Women Contesting Citizenship: Indigeneity, the ERA, and Conservatism

Solicited by Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600–2000

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Sexuality; Women's History


2020 was a historic year. It was the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment as well as an election year. It was also a time characterized by a global pandemic that revealed deep social, racial, and class divisions in the United States. This roundtable provides an opportunity to reflect on the history of women in the United States who raised their political voices but did so for goals that reveal the complex range of “women’s interests.” Together, these presentations challenge a teleological narrative of citizenship achievement for women by foregrounding the diverse ways women (and men) vied for political influence and defined the best interests for women.

Session Participants

Chair and Commentator: Rebecca Jo Plant, University of California, San Diego
Rebecca  Jo Plant is an associate professor in History at the University of California, San Diego, and co-editor of the electronic journal and database Women and Social  Movement in the United States, 1600-2000.  She is the author of Mom:  The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America  (Chicago) and co-editor of Maternalism  Reconsidered: Motherhood, Welfare, and Social Policies in the Twentieth Century  (Berghahn). Along with Frances M. Clarke, she won the 2015 Letitia  Woods Brown Memorial Prize and Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Prize for best article for “‘The Crowning Insult’: Federal Segregation and the Gold Star Mother and Widow Pilgrimages of the Early 1930s” (Journal  of American History).  The two of them are currently completing a jointly authored study on the problem of underage enlistment during the American Civil War.

Panelist: Kacey Calahane, University of California, Irvine
Kacey Calahane is an associate faculty member at Saddleback College and a doctoral candidate at the University of California Irvine. Her dissertation, The General and  Her Soldiers: How Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum Mobilized the Conservative Movement, examines the institutions conservative anti-feminists erected to network grassroots activists to business leaders and politicians in order to guide the direction of right-wing policy making in the United States since the 1970s. Kacey is an editorial assistant for the journal, Women and Social Movements in the United States,1600-2000 published by Alexandria Street Press. She is also a co-host of the Historians on Housewives podcast, as well as a co-editor of the forthcoming Historians on Housewives anthology. 

Panelist: David Dawson, California State University, Sacramento
David Dawson attends Sacramento State as an M.A. student in history. His work examines the relationship between an idealized conception of motherhood and forms of anti-statism in the US during the mid-twentieth century. In particular, he explores the highly-charged response of a group of white mothers to a World War II proposal that would have allowed the drafting of women for wartime labor. Alongside Dr. Rebecca Jo Plant, he has expanded his research to include different constituencies, each of whom either rejected or embraced the draft as a means of articulating, defending, or contesting their conceptions of citizenship.

Panelist: Mary C. Klann, University of California, San Diego/San Diego Miramar College
Mary  Klann is a lecturer at UC San Diego and San Diego Miramar College, where she teaches courses in US History and Native American History. She is currently working on her first book manuscript,Wardship and the Welfare State: Native Americans and the Formation of First Class Citizenship in Mid-Twentieth Century America, under contract with University of Nebraska Press; and designing a new digital humanities project, The Native Congressional Record, a curated digital archive of Native peoples’ engagement with Congress in the 20th century. Her work has also been published in the Journal of Women’sHistory and (soon) Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. 

Panelist: Haleigh Marcello, University of California, Irvine
Haleigh Marcello is a Ph.D. student in American History at UC Irvine. Her research focuses around gender and sexuality in the mid-to-late 20th century US. In the past, she has researched the National Organization for Women (NOW) and its involvement in lesbian rights activism. Her research is currently being adapted into a document project for  Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, titled “The National Organization for Women, the Equal Rights Amendment, and California NOW Chapters’ Lesbian Feminist Activism.” Currently, she is exploring the LGBT rights movement and backlash to it from the religious right in Orange County, California during the 1980s.

Proposal Submitter Only: Judy T. Wu, University of California, Irvine