In her new book, Kirsten Swinth, Ph.D., associate professor of history, examines misperceptions of American feminism’s past. From failed promises of women “having it all” to the contemporary struggle for equal wages for equal work, Swinth’s book exposes how government policies often undermined tenets of the movement known as “second-wave feminism,” which took place from 1960s through the 1970s.
The book, Feminism’s Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family (Harvard University Press, 2018), argues that second-wave feminists did not fail to deliver on their promises; rather, a conformist society pushed back against far-reaching changes sought by these activists. The book’s arc begins with the intimate sphere of the family in the 1950s and then moves on to larger societal changes where two-income families became the unavoidable economic norm.
“My focus is on the story of a broad feminist vision that wasn’t fully realized,” said Swinth. “There were a lot of gains generally, but the movement also generated an antifeminist backlash so that most of the aspirations, like a sane and sustainable balance for work and family, were defeated.” (Full article available at link below)
On November 7, 2017, Fordham students gathered for the second annual women’s liberation teach-in at Rodrigue’s Coffee House, on the Rose Hill campus. Part of Professor Kirsten Swinth’s Modern U.S. Women’s History, students in the teach-in emulated women’s liberation groups of the 1960s and 1970s. The teach-in is a valuable tool Dr. Swinth has used to move students from the pages of their textbooks into the lived experience of the subjects they study. Here’s what some of the students had to say about that experience. Continue reading →
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Professor Kirsten Swinth of the Department of History (Right) with her student Noel Wolfe (PhD) at graduation
On Friday at the University’s annual Faculty Day, Professor John Harrington, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, presented History Professor Kirsten Swinth with the award for outstanding teaching in the Social Sciences. Dean Harrington’s citation mentioned her her broad range of skills and interests, including the history of women and painting, her experiences working in education abroad, particularly in Mozambique, and work organizing teaching events outside of the classroom. The History Department could not be more proud of Professor Swinth: Congratulations!
Professor Kirsten Swinth was recently interviewed by Fordham News to talk about her work on American feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. She told them the story of how mothers finally achieved the legal right to have a job in 1971.
This story is part of her forthcoming book from Harvard University Press, For Work and Family: A Real Feminist History of “Having it All”
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Right now, all over the country, college campuses are the sites of debate and protest over questions of history, identity, privilege, and inclusion. The timing could not be better for a graduate course in the History department which addresses these questions head-on. That is why we are particularly excited to announce that this coming Spring semester Professor Kirsten Swinth will be teaching a new course entitled “Race and Gender in Modern America,” Professor Swinth sat down with us and talked about her ideas for the course, including the book that will be the starting point for the conversation, and her “student-led” approach to the development of the course themes and readings. You can watch her comments below. We found it incredibly inspiring to hear someone speak so passionately and eloquently about the role that history can play in confronting some of the greatest challenges to our society. We bet you will too.
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