More from the Berks

Here's my final post about the Berks.  It was a great conference, but actually--and I know this is a controversial point to make*--I think NWSA is better.

Here's the breakdown, as I saw it:


  • Really white
  • Old school (they had a softball game!  Along with debates about whether we should be Women's and Gender Studies or just Gender Studies, or what about Women's Studies?)
  • Striving for interdisciplinarity, but not with 100% success.  It was definitely a history conference.
  • Very few men.
  • Really, really reputable.  As Astrid pointed out, the only feminist historian who wasn't there was Gerda Lerner.
  • Somewhat multi-ethnic, with institutional structures in place to support this.  Many more people of color than the Berks.
  • Newer school (no softball, no dance, and a growing body of new scholarship)
  • Truly interdisciplinary
  • A few men, but not as few as the Berks.
  • Getting more reputable.  And it should be!  It's a great conference.  And have I mentioned that our presidents are Beverly Guy-Sheftall (immediate past president) and Bonnie Thornton Dill?  And because of their work, folks like Angela Davis come to our conference.  For fun.
Here's Astrid hanging out in front of Emily Dickinson's house.  As it turns out, although the conference is called the Big Berks, we weren't actually in the Berkshires.  We were in Amherst, MA, which is a totally different part of the state.  We admired Dickinson's house from the outside, but we didn't go in, because we had to go to Northampton and have a fabulous brunch.  Priorities.

*You know, controversial if you're a feminist scholar.  If you're not a feminist scholar--if, for instance, you're someone who teaches college and has an office next door to a feminist scholar, you'd be likely to say, "What?  Berks?  NWSA?  What are you talking about?"

No comments: