Friday, May 19, 2017

UIS professor to study a historic women’s conference during a summer seminar in Texas

Hinda Seif, University of Illinois Springfield associate professor and chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies, was recently selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar at the University of Houston.

Seif is one of two dozen NEH summer scholars from around the country who will spend a week exploring 20th century U.S. history through the lens of the National Women’s Conference, which was held in Houston in 1977.

The 1977 National Women’s Conference was the only federally funded conference of its kind in U.S. history. Approximately 130,000 elected delegates participated in the lead-up state conventions. The main conference in Houston created a National Plan of Action to present to then President Jimmy Carter.

The NEH Summer Seminar will explore overarching themes in the conference including political/party realignment, states’ rights, the Vietnam War and many other subjects.

At the 1977 Conference, participants debated key issues that faced over 50 percent of U.S. population, such as women’s role in the military, equal rights, child care and the family, reproductive rights and sexual orientation. Women who attended included Rosalyn Carter, Betty Ford and Coretta Scott King.

“In 2017, these issues are as important as ever,” said Seif. “Participating in this NEH seminar will energize my women’s studies courses. It’s a great opportunity for me to work with faculty from across the country.”

The conference will address issues that Seif is writing about from her recent sabbatical research on Diana Solís, a Chicana Mexicana artist and activist from Chicago who participated in and photographed women and their organizing efforts in her Pilsen neighborhood during the 1970s and 1980s.

The NEH Summer Seminar runs from June 12-18 at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.

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