Friday, March 1, 2013

CFP: The Equal Rights Amendment in the 21st Century

Via H-Net, we have the following Call for Papers: The ERA in the 21st Century: Where have we come from, and where will we go?The conference will be held at Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI), November 15-16, 2013.
Alice Paul (Credit: Library of Congress)
This conference will bring together scholars from areas of history, law, gender studies, literature, political science, and other disciplines that consider the cultural, political, and legal ramifications of the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment. We invite scholars to imagine what is next, as well as give scholars the opportunity to look back at the ERA’s legacy in the popular and social consciousness of the 20th and 21st Centuries.  While the ERA is a topic touched upon in college courses, it has been forgotten by generations of Americans who believe that the Fourteenth Amendment sufficiently addresses the rights of women, and that court precedent (such as Reed v Reed in 1971) and policies (such as Title VII, Title IX) protect their rights.  Critics consider the ERA a nuisance, when it should be a clarion call beckoning women to a cause that was brushed aside in the age of Reagan.

The Equal Rights Amendment, originally introduced to Congress by Alice Paul in 1923, has long served as a symbol of inequality for women in our national heritage.  The amendment is simple, and states:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
The ERA continued to be introduced to every subsequent congress after its failure in 1923, until 1972, when the amendment was passed in the House, Senate, and was signed by President Richard Nixon.  However, by 1982 the amendment was only ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states, and it fell into obscurity.  Most people in the US today don’t know the history of this amendment, nor do they know that women still have no Constitutional equality in the United States.

This conference invites proposals for conference papers that examine issues of equality in the United States of America, using the ERA as a conduit through which to open dialogues across academic, legal, and public spheres.

To submit your conference paper proposal, please e-mail a 250-500 word abstract and a CV or brief bio to
Paper proposals are due by MAY 1, 2013.

For questions about the conference, please contact