Lectures

Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women’s History

About the Lecture

The Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women's History brings leading scholars to CMU in order to celebrate women's history month, every March. Our mission is to bring to campus cutting-edge scholars, who are at the forefront of their fields, for dialogue with faculty, graduate & undergraduate students, as well as the broader community, showcasing the work of these scholars and encouraging innovative new research. The series is named for Margaret Morrison Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie's mother and the namesake of Carnegie Tech's historic women's college.

Past Lectures

2014

Susan Stryker, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, at the University of Arizona

Christine Jorgensen: Transnational Transsexual Celebrity

This talk explores the history of Christine Jorgensen, who became the world's first truly global transsexual celebrity when news of her "sex change" surgery made headlines around the world in 1952. Why was Jorgensen's story considered so newsworthy, and how did she manage to become such a star? By paying close attention to Jorgensen's career, we can gain fresh insight into Cold War femininity, the social impact of new scientific technologies, and the unexpected implications of U.S. geopolitical dominance in the 1950s.

Monday, March 31, 2014 4:30 PM, Reception, 5:00 PM, Talk
Giant Eagle Auditorium, Baker Hall A51
2013

Linda Gordon, Department of History, New York University

Impounded Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of the Japanese Internment in World War II

Dorothea Lange, most famous for her depression-era photography, was hired by the US Army to photograph the internment of all Japanese Americans during World War II. This imprisonment of 120,000 people, 2/3 of them US citizens, without any evidence against them, was overwhelmingly supported by most white Americans, from Left to Right. Lange’s images turned out to be so unmistakably critical, however, that the Army censored them. This lecture will show some of the 800 censored images and will discuss how Lange came to be so atypical in her disapproval of the internment.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 4:30 PM, Reception, 5:00 PM, Talk
Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136-A

2012

Anna Krylova, Associate Professor of History Duke University

The Soviet Woman as Citizen Soldier: A Paradox of 20th Century Women’s History

In her lecture, Professor Krylova explores the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women’s en masse volunteering for World War II combat in 1941. She asks how a largely patriarchal society with traditional gender values such as Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s managed to merge notions of violence and womanhood into a first conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces. To answer this question, she invites us to consider the Soviet woman soldier as a critical subject of historical analysis, intricately connected not only to the peculiarities of Russian history but also to radical trends within Western feminist thought, women’s grassroots movements, and military experimentation of the mid-twentieth century.

Anna Krylova is the author of Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Her book was awarded the 2011 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association.

Monday, March 19, 2012 4:00 PM, Reception, 4:30 PM, Talk
Giant Eagle Auditorium, Baker Hall A51
2011

Nancy Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Director of the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University

Marriage on Trial: History Matters in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

What are the stakes involved in making a historical case for marriage rights for same-sex couples? The institution of marriage as regulated and practiced in the United States has been repeatedly altered and reinterpreted over the past two centuries. These changes have been brought about by courts and legislatures responding to economic and social change in family lives and work roles. Yet opponents of equal marriage rights for couples of the same sex assert that “marriage” has always meant one and the same thing. Cott will discuss this conflict between actual history and assumed tradition, as it has shaped up in state-level suits over the past decade and in the recent federal case against California’s Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Friday, March 25, 2011 4:30 PM, Reception, 5:00 PM, Talk
Steinberg Auditorium, Baker Hall A53
2010

Elsa Barkley Brown, Professor of History, University of Maryland

Clothes, Class, and Travel Rewriting the Domestic Tradition

Professor Barkley Brown holds a joint appointment with history and women’s studies and is an affiliate faculty in Afro-American Studies and American Studies. She has twice been awarded the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Publication Prize for best article in African-American Women’s History. She has also won the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize for best article in southern women’s history, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Prize for best article in African-American History, and the Anna Julia Cooper Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Black Women’s Studies.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4:30 PM, Reception, 5:00 PM, Talk
Steinberg Auditorium, Baker Hall A53
2009

Jacquelyn Hall, Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History, Director of the Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina

‘FBI Eyes’: The Challenge of Writing about Women on the Left


Professor Hall was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 for her efforts to deepen the nation’s understanding of and engagement with the humanities. Most recently, she has been awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant to expand her work on the “Long Civil Rights Movement,” a project to extend and deepen usual narratives. Past president of the Organization of American Historians, she has authored various publications including Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women’s Campaign Against Lynching, and co-authored Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 4:30 PM, Reception, 5:00 PM, Talk
Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A
2008

Nancy MacLean, Northwestern University

Ending ‘Jane Crow’: How Women’s Workplace Activism in the 1970s Changed the Country

MacLean, Professor of History at Northwestern University, is the author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan (1994) and Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Work Place (2006). Winner of numerous awards, including notable book by the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights, Freedom is Not Enough has been called “one of the most important new works in history.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 4:00 PM, Reception and Book Signing to Follow
Steinberg Auditorium, Baker Hall A53
2007

Gerda Lerner, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The First Convention for Women’s Rights, Seneca Falls, N.Y., 1848: Its Meaning Then and Now

Professor Lerner is a founder and pioneer in the field of women’s history. Fleeing Austria as a teen to escape Nazi encampment, she has dedicated herself to a life of political activism, including founding and directing the first graduate program in women’s history. Now a Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she is the recipient of eighteen honorary degrees and the author of many books, including The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina, The Majority Finds Its Past, The Creation of Patriarchy, Black Women in White America: A Documentary History, Why History Matters, and, most recently, Fireweed: A Political Autobiography.

Thursday, March 1, 7:00 PM, Reception and Book Signing to Follow
Giant Eagle Auditorium, Baker Hall A51