Gender Studies

Beyond Binaries: Justice for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People

Gender in American political institutions is simultaneously under-defined and over-determined. This talk will describe government efforts to reveal authentic gender identity and to control individuals’ gender presentation. Transgender and gender non-conforming people are subject to two sorts of impulses to fix gender – first, to pin it down, and then, to “correct” it. Using examples ranging from incarceration to healthcare to education to marriage and child custody disputes, we will explore the consequences of official identity declaration and will discuss the complexities of binary gender categories. We will talk together about how gender categories are defined and enforced.

Kiki Jamieson
President, The Fund for New Jersey

Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: Are Women Human?

This talk explores the question of whether women’s rights are human rights. Using examples from history, literature, and contemporary politics, we will discuss gender differences, gender disparities, and the consequences of policies built on those understandings.

Kiki Jamieson
President, The Fund for New Jersey

Madame CJ Walker: “Self Made Woman”

Walker was a 19th Century entrepreneur, and an early civil rights advocate. She revolutionized the hair care and cosmetics industry, becoming America’s first, female, self-made millionaire. As a member of the NAACP, she was instrumental in their efforts to make lynching a federal crime. Walker was recognized by the National Association of Colored Women for her contributions to save the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She donated regularly to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, and retirement homes.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Program only available in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean Counties, and Salem counties.

Annie Oakley: “Aim for a High Mark”

With professional partner Buffalo Bill Cody, Oakley, a diminutive sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, competed in a sport and in a world dominated by men. She learned to shoot from practical necessity: hunting to feed her parents and siblings. Oakley grew up poor, overcoming a difficult and abusive childhood. She felt strongly that women were just as capable as men and insisted that they should strive to achieve any goal or occupation that interested them. Her motto was to “Aim for a high mark…for practice will make you perfect.” and her hope was that all women would reach the “Bulls-eye of Success.”

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Pope Joan: The History of a Myth

Was there really a pope named Joan? The historical evidence says no—that the story is just a myth. But every myth has a history and the history of this particular myth can teach us a great deal about religion, gender relations, and depictions of women in faith and culture from the early Middle Ages to today.

Christopher M. Bellitto, Ph.D.
Professor of History, Kean University

Maizie Brews a Business

This first-person presentation examines how women’s roles at the turn of the 20th century were changing from housewives to entrepreneurs with a dramatic monologue by a 1925 matron who is planning to start her own business operating a Tea Room. Maizie Stanton, in a fashionable tea frock of the era, speaks in her own candid voice about her plans and the challenges she faces as she joins the Tea Room Craze and ventures outside her traditional role.

Maureen O’Connor Leach
Historic Interpreter

Program available in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties.

“Soldiers Without Guns:” Women Defense Workers in WWII

The setting: It is 1943 and your organization is hosting a meeting to promote “war work” for women. Hear a testimonial from Rosie Niemiec (historical interpreter Stacy Flora Roth), a housewife who decided to do her bit for the war effort (and surprise her husband) by taking a job as a welder in a shipyard. This unique presentation features a character monologue, a display of period artifacts and ephemera, a discussion of women’s participation on the Homefront, and an invitation to the audience to share memories, memorabilia, and personal and family stories of the Second World War.

Stacy Roth / History on the Hoof
An educational performance troupe that employs storytelling, roleplay, displays, and music to illustrate historical topics.

Over Here, Molly Pitcher

A dramatic presentation highlighting the lives of women who “belonged to the army” during the American Revolution. “Molly” reminisces about the days when she accompanied her husband through summer battles and winter encampments from Valley Forge to Monmouth to Morristown. Relating her tales of firing a cannon in the heat of battle to trudging “behind the baggage,” she provides a glimpse into what it was like to be a “camp follower” in the days when American independence was a dream rather a certainty.

Stacy Roth / History on the Hoof
An educational performance troupe that employs storytelling, roleplay, displays, and music to illustrate historical topics.

Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire

For decades, countless American women fought for the right to vote. But many others—like the fictional Anti-Suffragist portrayed in this program—fought against it. Our Guest Speaker enthusiastically promotes a multitude of arguments against the franchise, helpfully pairing contradictory proofs, “So, if you don’t like one, you can take other.” This witty, insightful satire was written in 1912, by pro-Suffragist Marie Jenney Howe, for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, a precursor of the League of Women Voters.

The presenter’s performance, in period costume, precedes a wide-ranging lecture that puts the Antis’ apparently absurd and unfounded arguments in sociological, historical, and political context. (What makes a woman “truly womanly”? Why daren’t she go to the polls? If given the ballot, would she destroy civilization by voting with—or by voting against !—her own husband ?)

Michèle LaRue, Actress-Manager, Tales Well Told

The Changing Role of Women in Suburban Motion Pictures

This presentation closely examines how women’s roles have changed in movies set in suburbia. Issues discussed include the changing role of women from housewives to breadwinners to protectors of husbands and families. In addition, participants will focus on women and their ability to adapt to an environment which seems to value privacy above community.

Philip C. Dolce, Ph.D.
Chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Professor of History at Bergen Community College

Program available in Bergen county. This program requires a computer projector.

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