Activism and Scholarship: A Conference Honoring Amy Swerdlow

Are you interested in global LGBT rights? What about women and racial justice? How about Occupy Wall Street? Do you like to discuss these issues? Maybe even write, dance, or perform them? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this call for proposals may just be the answer to your dreams. On March first and second the Fifteenth Annual Women’s History Conference will be held at Sarah Lawrence. Officially it’s being called “ Activism and Scholarship: A Conference Honoring Amy Swerdlow”. Who is Amy Swerdlow you may ask? She was a graduate student from the women’s history graduate program at SLC, and she eventually went on to run the program. She led a full and committed life as an activist, teacher, student, mother, and much more. As a founding member of the Women Strike for Peace, she has had a significant impact on our history of nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. She strived for peace and justice and carried that theme throughout her life and work as an activist. This year’s conference aims to celebrate and honor her life and hard work.

The keynote address will be given by Alice Kessler Harris. Harris is a women’s historian and author of Difficult Women: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman. As if that wasn’t enough, she also teaches at Columbia University. Another notable woman attending the conference will be Blanche Weisen Cook who will be leading a round table discussion about Amy Swerdlow’s life and work. The conference is aiming to look at the issues we still face now through an interdisciplinary approach. While Swerdlow made strides in overcoming issues like economic injustice, unending war, hunger, etc., the work isn’t done. By looking at the work of past activists, we need to explore ways in which we can move forward.

Now back to the call for proposals part of this. If you’re really interested in these ideas, or you have a piece of work you know would be perfect for one of these issues, then submit them to the conference! You could submit anything from a paper to a performance piece. While not limited to these, here are some of the topics the conference is aiming to explore: Women Strike For Peace,Women’s Peace Movements (Globally and Historically), Global LGBT Rights Movements, Occupy Wall Street, Labor Movements, Immigration Rights, Activism Among the Religious Left, Women and racial justice. The proposals should be no longer than two pages maximum. A short description is required for the presentation and a one-page c.v. for each presenter. Proposals are due no later than December 3rd, 2012. Email you submissions to the Associate Directer of the Graduate Program in Women’s Studies, Tara James, at All submissions welcome!

Emelyn Hicks, a sophomore at SLC, is a California, Bay Area native who enjoys baking, laughing, sarcasm, and ballet. Emelyn is an animal rights activist, and misses her three dogs and two cats back at home. Currently she is studying Anthropology, Literature, Theatre, and Dance. If you are a fellow hashtag enthusiast feel free to follow Emelyn on Twitter @emelynhicks.

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