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Vera List Center Event – Toward a More Perfect History for the 21st Century

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Vera List International Women's DayAMT Faculty Andrea Geyer will be speaking at this symposium celebrating International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day
Friday, March 8, 2013 4pm – 9pm
The New School, Wollman Hall
65 West 11th Street, 5th floor
20 Years Vera List Center => Free admission
For further information, click here

In a time of staccato bursts of information and experiences measured in tweets, this symposium celebrates International Women’s Day by looking at women of the past, and how their representations and self-representations are inspiring New School students, faculty, and guests today.`

In 1605, in his seminal work The Advancement of Learning, Francis Bacon described “perfect history” in the following manner: “But lives, if they be well written, propounding to themselves a person to represent in whom actions both greater and smaller, public and private, have a commixture, must of necessity contain a more true, native, and lively representation.”

The students, scholars, artists, dancers, writers, and historians assembling on March 8 are writing a “More Perfect History,” calling attention to women’s self-representations and self-writing. Inspired by radical feminist Mary Hays (1759-1843) and her groundbreaking work Female Biography (1803)—the first history of women since Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies (1405) and the first in English—the event celebrates “female biography” as a valid form of inquiry, even though women’s life histories rarely follow the traditional prototype of “Great Men.”

Gina Luria Walker, Associate Professor of Women’s History at The New School for Public Engagement, editor of the Chawton House Library Edition of Female Biography, and director of Project Continua, guides a discussion on how to portray female intellectuals of the past, little remembered and mostly forgotten, who paved the way for the right to higher education that many of us now enjoy.

Throughout history, learned women have contributed to the collective body of human knowledge, yet their discoveries were rarely integrated into the received continuum of foundational knowledge and, therefore, excluded from teaching and learning about the past. Focusing on the lives of women reclaimed by feminist scholarship over the last 50 years, this symposium analyzes the impulse to risk self-writing, features women’s self-representation over time in letters, journals, novels, and other genres, and examines how self-writing has functioned as a vehicle for mentoring, instruction, and inspiration for women.

The symposium unfolds over several acts that stage a multitude of media and self-writing, ranging from the visual arts to poetry, scholarship to dance, song to fashion. Among the participants are Susan Cameron, Kate Eichhorn, Andrea Geyer, Carin Kuoni, Catherine Morris, Mary Spongberg, and Gina Luria Walker, with Jean E. Taylor acting as interlocutor.

The symposium is sponsored by The New School for Public Engagement and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics in celebration of Project Continua, and supported by an Academic Event Fund contribution.

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