Opened Up the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955-1975 (Rutgers University Press, 2003), Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century's End (The Free Press, 2003), Free Spaces: Sources of Democratic Change in America, 2nd edition (University of Chicago Press 1992), Born for Liberty: A History of American Women (Free Press, 1989), Wage Justice: Comparable Worth and the Paradox of Technocratic Reform (University of Chicago Press, 1989) and Personal Politics: The Roots of Women's Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (Vintage Paperback, 1979, 1980).

Stephanie Gilmore is an LGBT and feminist activist, educator and writer. She collaborates with an editorial collective for Feminist Studies. Gilmore is a board member and newsletter editor for the Committee of LGBT Historians. She speaks frequently on college campuses about sexual violence, college campus culture and historical and contemporary activism. Gilmore has published numerous articles and book chapters on activism, feminist sex and sexuality and sexual labors. She is the editor of Feminist Coalitions: Historical Perspectives on Second-Wave Feminism in the United States (University of Illinois Press, 2008) and author of Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America (Routledge, 2013).

Valerie Martinez-Ebers is professor of political science at the University of North Texas. She is also co-editor of American Political Science Review published by the American Political Science Association. Her area of research focuses on race, ethnicity and politics, especially Latino politics. Martinez-Ebers has collaborated on several books, including Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Latino Lives in America: Making It Home (Temple University Press, 2010), Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity and Religion: Identity Politics in America (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Politicas: Latina Trailblazers in the Texas Political Arena (University of Texas Press, 2008).

Catherine Rymph is associate professor of history at the University of Missouri. She specializes in recent United States history, with a focus on women’s political history. She is currently researching the history of the United States foster care system. Rymph is author of Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage to the Rise of the New Right (UNC Press, 2006).

Wendy Smooth is associate professor of women's studies and political science at Ohio State University. She also serves as a faculty affiliate with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity where she focuses on public policies impacting women and communities of color. Smooth is currently working on a book titled, Perceptions of Power and Influence: The Impact of Race and Gender in American State Legislatures, which examines the impact of race and gender on the distribution of power and influence in state legislatures.

Marjorie Spruill is professor of history at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States (Oxford University Press, 1993). Spruill is the editor of One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement (NewSage Press, 1995) and Votes for Women! The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South, and the Nation (University of Tennessee Press, 1995). She is co-editor of The South in the History of the Nation: A Reader (Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999), the three-volume anthology South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times (University of Georgia Press, 2009, 2010, 2011) and a two-volume Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (University of Georgia Press, 2003, 2010).

About the Partners:

The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society was established in 2001 by an act of U.S. Congress. This research center was named in honor of Diane Divers Blair who taught in the political science department of the University of Arkansas for 30 years. The Blair Center reflects her academic model and strives to approach the study of the American South from a variety of angles, attempting to reveal the undercurrents of politics, history and culture that have shaped the region.

The nation’s seventh presidential school, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is the first school in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (M.P.S.) degree, giving students the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer or private sector service. Additionally, the mission of the Clinton School’s Center on Community Philanthropy, directed by Charlotte Williams, is to promote issues and research into community-based philanthropy and its role in generating social, economic and political change.

Previous Blair Legacy Series contributing scholars have included Josephine A.V. Allen, Ken Bode, David Brady, Elsa Barkley Brown, Charles S. Bullock, Dan Carter, James C. Cobb, Jane Dailey, June Teufel Dreyer, Leigh Anne Duck, Pearl K. Ford, Kari Frederickson, Keith Gaddie, Betty Glad, Barry Hannah, D. Sunshine Hillygus, Darlene Clark Hine, Robert Levgold, Susan MacManus, Dorothy McBride Stetson, Robert C. McMath, Wayne Parent, U.S. Sen. David Pryor, Sherman C. Puckett, Margaret Reid, Randy Roberts, Byron E. Shafer, Harold Stanley, Hanes Walton, Jr., Patrick Williams, Charles Reagan Wilson and Randall B. Woods.


Angie Maxwell, Diane D. Blair professor in Southern Studies
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Todd Shields, director, Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politi
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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