A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber, October 5-6, 2012

From an e-mail I received recently:

We are pleased to announce that registration for A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber to be held October 5-6 at the University of Iowa is now available.  Directions for registering for the symposium and banquet, a provisional program, and a link to the fellowship donation pages can be found here.

The theme of this symposium, “A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber,” draws on important threads in Linda’s work over the decades of her career, and especially on her moving 2007 AHA Presidential Address, “The Stateless as the Citizen’s Other.” As a scholar of the rights, obligations, and complexities of citizenship; as a member of the generation which brought the study of women’s history into college and university curricula; and as the friend and teacher of another generation of historians, Linda’s influence reaches deep into our profession.

The Symposium will be held at the Old Capitol Senate Chambers on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. On Friday, October 5, the Symposium begins at 9:30 and ends at 4:45; it will be immediately followed by a reception and dinner at the Levitt Center for University Advancement. On Saturday, October 6, the Symposium resumes at 9:00 and ends at 4:15; a closing session and reception will be held at 4:15-6:00 at the Iowa Women’s Archives followed by a reception at Prairie Lights from 6:30-8:30.

If you plan to attend, please follow the link below to the Center for Conferences and scroll down to “A World of Citizens” in the October list of conferences. When you do, you’ll be asked to create a password so that you can register for the symposium, order lunches and your banquet ticket, and indicate your intention to attend the Prairie Lights reception.

Online registration available here for the symposium.

If you wish, you may make a donation to the Linda K. Kerber Travel Fellowship to the Iowa Women’s Archives.

The registration deadline for all events is September 15, 2012.

We look forward to seeing you in Iowa City in October!

The Linda K. Kerber Retirement Planning committee:

Mary Kelley, Ruth Bordin Collegiate Professor of History, American Culture, and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

Katherine Jellison, Professor of History, Ohio University

Sheila Skemp, Clare Leslie Marquette Chair in American History, University of Mississippi

Terri L. Snyder, Professor of American Studies, California State University,  Fullerton

Barbara Y. Welke, Professor of History and Professor of Law, University of  Minnesota

Sharon E. Wood, Professor of History, University of Nebraska, Omaha

I made my donation a few months ago–after all, it’s meant to support one of my personal hobby-horses, archival research!  Get out your planners and wallets and let’s celebrate the career of one of the greatest working historians.  Although I’ve corresponded with Professor Kerber, I’ve never met her myself, something I count among my major regrets in my career so far.  (I hope this will change soon enough!)

Do you know Linda Kerber?  Have you studied or worked with her?  Did one of her books or essays make a mark on your career?  For those of you who (like me) won’t be able to be in Iowa City in October, let’s make a digital tribute for her right here.

15 thoughts on “A World of Citizens: Women, History, and the Vision of Linda K. Kerber, October 5-6, 2012

  1. Both. Changed the trajectory of what I do, and pretty completely. All of them. You should come to I.C., though, Historiann; we could arrange for course coverage.


  2. Hey, thanks, CPP! That’s really very generous of you.

    To everyone but Indyanna and CPP: seriously? Two comments yesterday? We can’t do better than this? I guess it still is summer vaycay for most of you. Me, I’m on the hook for classes on Monday, so it’s over for me.


  3. I’m chiming in from London (with apologies for any typos because of the slight differences in the keyboard) and didn’t want to miss this chance to answer Historiann’s plea for some thoughts on Linda Kerber. I first encountered Linda Kerber’s work as an undergraduate, back in the early 1980s when early American women’s history was a very new field and even a senior thesis writer could feel as if she might have something to contribute to the conversation. I got to know her other work later during graduate school. I met Linda herself perhaps first in Philadelphia, and then later in Iowa. While the high quality of her scholarship has always inspired me, as it has so many others, whether or not we work on her particular area of expertise, I want to say something about her collegiality and generosity to people at all levels in the profession, from graduate students to senior colleagues. She has always conveyed the impression that the profession is open to all comers, and she has been unfailingly supportive and encouraging of junior colleagues. It meant a great deal to me that she was president of the AHA, both because of the subjects of her research and the political perspective she brought to the organization. She was a fabulous public face of the AHA.


  4. Meander–thanks so much for this!

    Isn’t it interesting that some of the highest-achieving historians are also the ones who are eager to welcome newcomers, to include them in the conversation, and to learn from them, too? These are people who (I suppose) could be cliquish and snobbish, but so often the ones who are at the top of the top are not, not at all.


  5. I’d like to second what Meander said. Linda is a model for the profession, a truly generous and welcoming colleague. I have known her for a couple of decades now, and I’ve watched her reach out to younger scholars (not just her own students!) and offer assistance, open doors, give advice. This was especially important early on, when some Ph.D. programs were not especially supportive of those doing women’s history. Lots of historians found an advocate in Linda.


  6. Isn’t it interesting that some of the highest-achieving historians are also the ones who are eager to welcome newcomers, to include them in the conversation, and to learn from them, too?

    This is the case in my area of science, as well.


  7. I’m in a different field but I met Linda Kerber ten years ago when she attended a presentation I gave. From the audience she was severe and generous at the same time. One awesome trait of hers is her energy. She works and works and works, and pays attention.


  8. I’m also chiming in late from London, to say that Linda Kerber is a history god. LadyProf nails it: “severe and generous at the same time.” I had the good luck to serve on the AHA Council when she was president, and I learned a huge amount at every meeting.


  9. Linda Kerber survived me finishing my dissertation under her direction almost twenty years ago, but every day I continue to realize that I learned far more from her than I then knew– about doing smart history, asking big questions while cherishing the details, professionalism, mentoring, teaching, and persistence.


  10. I was fortunate enough to briefly meet Dr. Kerber while wandering the book room at a conference with my adviser. Watching the two of them chat about their families, their grandchildren, and then flip effortlessly into a discussion of the hot trends in historiography – the balance of personal life and work that their entire conversation implied – is something I’m going to strive for my entire career.


  11. I have a colleague who is a Kerber student and her stories and praise for Kerber are endless. As someone with a fabulous advisor myself, I really appreciate the time and energy a wonderful advisor puts into the training of their students and it really shows in Linda’s former student (who is marvelous). Since I am completely outside the area of U.S. history I never read any of Kerber’s work, although I realize most of the women’s history in my area has been influenced by Kerber’s writing. I’m inspired to go and read some of her work. Any favorites to recommend to a non-U.S. historian?


  12. Liz2, I would pick up No Constitutional Right to be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (1998). All historians who are Americans will appreciate and get this book, which is a look at women’s relationship to the U.S. state through their changing obligations as citizens, rather than through their evolving civil rights.

    This approach permits her more of a story and more nuance over 200+ years of American history than a focus on rights, which (let’s face it) make for a whirlwind of a story over the past 45 or 50 years, but which wouldn’t have allowed an author much of a story (except for universal suffrage in 1920) from the late eighteenth century to the present. (There might be some comparative historical interest in this approach. too.)


  13. Also to be recommended as shorter samples would be her 1976 article “The Republican Mother: Women and the Enlightenment–an American Perspective,” _American Quarterly_, 28 (Summer, 1976), which shows the durable purchase a concept can achieve and hold on the treatement of a subject, even when–as almost invariably happens–the concept takes on a life of its own and mutates considerably. Or, for a sense of Keber in real-time dialogue with other scholars, the “Forum” piece that she edited as “Beyond Roles, Beyond Spheres: Thinking About Gender in the Early Republic,” _William and Mary Quarterly_ 3rd Series, 46 (July 1989), 565-585, which samples a symposium panel conversation among Kerber, Nancy Cott, Robert Gross, Lynn Hunt, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, and Christine Stansell held at Penn a couple of years before that.


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