Lecture Description

During the 1930s and 1940s, unprecedented numbers of women attained influential positions in the federal government. During the Red Scare that intensified after World War II, anticommunist investigators, politicians, and journalists attacked high-ranking women with a frequency and hostility that was out of proportion to their numbers and power. Some important anticommunists were motivated by their fear that communism would subvert traditional gender hierarchies. Others found that tapping into popular antifeminism was an effective way of increasing public support for their other objectives, such as rolling back liberal policies at home and abroad. It is widely understood that at various moments in U.S. history, powerful interests have played the “race card” in service of goals other than white supremacy. We need to pay more attention to the “gender card” that usually was–and still is–part of the same hand.

Themes include: civil liberties and national security; reactionary populism (with an emphasis on its gender, race, and anti-intellectual dimensions); civil rights; women in politics and government.


Cold War Gender, Masculinity, Femininity

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