By the early 1980s, a new political landscape was taking shape that would fundamentally influence American society and politics in the decades to come. That year, the long-standing effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment—championed by the suffragist Alice Paul and introduced to Congress in 1923—ran aground, owing in significant measure to the activism of women who pioneered a new brand of conservatism. The power and organizational energies of conservative women provided one more proof that the suffragists' notion of a universal women's voting "bloc" was an illusion. But in the Reagan era, other organized political constituencies rose and matured, exerting significant pressure on elections.
This panel draws together strands and stories that are often kept separate: the ideas and growing influence of conservative women, the political activism of gay communities, and the mobilization of Latinx constituencies in the ongoing struggle over who gets to vote, who draws the map, and whose vote counts.
Jane Kamensky, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Moon Duchin (5:31), associate professor of mathematics and senior fellow in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
Timothy Stewart-Winter (13:03), associate professor of history, American studies, and women's and gender studies, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Geraldo L. Cadava (20:13), associate professor of history, Northwestern University
Olivia Perez-Cubas (29:59), communications director, Winning for Women, and vice president, Bullpen Strategy Group
Michelle Nickerson (36:41), associate professor of history, Loyola University Chicago
Moderated by Lisa McGirr, professor of history, Harvard University