Centuries of Struggle: Women, the Vote, and American Citizenship

October 2017

Already a focus of popular attention, the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment provides a critical opportunity to convene an interdisciplinary group of scholars to reconsider the multiple meanings of women’s voting throughout American history. Our goal is to share ideas and approaches across disciplines, and then to use our findings to catalyze public and scholarly agendas that engage the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and voting in settings ranging from the local to the national and beyond. The seminar will create a unique interdisciplinary space where historians can talk in depth with colleagues from political science, law, literature, gender, and ethnic/racial studies. Our roster of participants features emerging scholars who are about to release groundbreaking scholarship as well as seasoned veterans who have already published field-defining books. It is only by crossing these generational and disciplinary boundaries that scholarship on women and the vote can move out of established ruts and into new pathways that reveal the past and, we hope, change the future. The seminar marks the first stage of a multi-tiered planning process to commemorate the suffrage centennial at the Radcliffe Institute. The gathering will lay the groundwork for a subsequent workshop, and finally an international conference and exhibition in 2020. We also hope this seminar will seed a trailblazing essay collection, which could be used by scholars and citizens alike to frame approaches to this historic anniversary and to point out new directions for the next century of suffrage scholarship.