Washington Women Historians Meet
Debbie Ann Doyle, September 1998
In May the Washington Women Historians held their annual "Works in Progress" Conference at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
This year's conference featured presentations on a wide range of topics by women from a variety of institutional backgrounds. In a plenary session on "Race in Women's History," Eileen Boris of Howard University proposed a model for analyzing race and gender as interdependent social categories. Several graduate students, including Lynne Falwell of Pennsylvania State University, who discussed women in the Nazi party, and Laura Schiavo of the American Studies Department at George Washington University, who read a paper on sculptor Vinnie Ream Hoxie, presented portions of dissertations in progress. Professors Lin Logan of Virginia Wesleyan and Hannah Joyner of Gallaudet read portions of their current research projects. Presentations by public historians included a paper on the African American church by Cheryl Fox of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and a discussion of the early-20th-century marketing of religion by Melissa Kirkpatrick, a church educator for the Presbyterian Church of the United States. A particularly lively session on history and memory featured papers by two independent scholars, Mary-Margaret Patterson, a journalist with an interest in the history of her profession, and Harriet Dwinell, who read a portion of her memoir describing her experiences in a British boarding school in the 1950s.
The Washington Women Historians evolved out of groups founded in the early 1970s to offset male-dominated historical organizations, but which had later disbanded as women became established in the profession. In addition to the annual conference, the group meets bimonthly during the academic year to share information about job openings and upcoming events as well as listen to a featured speaker.