Women and Gender Seminar: Jenny Barker-Devine, Illinois College and Voichita Nachescu, Grand Valley State University | Newberry

Women and Gender Seminar: Jenny Barker-Devine, Illinois College and Voichita Nachescu, Grand Valley State University

Friday, March 19, 2010

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Gender and Sexuality Seminar

New Approaches to Second-Wave Feminism, 1964-1984

“ ‘The ERA is Their Bag, Agriculture is Mine’: Midwestern Agrarian Feminists in the Second Wave, 1964-1984
Jenny Barker-Devine, Illinois College

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Midwestern farm women cultivated agrarian feminisms as a homegrown response to distinctly rural issues. By the late 1970s, inequitable inheritance policies, deteriorating economic conditions, the mechanization of agriculture, and rural depopulation threatened “family” farming operations. Women debated solutions in the farm press and formed female-led organizations that emphasized women’s roles as producers, farm laborers, and vital contributors to the wellness of farm families. In doing so, they challenged assumptions that farming was a purely male profession and demanded that male agricultural leaders utilize female voices to speak for the agricultural community as a whole.

“Race Matters? African American Women, Feminism, and Consciousness-Raising in 1970s Chicago”
Voichita Nachescu, Grand Valley State University

Consciousness-raising groups, the preferred organizing method of Second Wave feminism, have been misrepresented as including primarily white women. In my paper, I revisit this narrative. I focus on the National Alliance of Black Feminists, which was active in Chicago between 1976 and 1982 and organized consciousness-raising groups for Black women and men. I argue that consciousness-raising groups and assertiveness-training seminars played a crucial part in the life of the organization, offering African American women a way of enacting feminism in their daily lives and within their communities.

 Commentator: Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Loyola University Chicago