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  • Originally published 06/14/2013

    Regina Kunzel moves from Minnesota to Princeton

    Regina Kunzel, a professor at the University of Minnesota, will join the faculty at Princeton University as of July 1, 2013.She will be the Doris Stevens Professor in Women's Studies and hold joint appointments in history and gender & sexuality studies.Kunzel is the author of Criminal Intimacy: Sex in Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (2008), which won prizes from the American Historical Association, the Modern Language Association, and a Lambda Literary Award.She holds a B.A. from Stanford University in 1981 and her PhD from Yale University in 1990.

  • Originally published 06/03/2013

    Ann J. Lane, pioneer in women's history dies at 81

    Ann J. Lane, 81, of New York City, died on May 27, 2013. She was born in Brooklyn on July 27, 1931, the daughter of Harry and Betty Brown Lane. Lane completed all of her schooling in New York City. She earned a BA from Brooklyn College in English in 1952, an MA in sociology from New York University in 1958, and a PhD in history from Columbia University in 1968.Lane served as Assistant Professor of History at Douglass College of Rutgers University from 1968 to 1971, and then as Professor of History and Chair of the American Studies Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, from 1971 to 1983. She was a research fellow at The Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University from 1977-1983.Early in her career, Lane specialized in southern and African American History, the fruits of which appeared in two works published in 1971, The Brownsville Affair: National Outrage and Black Reaction, a monograph on a 1906 racial incident involving black soldiers and white citizens, and The Debate Over Slavery: Stanley Elkins and His Critics, an edited work on an important historiographical controversy for which she also wrote the introduction.

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Cross dressing spy who caused a headache for British masters

    As one of Britain’s top spies in the Second World War, being arrested in Spain dressed as a woman caused a major headache for his political masters.Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, a key figure in British intelligence in the Middle East, was detained in Madrid after being seen “in a main street dressed, down to a brassiere, as a woman”.The spy was on his way to Egypt to pass on key information and the incident sparked a mad scramble in London to ensure he was released and sent on his way as quickly as possible.Files released by the National Archives show that Lt Col Clarke – who was supposed to maintain a low profile, travelling under cover as a war correspondent for The Times – had stopped off in the Spanish capital on his way to north Africa in October 1941....

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Redressing Wikipedia's Historical Gender Gap

    Image via Shutterstock.Wikipedia has a problem with women.Statistics released by the Wikimedia Foundation point to a huge gender disparity in the ranks of contributors. Women only constitute approximately 15 percent of Wiki editors. This isn't a new problem -- a 2011 University of Minnesota study of gender ratios on Wikipedia came to the same conclusions, and noted that the Wiki gender gap hadn't changed significantly over the preceding five years.

  • Originally published 03/10/2013

    Lucy Lobdell to Lilly Ledbetter: the First Steps on the Rocky Road to Equal Pay

    Lilly Ledbetter speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Credit: Wiki Commons.One of the enduring images of last year’s election was that of Lilly Ledbetter standing before the Democrat Convention and telling about her fight against Goodyear Tire for paying her less than her male peers. She won her case on the merits, but then the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against her saying that she should have filed her suit within 180 days of the first instance of Goodyear’s shorting her, each subsequent pay theft [my word] just a continuation of the first, and thus, regrettably, beyond the province of the law.

  • Originally published 02/14/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: Whose Daughters Will Engage in Combat?

    Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of Education and History and Director of the History of Education Program, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.Now that women can assume combat roles in the military, I've got a question for you: Whose daughters will do the combatting?Not mine. And not yours, either, if they live in a leafy, upper-middle-class suburb like the one where my two girls have grown up.That's because the military draws overwhelmingly from the middle and lower-middle classes of our society. And that's what most of our news coverage has ignored, in the rush to congratulate the Pentagon for removing the ban on women in combat.Let's be clear: the Pentagon should be congratulated. Thousands of female medics, drivers, and other servicewomen have already seen battle overseas. But they have often been blocked from key promotions because they lacked official "combat" designations....

  • Originally published 02/04/2013

    Ruth Rosen: What Will It Take to End Violence Against Women?

    Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is a Professor Emeriti of History at U.C. Davis and a Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Study of Right-Wing Movements at U.C. Berkeley. Her most recent book is The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America.Her father had a dream that his daughter would be educated and, like his sons, enjoy civil rights and liberties.  He was one of those unsung fathers who have played an important role in promoting the goals of feminism, yet remain invisible among the many more fathers who cannot embrace change in their societies.   

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Being married helps historians get ahead, but only if they're male

    Alexis Coe is a writer in San Francisco and a columnist for SF Weekly.When I was a graduate student in history, I loved to read the acknowledgements sections of books. If you looked carefully, all the trade secrets kept within the small, competitive field were revealed, from who was the most helpful specialist in an archive to creative means of financing research.Inadvertently, I also learned quite a bit about historian's marriages. Consider For Cause and Comrades, in which Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson writes, "The person most instrumental in helping me produce this volume has also been the most important person in my life for the past forty years, my wife Patricia. In addition to enriching my life every day, she has been a superb research assistant, having read almost as many soldiers' letters and diaries as I have."...Despite all this, my cohorts and I believed that we were entering a radically different kind of history department, one where women could forge their own careers, rather than merely supporting their husbands'. Surely, the changing of the guard in progressive institutions had already occurred. A new study from the American Historical Association suggests, however, that many of the field's problems remain unresolved.

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    In Memoriam: Gerda Lerner

    Gerda Lerner in an 2012 interview. Credit: UW-Madison.Gerda Lerner, eminent scholar and pioneer in the field of women’s history, passed away on January 2, 2013, at age 92. There are so many ways and reasons to remember Gerda Lerner: her activism on behalf of women and women historians; her invaluable scholarship; her irascibility in the face of injustice; her demands on herself and on the profession; her inspiration and her gifts.

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Blain Roberts: The Ugly Side of the Southern Belle

    Blain Roberts, an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fresno, is the author of the forthcoming book “Pretty Women: Female Beauty in the Jim Crow and Civil Rights South.”...From 1921, when the contest began in Atlantic City, through World War II, only one woman representing a former Confederate state won the competition. Then, beginning in 1947, when a woman from Memphis earned the top honor, the fortunes of Southern contestants rose precipitously. From 1950 to 1963, seven southerners were crowned (each served the following year), including back-to-back wins by Mississippians in 1958 and 1959 — though southerners made up only one-fifth of the possible winners.These were, of course, the years when black Southerners opened a full-scale campaign against Jim Crow, prompting a bitter backlash by white Southerners. White resistance began in earnest in 1954, when the Supreme Court issued Brown v. Board of Education, its decision to desegregate public schools.

  • Originally published 01/11/2013

    Chivalry Isn't Dead

    It’s official; newspapers, TV, radio, and online news reports all announced it; male chivalry is nothing but a myth. Two Swedish economists, Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson, exposed the reality of male selfishness in their study, “Every Man for Himself, Gender, Norms, and Survival in Maritime Disasters”, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The authors claimed to have studied three centuries of shipwrecks, culling statistical data and quantitative research in the process. Their conclusions: men, utilizing their generally superior strength, selfishly disregard the plight of the women and children in order to save themselves. They point to the statistical survival rates of women and children in the shipwrecks included in their work. The results are very discouraging for women and children and completely destroy the concept of the chivalrous male. Rather than “women and children first,” the prevailing sentiment in such disasters is truly, “every man for himself,” with the emphasis on men.