Call for Proposals: “In Her Own Right: Activist Women, 1820-1920” symposium

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Symposium registration is now live! Please visit the conference webpage for the schedule and registration links.

Title: In Her Own Right: Activist Women, 1820-1920
Date: March 18-19, 2021 (VIRTUAL conference)

Symposium overview

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) invites proposals for an online conference on women’s activism, 1820-1920. This conference will celebrate more than 5 years of work on the In Her Own Right project,

The In Her Own Right project aims to serve many audiences. From curated contextual content crafted to appeal to teachers, students, and the general public; to digitized collections for seasoned researchers and historians; to raw data available for download and use in digital scholarship; our website offers a range of ways to interact with archival sources. We have placed a particular emphasis on surfacing the stories of women who are traditionally underrepresented in the historical record – Black, Indigenous, and women of color; women in romantic relationships with other women; incarcerated or institutionalized women; sex workers; differently abled women; and more.

Our definition of activism is broad – an opening up of possibilities for women, be it in their personal lives, relationship to wage and other forms of labor, or participation in formal political processes.

We invite historians, archivists, and digital humanities scholars; feminists, activists, and artists; teachers, educators, and members of the general public; to all join us in sharing your perspectives and learning from each other.

This symposium will be held virtually on March 18 and March 19 (partial days; schedule to be determined based on submissions). Martha S. Jones, author of the recent book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, is confirmed as keynote speaker.

Session Formats:

  • Traditional Paper Presentation – 30-minute session of one fully prepared paper, with time for comments and discussion
  • Panel Discussion – 60-minute session consisting of three to five panelists discussing perspectives on a selected topic
  • Lightning Talk or Poster – 15-minute session with a single 10-minute talk and 5 minutes for Q&A
  • Lightning Talk Session – 30-minute session of four to five 5-minute talks on a given topic
  • DH / Data Demo – 15-minute Digital Humanities demonstration showing how a website, visualization, or dataset can shed light on symposium themes
  • Artist talk or creative performance – 30-minute session showcasing and/or discussing a creative work
  • Other (15, 30, or 60 minute session)

Proposal Evaluation:

The Program Committee invites proposals that provide perspective on the history of women’s activism (broadly defined) roughly within the time period of 1820 to 1920, via modes/disciplines such as:

  • Biography/history
  • Digital scholarship
  • Instruction/education
  • Contemporary art and activism
  • Archives and description

Proposals need not utilize digitized materials from the In Her Own Right project (, but those that do will receive special consideration.

Proposals centering the experiences of women who are traditionally underrepresented in mainstream history, including (but not limited to) Black women, women of color, Indigenous women, religious minorities, incarcerated or institutionalized women, sex workers, differently abled women, LGBT women; as well as gender non-conforming and intersex individuals; are particularly encouraged.

Submitting a Proposal: Initial proposals require an abstract of up to 250 words as well as a preliminary title. Please complete this proposal submission form.

Deadline for abstract submission: December 15, 2020

Date of acceptance notification: January 22, 2020

Contact for questions: Margery Sly, Project Lead,

About In Her Own Right

In Her Own Right is a multi-phase project by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL). The current phase is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project also received major funding from a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Digitizing Hidden Collections grant and NEH Foundations grant, as well as supplemental funding from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the New Century Trust.