This year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., are cosponsoring a lecture series, “Sentiments & Declarations,” which will explore everything from suffrage to nuclear disaster.
HWS Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer, who helped establish the series, says that “Sentiments and Declarations” follows in the tradition of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s landmark treatise on women’s civil liberties, The Declaration of Sentiments.
“The Declaration of Sentiments was about education, marriage, divorce, religion, government, law, property-all social institutions were addressed,” Bayer says. “Our idea is to bring the wider spectrum of topics in the women’s movement back to a location where they were discussed and debated.”
The Women’s Rights National Historical Park was established on the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in July 1848.
David Malone, acting chief of interpretation and education at the national park, says that the Park “is ever looking for connections to new audiences, and connecting the issue of women’s rights to the larger issue of human rights.” He is promoting the event nationally through the National Park Service website.
“Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s life from age 32 — or younger, if you read into her autobiography — surrounded the issue of women’s rights,” Malone says. “Not just suffrage, but every aspect of the issue. With the lecture series, we hope to enlighten the public on how that mission of Elizabeth’s continues on into the present day, both nationally and internationally.”
When Bayer and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Jessica Hayes-Conroy and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron put out the call to other HWS faculty, there was a significant response.
“Part of the goal of the lecture series is getting ideas and scholarship from HWS to a public audience,” says Martin-Baron. “We’re thinking of this event as a way to reach out to communities that the campus itself doesn’t necessarily reach, furthering the dialogue between Geneva and Seneca Falls. These talks take us around the world, throughout history.”
Bayer says that she hopes to “expand the series, through partnerships with other institutions and activists,” but above all extend an “invitation for others to get involved, to keep discussion going.”
The lectures, which are open to the public, will be held Thursday evenings, once a month, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Guntzel Theatre at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.
The schedule for the fall and spring lectures follows:
Thursday, Sept. 26: “The Crooning Crusader: Actress Kitty Marion in the British and American Suffrage Campaigns” by Assistant Professor of Theatre Christine Woodworth.
Thursday, Oct. 24: “Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Racist?” by Associate Professor of History and Chair of Women’s Studies Laura Free.
Thursday, Nov. 21: “Coping with Contamination: A Feminist Look at Post-Disaster Fukushima” by Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Jessica Hayes-Conroy.
Spring 2014 Dates
Thursday, Feb. 20: “Meet N’Zingha, queen of Angola (1583-1663): ruler, soldier, cannibal, legend,” Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet.
Thursday, March 27: “Eternal Novices? Professionalism and American Women Monastic Composers” by Assistant Professor of Music Charity Lofthouse.
Thursday, April 24: “Why feminists care about funerals: the politics of public mourning,” by Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron.
Events are co-sponsored by the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the Women’s Studies, Office of the President, and the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. With the support of HWS Student Affairs, buses will provide transportation from campus to the “Sentiments & Declarations” lectures. Those who would like a ride should contact Tina Smaldone (firstname.lastname@example.org).