Joanne Meyerowitz is the Arthur Unobskey Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. A past president of the OAH and a former editor of the Journal of American History, she is the author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality (2002) and the editor of Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945–1960 (2004) and History and September 11th (2003). Her most recent book, A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit (2021), that examines U.S. involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. It begins with the decline of modernization programs and ends with the rise of microcredit, and it shows how and why anti-poverty efforts increasingly focused on women.
This lecture recounts the checkered history of U.S. involvement in the campaigns against global poverty of the 1970s and 1980s. It focuses especially on the 1970s’ attempts to place anti-poverty efforts at the center of international development and on the reformulation of those efforts in the more conservative 1980s.