In November 1977, 2000 elected delegates and 20,000 observers descended upon Houston, Texas to participate in the first and only federally funded National Women's Conference to be held in U.S. history. Hosted in a Sunbelt city on the rise, this conference was the domestic answer to the United Nations' International Women's Year conference and tribune held in Mexico City in 1975. The Houston Conference reflected the tensions of a nation at a crossroads with some seeing it as a promising expression of a more representative, rights-centered democracy and others viewing it as a liberal cooptation of taxpayers' dollars and a threat to the American family. It is fitting at this conference's 40th Anniversary to take stock of its significance in a one-week National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar.
We now invite applications from all college and university educators to "Gender, The State, and the 1977 International Women's Year Conference," to be held on the University of Houston-main campus June 12-18, 2017. A stipend (taxable) will be provided to each selected Summer Scholar.
This NEH Summer Seminar is designed to engage and equip educators with fresh scholarship, classroom resources, and pedagogy addressing U.S. politics, economics, and culture from the 1970s to the late twentieth century. The National Women's Conference will be our entry point into broader thematic discussions addressing topics including the changing workplace and family, political realignment, identity politics, religious revival, Cold War tensions, social movement organizing, deindustrialization, and globalization. In this fast-paced week, we will join in participant driven discussions, visit local archives and historic sites, and develop curriculum for a variety of classroom settings. While the history of this period will be featured and debated, we welcome participants from a variety of disciplines and teaching backgrounds.
The objectives of this one-week seminar include:
To rediscover the importance of the 1977 IWY National Women's Conference as a bellwether of shifting gender, sex, race, and class terrain during a pivotal Decade of Women.For more about our NEH Summer Seminar and to apply please visit our website.
To achieve an understanding of the 1970s as a "bridge" between midcentury liberalism and modern conservatism.
To juxtapose the mass feminist movement of the 1970s and its influence in party politics with the coinciding coalescence of grassroots conservatism and politicization of the imagined American family.
To consider the local, federal, and global implications of the National Women's Conference, thinking about its setting in a particular time and place.
To provide educators with pedagogical methods for teaching this subject through foundational texts, digital history tools, and oral histories.
The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017. Notification letters for all applicants will be sent via email by March 31, 2017.
Drs. Nancy Beck Young & Leandra Zarnow, Seminar Co-Directors
The University of Houston, Houston, Texas
Department of History
Center for Public History
Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection