Ohio University Contemporary History Institute
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The Contemporary History Institute sponsors an active program of conferences and invited speakers, providing opportunities for students to interact with prominent specialists from a wide variety of fields.

Speakers and Seminar Visitors

The Institute regularly brings distinguished speakers to Athens to conduct seminars and deliver public lectures.

Fall Quarter 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010
Jeremy Black
, University of Exeter
“War and Stability in the 21st Century”
4:10 p.m., 242 Baker Center

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Arsen Djatej
, Colorado State at Pueblo
“Soviet War, 1941-45”
4:10 p.m., 242 Baker Center

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Kevin Connally
, BBC Reporter
“The View From Afar: The BBC Correspondent in American Politics”
4:10 p.m., 240 Baker Center

Click here to see past speakers.

“Women's Rights are Human Rights”

Ohio University
April 8-9, 2010

Sponsored by the Baker Peace Studies Program and Contemporary History Institute

April 8
Templeton Blackburn Memorial Auditorium
7:30 PM

  • Keynote Address by Ayann Hirsi Ali, author of "Infidel" and noted human rights activist
  • There will be a book signing following the address in the auditorium lobby.
  • NO BACKPACKS will be allowed in the auditorium.
  • Please arrive early as we are expecting a large turnout. Thanks!

April 9
Baker University Center
Room 240/242

9:30 - 11:55 AM
Panel 1 - A Universal Standard for Women's Rights

Moderator: Dr. Sholeh Quinn, University of California at Merced

Dr. R. Charli Carpenter - University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Dr. Bert Lockwood - University of Cincinnati
Dr. Sonya Michel - Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars

LUNCH BREAK (on your own)

1:00 - 2:55 PM
Panel 2 - Reproductive Rights

Moderator: Dr. Jackie Wolf, Ohio University

Dr. Helen Alvare - George Mason University
Ms. Michelle Goldberg - Author "The Means of Reproduction"
Dr. Leslie Reagan - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:05 - 5:00 PM
Panel 3 - Education, Employment, and Empowerment

Moderator: Dr. Katherine Jellison, Ohio University

Ms. Jessica Gavora - College Sports Council
Dr. Molly Ladd-Taylor - York University, Toronto
Dr. Christine Chin - American University


Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and raised a devout Muslim. In 1992, Ayaan was married off by her father in a ceremony which she refused to attend. In order to escape this marriage, she fled to the Netherlands where she was given asylum, and eventually citizenship. After earning a degree in political science at the University of Leiden, she served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament for three years.

She has since become an active critic of fundamentalist Islam, an advocate for women's rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam. Her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of the Muslim faith as currently defined have made her a target for violence and threats of death by Islamic extremists.

Ms. Hirsi Ali was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2005, one of Glamour magazine's "Heros of 2005," and she received the Prix Simone de Beauvoir in 2008. She has published a collection of essays entitled The Caged Virgin (Free Press, 2006) and a best-selling memoir Infidel (Free Press, 2007). She is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC.

Helen Alvaré is an Associate Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Presently she is also a Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute working on the Religious Conscience Protection Project, and as a Consulter to the Pontifical Council on the Laity on matters concerning women. She previously worked with the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. There, she lobbied, testified before federal congressional committees, addressed university audiences, and appeared on television and radio programs on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops. Professor Alvaré has also worked at the Office of General Counsel for the NCCB, where she drafted amicus briefs in leading U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning abortion, euthanasia and the Establishment Clause.

R. Charlie Carpenter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her teaching and research interests include national security ethics, the laws of war, transnational advocacy networks, gender and political violence, war crimes, comparative genocide studies, humanitarian affairs and the role of information technology in human security. In 2007 she was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Human and Social Dynamics Initiative grant to explore variation in issue adoption within the human rights network. She has three books, Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, June, 2010), Born of War: Protecting Children of Sexual Violence Survivors in Conflict Zones (Edited by Charli Carpenter. San Francisco, CA: Kumarian Press , 2007) and Innocent Women and Children: Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (London: Ashgate Press, 2006), as well as numerous articles and has served as a consultant for the United Nations.

Christine B. N. Chin is Associate Professor of International Relations in the School of International Service at American University. Her research and teaching interests are in the political economy of transnational migration, Southeast Asian studies and intercultural relations. She is the author of In Service and Servitude: Foreign Female Domestic Workers and the Malaysian 'Modernity' Project (Columbia University Press, 1998), and other publications in international academic journals including International Feminist Journal of Politics, Third World Quarterly, Journal of International Communication, and Asia-Pacific Migration Journal. Her most recent book, Cruising in the Global Economy: Profits, Pleasure and Work at Sea (Ashgate, 2008) examines the relationship among flag states, cruise lines, port communities, middle class consumers and transnational migrant workers in the global expansion of cruise tourism. Dr. Chin is the recipient of the School of International Service 2010 Award for Outstanding Teaching. Currently, she is working on two research projects: conceptualizing the relationship between tourism and international relations; and examining transnational migrant labor and diasporic communities in global cities.

Jessica Gavora is a Washington, DC writer with clients including the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the College Sports Council. Previously, she was chief speechwriter for Attorney General John Ashcroft and a senior policy advisor at the Department of Justice. She is also the author of Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex and Title IX (Encounter Books, 2002.) Before becoming a full-time writer, Ms. Gavora was the Director of the Play Fair Project of the Independent Women’s Forum. From 1995-1996 she was the director of programs at the New Citizenship Project, a Washington, DC public policy group. She began her career as legislative assistant and later deputy press secretary to her home state senator, Frank Murkowski of Alaska. Ms. Gavora received her master’s degree in American foreign policy and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Michelle Goldberg is a journalist and author. Her first book, the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (WW Norton, 2006), explored the ascendant politico-religious fundamentalism dominating the Republican Party and, at the time, the Bush administration. It was a finalist for the 2007 New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. After Kingdom Coming came out, Goldberg spent the next two years traveling the globe to research The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World (Penguin Press, 2009.) Reported from four continents, The Means of Reproduction is about the international battle over reproductive rights. In 2008, The Means of Reproduction won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Before she started writing books, Goldberg was a senior writer for Salon.com. She is a contributing editor at Religion Dispatches and a senior correspondent for the American Prospect, where she has recently started writing a bi-monthly web column about human rights and foreign policy. Goldberg has taught at NYU’s Graduate School of Journalism, and has lectured throughout the United States and in Europe.

Katherine Jellison (moderator) received her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, where she studied with one of the pioneers in the field of U.S. women’s history, Linda K. Kerber. She has won several teaching honors at Ohio University, including the Excellence in Feminist Pedagogy Award, the University Professor Award, and designation as a Fellow in the Charles J. Ping Institute for the Teaching of the Humanities. She has also received numerous research grants and fellowships, including awards from the Smithsonian Institution and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Jellison is the author of It’s Our Day: America’s Love Affair with the White Wedding, 1945-2005 (University Press of Kansas, 2008) and Entitled to Power: Farm Women and Technology, 1913-1963 (University of North Carolina Press, 1993), and many journal articles and book chapters.

Molly Ladd-Taylor is an Associate Professor at York University in Toronto in the History Department, and her research has focused on motherhood and welfare policy in the United States. Her first monograph, Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare and the State, 1890-1930 (1995, Illini Books) explored the maternalist campaign for a U.S. welfare state, but her recent work (a book in progress on eugenic sterilization in Minnesota and a co-edited volume on 'Bad' Mothers: the Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America), shifts attention from "good" to "bad" mothers in US social policy. She has lived in Canada since 1993 and co-edited a volume with Georgina Feldberg, Alison Li, and Kathryn McPherson, Women, Health and Nation: Canada and the United Since 1945 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003) which considers how national differences (including national differences in health insurance coverage) has affected women's health.

Bert Lockwood is the Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University Of Cincinnati School Of Law and serves as Director of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, one of the first law school programs in international human rights. He is in his twentieth year of service as Editor-in-Chief of the Human Rights Quarterly. In addition, he serves as Series Editor of the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Professor Lockwood was recently named to the Advisory Panel on Racial Discrimination: International Obligations and Domestic Strategies of the International Human Rights Law Group. Professor Lockwood has written a number of petitions and briefs in international, domestic, and foreign courts raising international human rights issues; recent cases include the Unity Dow litigation in Botswana. Also, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, and serves on the advisory boards of a number of human rights groups. In recent years, he has co-sponsored and organized the Lillich-Newman Colloquium on Human Rights and the Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and hosted the Midwest Regional Meeting of Amnesty International USA.

Sonya Michel is the Director of United States Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She specializes in history and contemporary analysis of social policy in the United States and in comparative perspective, with a particular emphasis on child care, work-family balance, care work, and old-age security, race and gender issues, immigration, and civil society. Prior to joining the Center she was a professor of history and director of the Miller Center for Historical Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park; Professor of History and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Urbana-Champaign; and founding co-editor of the journal Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society (published by Oxford University Press). Her writings include Civil Society and Gender Justice: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, co-edited with Karen Hagemann and Gunilla Budde (Berghahn Books, 2008); Child Care at the Crossroads: Gender and Welfare State Restructuring, co-edited with Rianne Mahon (Routledge, 2002); Children's Interests / Mothers’ Rights: The Shaping of America's Child Care Policy (Yale University Press, 1999); Mothers of a New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States, co-edited with Seth Koven (Routledge, 1993); and Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars, co-edited with Margaret Higonnet, Jane Jenson and Margaret Weitz (Yale University Press, 1987).

Sholeh Quinn (moderator) is Associate Professor of History at University of California, Merced, where she teaches courses on various aspects of Middle Eastern history, Mongol history, historiography, and world history. Her research is on the history of Iran, specifically the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722) and the tradition of historical writing. She has been teaching a course on the history of women in the Middle East since 1993.

Leslie J. Reagan is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She teaches History, Medicine, Gender and Women's Studies, and Law, specializing in the history of medicine, U.S. women's history, the history of sexuality, and 20th century U.S. social history. Her book, When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (University of California Press, 1996), earned multiple awards and has been the basis of many presentations, lectures and international media interviews. Professor Reagan joined the Illinois History faculty in 1992, and is a member of the Medical Humanities and Social Sciences Program in the College of Medicine. Her current research focuses on the history of illegal abortion, the intersections between law and medicine, and social and legal issues relating to breast cancer and public health.

Jackie Wolf (moderator) is professor and chair of the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University. She specializes in the history of women's and children's health and the history of public health. She has written extensively on the history of breastfeeding practices in the United States and the effect of those practices on public health. Professor Wolf's most recent book, Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America, was published last year by Johns Hopkins University Press. She is currently writing a book on the history of cesarean section.

Click here to see past conferences.


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