Gender and the American Family Farm – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Gender and the American Family Farm

The “Sentiments & Declarations” lecture series will kick-off its spring 2015 series with a lecture by Assistant Professor of Economics Elizabeth Ramey titled, “Down on the Family Farm: Gender Inequality in an Iconic American Institution” on Thursday, Jan. 29. The spring series includes a diverse lineup that covers issues of gender inequality and feminism spanning from the early 20th century to today.

Ramey’s discussion will explore the alternative agricultural movement’s effort to reinstate the family farm model on American farms, as a way to improve their community sustenance and farmer autonomy.

Her recently published work, “Class, Gender and the American Family Farm in the 20th Century,” is part of Routledge’s “New Political Economy” series and explores the ways in which agriculture, class and the roles of women shaped the current trajectory of U.S. agricultural development.

When Ramey began her research, she intended to examine the farm crisis of the 1980s, which, growing up on a family farm in Missouri, she had experienced as a child. She also continues to study the social, economic and political effects of industrialized agriculture, examining the work of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, where researchers are developing perennial forms of cereal crops as a means to preserve biodiversity, reduce soil loss and degradation, and environmental contamination from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Ramey earned her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; her M.A. from University of Denver; and her B.A. from George Washington University. She joined the HWS faculty in 2009.

“Down on the Family Farm” is one of four lectures being offered this spring. All of the lectures will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Guntzel Theater at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. A van for attendees is scheduled to depart from Medbury Parking Lot at 4:30 p.m.

Other lectures include:

  • Thursday, Feb. 26: “Sentimental for Declarations,” a performance by Mosaic NY at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. The performance is a reflection on the original Declaration of Sentiments.
  • Thursday, March 26: “Feminism and Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1910-1920),” a lecture by May Summer Farnsworth, associate professor and chair of Spanish and Hispanic studies.
  • Thursday, April 23: “Machinic Intimacies and Mechanical Brides: Love in the Era of New Media,” a lecture by Alla Ivanchikova, assistant professor of English and comparative literature.

The series is co-sponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the offices of the President, Provost and Dean of Faculty, and Vice President of Student Affairs at HWS. The lecture series was established last year by Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Jessica Hayes-Conroy, and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Martin-Baron.

The series follows in the tradition of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s landmark treatise on Women’s civil liberties, “The Declaration of Sentiments.” Martin-Baron says last year’s event provided a “platform for engaging scholarship beyond the classroom and opened up exciting debates.”

“We’re building on the legacy of feminist debate and discussion that shifted national conversations about gender and equity back in 1848, which is both an honor and a privilege,” says Martin-Baron.

The events are free and open to the public. Students, faculty and staff in need of transportation to the events should contact Tina Smaldone before 2 p.m. on the day of the lecture.