The Western Association of Women Historians is coming to Denver in just a few short weeks, May 12-14. We’ve got a fantastic program with a LOT of star power–if you’re in the area, stop by for just a day, or stay for the whole conference! If you’re flying in from out of state, you can take advantage of the brand-spankin’-new train from Denver International Airport to Union Station in Denver*, which is just one mile from our conference hotel (and a free Mall Ride shuttle bus away.)
Here are some of the highlights:
- Thursday (May 12) night’s Strawberries and Champagne Book Launch, with brief readings from the following four wonderful new books, all published in the past year by WAWH members: Catherine A. Jones, Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia; Jessica Millward, Finding Charity’s Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland; Sharon Romeo, Gender and the Jubilee: Black Freedom and the Reconstruction of Citizenship in Civil War Missouri; and Terri Snyder, The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America.
- The Keynote Address at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 13 will be delivered by renowned historian of the U.S. West, Patricia Limerick. The title alone—“Rattling the Conventional Wisdom of the Frontier and Settler Colonialism: How Margaret Carrington, Mary Roberts Coolidge, Sylvia Van Kirk, and Peggy Pascoe All Came to My Aid (Professionally and Personally)”—suggests that we are in for a real treat. The talk will mobilize two case studies that demonstrate how attention to white women’s history unsettles the conventional thinking of both old-style frontier history and new-style settler colonialism history. The focus will be on two historical figures: Margaret Irving Carrington, author of Absaraka: The Home of the Crows, Being the Experience of an Officer’s Wife on the Plains (1868), an extraordinary book exploring the dynamics and depths of the Indian wars, and Mary Roberts Coolidge, a sociologist at Mills College who published an equally extraordinary book book called Chinese Immigration in 1909. In the same spirit, Limerick will then shift toward expressing her appreciation for and indebtedness to two historians writing in recent times—scholars she credits with alerting her to “the crucial and complicated importance of women’s history to any understanding of the Western American past”: Sylvia Van Kirk, author of Many Tender Ties: Women in the Fur Trade Society, 1670-1870 (1980), and Peggy Pascoe, author of Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1930 (1990) and What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (2009).
- On Friday over lunch we’ll celebrate another newly published work, Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman by Kathy Feeley. She will talk about “Watching Mary Pickford: Gender and Class in Early Hollywood” and screen film excerpts.
- Friday afternoon, your very own Historiann will be on the Presidential Roundtable, “Fresh Mobs of Scribbling Women: Writing and Publishing for a Crossover Audience,” along with my Twitter and blog friends Theresa Kaminski and Megan Kate Nelson. Even more glamorous than us scribblers are Associate Editor Leah Stecher of Basic Books and Rebecca Onion of Slate Magazine.
Join us if you dare! Tell them Historiann sent you, and be sure to say “howdy” after you hitch your wagon.
*I’ll buy you a drink if you can figure out why the University of Colorado paid $5 million for “branding rights” on this train. It goes nowhere near Boulder, and only stops somewhat close to the University of Colorado-Denver. WTF? Worth it, or should Bruce Benson have wrapped his blunts in $5 million Benjamins and smoked them instead?
Pro Tip: $5 million should buy you out of having to write b!tchy letters complaining every time local media forget–or refuse–to name-check your boondoggle–shouldn’t it? (Or maybe you’re just not clear on what you’ve bought?)