Spruill to Present 'Women's Rights, Family Values and the Polarization of American Politics' Sept. 12

Marjorie J. Spruill, professor emerita at the University of South Carolina, will present "Women's Rights, Family Values and the Polarization of American Politics" at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Giffel's Auditorium.

Her talk is free and open to the public and is a part of the University of Arkansas Hartman Hotz Lectures in Law and Liberal Arts. 

Spruill's talk will be based on her latest book, Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values that Polarized American Politics, published in 2017.

Her book is about the transformation of American political culture and the origins of the highly partisan, deeply polarized politics of today. In it, Spruill focuses on the 1970s, particularly the federally-sponsored International Women's Year conferences of 1977 when feminists drafted a National Plan of Action and conservative women, organizing in opposition, created a "Pro-Family Movement" to counter feminist influence in politics.

An epilogue continues the story from 1980 through the 2016 presidential election. Spruill argues that the great debates of the 1970s over women's rights and social roles were transformative. While in the early 1970s both major political parties supported the goals of the women's rights movement, after 1980 — when the GOP chose to cast itself as the defender of family values — American politics would never be the same.

Spruill argues that the issues that divided American women into warring camps in the 1970s and divided the major parties have continued to shape the political discourse that dominates national politics, devaluing moderation and compromise and producing political gridlock.

About the Hartman Hotz Lectures in Law and Liberal Arts: All lectures in the series are sponsored by the University of Arkansas School of LawJ. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Hartman Hotz Trust Committee. Dr. and Mrs. Palmer Hotz of Foster City, California, established the University of Arkansas Hartman Hotz Lectures in Law and the Liberal Arts to honor the memory of his brother, Hartman Hotz. Hartman Hotz was a graduate from the Department of History at Fulbright College. After graduating from Yale University Law School, he joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he made significant contributions to the study of law.

About University of Arkansas School of Law: The University of Arkansas School of Law prepares students for success through a challenging curriculum taught by nationally recognized faculty, unique service opportunities and a close-knit community that puts students first. With alumni in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two territories and more than 20 countries, it has been ranked among the top 10 "Best Values in Legal Education" by the National Jurist magazine for five consecutive years and is among the top 48 public law schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.



Daniel Sutherland, Distinguished Professor
Department of History
479-575-5881, dsutherl@uark.edu


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