History department plans Women’s History lectures

The History Department at Washington State University is planning three lectures during the month of March in recognition of Women’s History Month. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Graduate student Amy Canfield will lecture on “A New Look at Horror: Domestic Violence and Stephen King During the Feminist Backlash,”  from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 9, in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, room 518.

“Without an understanding of the pervasiveness of domestic violence and how it impacted women’s daily lives, students cannot understand the social trends of the time, especially as they impacted women. Popular culture, in many ways, reflects larger themes in society, and Stephen King’s novels demonstrate the growing public awareness of domestic violence as well as the fact that the feminist backlash of the late 1980s did not completely overwhelm the feminist movement,” Canfield said.

Laurie Carlson (Ph.D. ’04, history), a 2003 winner of WSU’s “Woman of Distinction” award, will lecture March 22. Carlson’s talk, “Sunlight & Women’s Bodies: The Social History of Health” can be heard in CUE 518 at 7 p.m.

“I want people to see how taking a historical perspective on sunlight and women’s bodies can improve their own health today,” said Carlson. “Women should come away from the talk with strategies for getting more sunlight, effectively making their own bodies healthier and stronger.”

Brigit Farley, associate professor of history at WSU Tri-Cities, will lecture at 12:10 p.m. on March 29 in CUE 518. Her talk is titled “Bernadette Devlin McAlliskey and the Women of the Northern Irish Troubles, 1969-Present.”

“I hope audiences will come away with a basic understanding of the causes of the Catholic-Protestant ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, 1968 to present,” said Farley. “Bernadette Devlin McAliskey’s life and work on the Catholic side illustrates perfectly how a peaceful campaign for civil rights, not unlike that of African Americans here, morphed into a murderous sectarian war that took the lives of over 3,000 people. Beyond that, I would like people to think about the ethics of using violent means to advance political ends, and the lengths to which they would go to rid their country of an occupation.”

On the importance of Women’s History Month, Canfield said “It garners attention for the important roles women have played throughout history, in both the public and private spheres. It makes people reevaluate interpretations of history, reconsider the impact women have had on larger historical trends and rethink how women’s lives both shaped history and were shaped by current events.”

“Military and political history dominate today’s consciousness, but Women’s History Month allows us to focus on social history, which actually affects our lives much more,” Carlson said.

“I invariably find that women’s experience yields an unusual angle from which to view a given event or period,” Farley said. “I don’t need convincing that women’s history is a great thing. I think that recent elections in South America and Africa demonstrate that women are more and more prominent in the world.”

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