June 18, 2008
By David Darlington
The triennial Berkshire Conference on the History of Women was held June 12-15, 2008, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1,500 scholars attended, according to Anne Boylan at HNN. Known informally as “Big Berks” (to differentiate it from the annual Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, or “Little Berks”), the Berkshire Conference promotes the study of women’s history by scholars irrespective of gender. Several bloggers attended and wrote about the experience. Ann M. Little (aka Historiann), professor of history at Colorado State, provided readers with a brief history of the Berkshire Conference. She also assisted in planning and organizing the event. Wesleyan University’s Claire B. Potter (aka Tenured Radical) also previewed the conference and provided an informal FAQ.
Potter also covered the plenary session*, “The Changing (?) Status of Women in the Historical Profession,” which highlighted the AHA’s Lunbeck report (PDF) and its finding that women historians continue to be underrepresented in academia. Women historians make up only 30 percent of history faculty, well below their representation among history PhDs, and the percentage has not changed in recent years. See also Ann Little’s review of the plenary and a couple panels at the conference.
Heather Munro Prescott writes about several panels: one on “childhood” as a category of historical analysis and three on the intersections of science, health care, and gender. Other thoughts from Prescott on the conference can be found here and here. One can also find a report from Blogenspiel here.
*This link was previously incorrect.