Rethinking Women’s Rights: Southern Feminists, Christian Feminists

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Women and Gender Seminar
Friday, January 24, 2014

3 pm to 5 pm

“Louisiana, the American South and the Birth of Second-Wave Feminism: Understanding Transnational Feminism in a Regional Context, 1960-1995”
Janet Allured, McNeese State University

Grassroots feminism in the United States was born in the American South, this paper argues. The feminist movement in Louisiana and in other Southern states after World War II emerged from Southern protest traditions going back to the nineteenth century. Once it moved outside the region, feminism morphed and became unrecognizable from its Southern origins. Outsiders perceived the South as uniformly conservative and anti-feminist, obscuring the Southern roots of this revolutionary social justice movement.

“Caught Between Evangelicalism and Feminism: a ‘Feminist Pro-Life’ Platform?”
Rebecca Wagner, Cambridge University

By the 1980s, many Leftist evangelicals had gradually come to articulate an anti-abortion platform as the next step in a “completely pro-life” ethos – a step that they argued was consonant with their other “pro-life” concerns, especially their commitment to the uplift of women, and their opposition to nuclear power/arms, poverty, and capital punishment. In my paper, through a case study approach, I look both at successful evangelical Leftist public articulation of a “feminist pro-life” stance, as well as the private hesitance about committing too strongly to the anti-abortion cause, in the era of the burgeoning Religious Right.

Commentator: Michelle Nickerson, Loyola University Chicago

Cost and registration information: 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.