2017 NEH Summer Seminar: Gender, The State, and the 1977 International Women's Year Conference

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A NEH Summer Seminar hosted by Drs. Nancy Beck Young and Leandra Zarnow


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.


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



To provide educators with pedagogical methods for teaching this subject

through foundational texts, digital history tools, and oral histories.


For more about our NEH Summer Seminar and to apply please visit our

website: http://classweb.uh.edu/nehnatlwomensconf/


The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017. Notification letters for all

applicants will be sent via email by March 31, 2017.