Teaching the History of Sexual Violence in the Age of #MeToo

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Teaching and WASM

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Crime and Violence; Gender and Sexuality; Teaching and Pedagogy; Women's History


Teaching the history of sexual violence is imperative on our campuses, especially as sexual violence continues to be a public health crisis for our students. Since activist and community scholar Tarana Burke coined the term #MeToo in 2006, increased attention to individual acts of violence and the societal patterns that enable them have prompted significant interest in this topic among students and the public. Participants in this roundtable will address key themes in the historical scholarship of sexual violence, strategies for including this content in classrooms, and suggestions for collaborative learning around the study of sexual violence.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Kimberly A. Hamlin, Miami University of Ohio
Kimberly A. Hamlin is the James and Beth Lewis Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Professor Hamlin teaches classes on the history of women, gender, sex, and medicine. Since 2019, she has taught "#MeToo: A Cultural History" on campus as well as virtually for the Chautauqua Institute in New York and the National Humanities Center's Webinar Series. Her most recent book is Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener (W.W. Norton, 2020). She is also the author of From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2014). She has received numerous research fellowships and awards, including the Margaret Rossiter Prize from the History of Science Society and the Emerging Scholar Award from the 19th Century Studies Association. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award, Hamlin frequently contributes to the Washington Post, Smithsonian, and NEH Humanities magazine, among other media. She is a member of the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer Bureau and the Ohio Humanities Council’s Speaker’s Bureau. Hamlin lives in Cincinnati, Ohio where she coordinates the Mercantile Library’s Allgood-McLean Women You Should Know Book Discussion Series. She is currently writing a book about the women’s temperance movement, centering sex and sexual assault.

Panelist: Anne Blaschke, UMass Boston
Anne M. Blaschke is a historian of twentieth-century U.S. political culture. She teaches at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she specializes in diplomacy, gender, race, capitalism, and sport. Blaschke has published academic articles in the Routledge History of U.S. Foreign Relations, the Journal of American Studies, and Diplomatic History. She is co-author of a forthcoming American Journal of Sociology article which explores the correlation between racism, masculinity, and brain injury in American gridiron football. Her work has been supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, and the Historical Society of Southern California. Blaschke also writes publicly for the Washington Post and other outlets, and has been interviewed for public media as an expert on the history of gender and sports, particularly the #MeToo movement and the 2017 USA Gymnastics crisis. She is revising her first book, Foxes, Not Oxes: Women’s Athletics in American Political Culture, for publication. Title IX—the 1972 law mandating sex equality in American education—is the subject of her second book project. A lifelong runner diagnosed with Epilepsy shortly after defending her dissertation, Blaschke has run the Boston Marathon and will compete in the 2022 New York City Marathon as a disabled athlete.

Panelist: Crystal N. Feimster, Yale University
Crystal N. Feimster, a native of North Carolina, is an associate professor at Yale University in the Departments of African American Studies and History and the Programs of American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is Co-President of the Coordinating Council for Women in History and the Associate Editor of the journal of Civil War History.
Feimster earned her Ph. D. in History from Princeton University and her BA in History and Women’s Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. At Yale, she teaches a range of courses in 19th and 20th century African American history, women’s history, and southern history, including “Critical Race Theory” and “The Long Civil Rights Movement.” Over the course of her career Feimster has taught at Boston College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Princeton. She has received numerous teaching and mentor awards and been a fellow at the American Academy of Art Science, the Dubois Institute, and the Institute for Advanced Study.
Feimster is the author of Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching (Harvard Press, 2009), a history of how black and white women were affected by and responded to the problems of rape and lynching in the 19th and 20th century US South. Southern Horrors was awarded the North East Black Studies Association’s 2010 W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize and received Honorable Mention for Organization of American Historians’ 2010 Darlene Clark Hine Award. Feimster has published peer-reviewed essays in The Journal of American History and Daedalus, has co-edited a special issue of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era on Centennial Anniversary of Woman’s Suffrage, and has written numerous book chapters and encyclopedia entries. Feimster’s essay “Keeping a Disorderly House in Civil War Kentucky,” in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society was awarded the Kentucky Historical Society’s Collins Award for best article in 2020. Her article “General Benjamin Butler & the Threat of Sexual Violence During the American Civil War” in Daedaus was noted as a “Must Read” in the New York Times “Idea of the Day Blog.” Outside of academic journals, she has published essays in the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Slate and has been interviewed on NPR and Democracy Now.
Feimster is currently completing, Truth Be Told: The Battle for Freedom in Civil War Era Louisiana (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and Beauty and Booty: The History of Civil War Rape.

Panelist: Hilary Nicole Green, Davidson College
Dr. Hilary N. Green is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at The University of Alabama. She earned her B.A. in History with minors in Africana Studies and Pre-Healing Arts, M.A. in History from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890 (Fordham University Press, 2016) as well as articles, book chapters and other scholarly publications. In 2015, she also created the Hallowed Grounds Project for exploring the history of slavery, the lives of enslaved campus laborers and their legacy at the University of Alabama through an alternate campus tour, publications, public lectures and courses. In addition to several short publications, she is currently at work on a second book manuscript. Tentatively titled, Unforgettable Sacrifice, this book examines how everyday African Americans remembered and commemorated the Civil War from 1863 to the present.

Panelist: Catherine Olga Jacquet, Louisiana State University
Catherine O. Jacquet is the Luke V. Guarisco Distinguished Associate Professor of history and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Louisiana State University where she teaches courses in US history, women’s history, the history of sexuality, LGBTQ activism, and history of prisons. Her book The Injustices of Rape: How Activists Responded to Sexual Violence, 1950-1980 was published with the University of North Carolina Press in Fall 2019. Her research has been published in the Journal of Women’s History and the Radical History Review. In 2016 she curated the exhibit Confronting Violence, Improving Women’s Lives at the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. The exhibit tells the story of the nurses who sought to reform the medical system and improve healthcare services for survivors of domestic violence in the late twentieth century. She is currently serving as Tour Scholar for the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street travelling exhibit “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” Supported by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the exhibit will travel to six different sites in Louisiana between April 2022 - Jan 2023. Dr. Jacquet also teaches courses on US history for the college in prison program at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW). During spring 2022, she will be teaching a course on the history of women’s incarceration at LCIW and her students will be researching and writing on the history of women’s incarceration in Louisiana during the 19th century. The students’ research will launch the Louisiana Incarcerated Women’s History Project. Dr. Jacquet’s current research examines activism by incarcerated people and their allies against sexual violence in carceral institutions in the late 20th century.

Panelist: Rose Stremlau, Davidson College
Rose Stremlau is an Associate Professor of History and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Davidson College specializing in the study of the Indigenous South; American Indian women, gender, and sexualities; and sexual violence in American history. Stremlau earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught at Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke for a decade before joining the faculty at Davidson. Her book Sustaining the Cherokee Family: Kinship and the Allotment of an Indigenous Nation was published in 2011 by the University of North Carolina Press and won the 2012 Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians. She has published a dozen articles and essays and has won as many grants and fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation. Her current project bridges the nineteenth century Atlantic and Pacific worlds. The narrative heart of this story is Barbara Hildebrand, a Cherokee survivor of Indian Removal, participant in the California gold rush, and settler in Hawaii. Stremlau also served on the Davidson College Commission on Race and Slavery and supervises the Inclusive Histories Project at Davidson.