Women's History Conference Explores Women's Experience Through Their Stories

Women's Stories, Women's Lives: Making Sense of Experience is the theme of the 7th Annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence, to be held March 4 and 5 on the Sarah Lawrence campus, features award winning author Esmeralda Santiago (When I was Puerto Rican) as the keynote speaker. The conference is free and open to the public. For more information call (914) 395-2405.

In honor of International Women's Day (March 8), the conference will bring together scholars, artists and activists from around the globe, including Jamaica, Britain, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

This interdisciplinary gathering seeks to understand women's lives by examining the stories they tell about themselves and others. The numerous sessions offered center around the different aspects of women's experiences such as motherhood, domestic violence, illness, history, class, race, religion, and personal politics. Some more specific topics that will be addressed include: "Sisters in Struggle" which examines women and the Civil Rights and Women's Movements; a roundtable discussion on "Our Memories of Islam: Pakistani, Malaysian and Palestinian Women (Re)imagine 'Muslim' and (Re)define Faith" and a session on "Stories of the Holocaust" and many others.

The conference will also include poetry readings, a performance on postpartum depression and a screening of the film Daughters of the Troubles: Belfast Stories followed by a discussion facilitated by Marcia Rock of New York University.

Sarah Lawrence writing faculty member and alumna April Reynolds will conclude the conference, reading from her most recent novel, Knee-Deep in Wonder (2003), which explores four generations of fear and longing in the Deep South and asks: do we really want to know all of our family secrets?

In addition to her critically acclaimed memoir Esmeralda Santiago is the author of Almost a Woman which was adapted into a film and premiered nationally on PBS in 2002. Her most recent memoir The Turkish Lover was published in 2004 by Merloyd Lawrence Books. Santiago earned an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and Honorary Doctorates of Letters from Trinity and Pace Universities.

Founded in 1972, the Master of Arts Program in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence was the first to offer a graduate degree in the field. Students are introduced to the rapidly expanding literature in women’s history, feminist theory, and gender studies; trained in historical research and interpretation; and encouraged to combine scholarship with activism both within and beyond the academy.