Texas Tech University

Women's Studies Symposium 2012

"When I started working on women's history about thirty years ago, the field did not exist. People didn't think that women had a history worth knowing. - Gerda Lerner, Women and History (1986:1993)

Return to Women's History Month | Return to Women's History Month Events 2012

Binding Equality: A Women's Studies Symposium

Friday, March 23
Museum of Texas Tech University | 3301 4th Street (SE corner of 4th St. & Indiana Avenue) | Sculpture Court & Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium

Funding provided by the Education Division at the Museum of Texas Tech University

  • 8:30 am - Morning Refreshments (Check In)
  • 8:45 am - Welcome Address by Ann Hawkins
  • 9:00 am - 10:00 am - Session I featuring Stephanie Eckroth & Maura Ives
  • 10:00 am - 10:15 am - Break
  • 10:15 am - 11:15 am - Session II featuring Jodi Thomas
  • 11:30 am - 12:00 pm - Guided Gallery Talk & Tour (Luke Iantorno, Department of English, Texas Tech University)

Guest Speakers

  • Stephanie Eckroth, PhD, Lecturer, Baylor University - What's in a Name?: Women Writers in the Nineteenth-Century Book Market
  • Maura Ives, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of English, Texas A&M University - Books as Women, Women as Books: Gender and Book Design in the 19th Century
  • Jodi Thomas, MS, Writer in Residence, West Texas A&M University


The Women's Studies Program is proud to announce "Binding Equality: A Women's Studies Symposium" in collaboration with the Museum of Texas Tech University during the month of March (Women's History Month).

The symposium will coincide with the exhibition “Speaking Volumes: Books and Ideas from 1250-1862”. This exhibition will showcase ancient and rare books, documents, and manuscripts from the Remnant Trust.remnant trust
Note: The exhibition is on view January 28 – April 29, 2012 at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

To preview the exhibition you may visit the Special Exhibitions Gallery 7 at the Museum. Museum Public Hours --- Tue-Sat 10am-5pm --- Sun 1-5pm --- Mon Closed. Museum Admission & Parking are FREE!

Symposium Committee

  • Melissa Benner, Research Assistant, MA Candidate in Heritage Management, Museum of Texas Tech University
  • Leigh Bonds, Doctoral Candidate, English, Texas Tech University
  • Tricia Earl, MFA, Coordinator, Women's & Gender Studies, Texas Tech University
  • Robin Dru Germany, MFA, Associate Professor, School of Art, Texas Tech University

Special Acknowledgement

The committee would like to send out a special thank you to Ann Hawkins, PhD, Professor, English, Texas Tech University for coordinating and curating the exhibition as well as her support in forming this Symposium.

The Exhibit

The exhibition includes: The United States' Declaration of Independence; Homer's The Iliad; Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation; Confucius' The Morals of Confucius; Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Julius Caesar's Invictissimi Imperatoris Commentaria; Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Euclid's The First Six Elements of Geometry; England's Magna Carta; Marco Polo's The Travels of Marco Polo; Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations; and Cicero's De Officiis.

In honor of Women's History Month we are focusing on the section of the exhibition, Translating Cultures (1776-1820; 1846-1862), to trace the contributions made by women writers.

Translating Cultures: 1776-1820; 1846-1862

Throughout this period of political and industrial revolutions, the desire to translate the literature of world cultures for a new reading public increased. Not only were these literal translations of classical and religious texts, they were also translations of personal, social, and political ideas.

In England and post-Revolutionary America, proto-Feminist ideology promoted equality in education and the public sphere throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In literature, British and American authors often internalized the various political and religious influences that comprised the societies in which they lived and is mirrored in their fiction.

This period also saw an increase in the translation of religious texts that led to a wider understanding of world cultures and personal ideologies. These translations of religious culture gave rise to a broader communication of theological concepts in Britain and America. Political and economic theory, similarly, were expressed in new ways that looked backward on old systems and established new ones that influenced American and British political and industrial arenas throughout the nineteenth century.

  • Judith Sargent Murray (1751–1820) “On the Equality of the Sexes” (Part One) (1790)

    Originally published in the Massachusetts Magazine, Murray's essay (written under the pseudonym “Constantia”) is a touchstone of early feminist rhetoric that recognized inequality between the sexes in America. Murray openly refers to American women in the late eighteenth century as possessing “a mortifying consciousness of inferiority” derived from the unbalanced state of American education in which men were “taught to aspire” and women were “confined and limited.”
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

    In response to the belief that women should receive education only in domestic matters, Wollstonecraft proposed that all women deserve the same fair and equal rights enjoyed by men. Wollstonecraft also contended that all women should be active contributors to society as well as learned educators to their children. Much of Vindication challenges predominantly male attitudes that women have no place in public education, and should only be trained to care for their husbands and households.
  • Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) The Female Review (1797)

    In 1778, Deborah Sampson tried to enlist in America's Continental Army to fight during the War of Independence. After being rejected on the grounds of her sex, Sampson assumed a male identity and successfully enlisted under the name “Robert Shurtleff” in 1782. She fought with the 4th Massachusetts Regiment and maintained her identify for seventeen months, despite receiving sword and musket injuries in battle. Sampson received an honorable discharge from the Army at West Point in 1783. The Female Review is a published account of her life as a soldier during wartime.
  • Shan Coolen Letters, “Attack on Mary Wollstonecraft” (1802)

    A collection of essays and dialogues in which the author attacks Wollstonecraft's personal life and “regard for chastity,” and complains that her previous indiscretions invalidate her political views and “attainments of reason.”
  • Mercy Warren (1728-1814) History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution (1802)

    Published in three volumes, Warren's History provides insight into the American Revolution from the protestation of the Stamp Act in 1765 to the ratification of the United States Constitution, and finally to the Revolution's conclusion. Thomas Jefferson was so impressed with Warren's account of America's revolutionary history that he proclaimed: “her truthful and insightful account of the last thirty years will furnish a more instructive lesson to mankind than any equal period known in history.”
  • Mary Shelley (1797–1851) Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818, 1832)

    This 1845 American edition of Mary Shelley's gothic novel about man's curiosity to create human life could be interpreted as a cautionary tale about the misuse of science, or as a social critique as an unnamed and uneducated creation is rejected by its creator. Percy Shelley heavily edited the 1818 edition, while Mary Shelley herself revised the 1832 edition, which also contains a new preface.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) Address to the Legislature of New York (1854)

    This second edition of Stanton's Address was presented to the New York legislature on February 20, 1854. Stanton first presented her Address during the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. An abolitionist and member of the suffrage movement, Stanton was a staunch advocate for women to challenge any political or religious institution that disempowered them. At the Seneca Falls convention, Stanton discussed women's “legal disabilities” and called for the state legislature to reassess current property laws that limited the legal rights of married women.

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