Ok not, but I wasn’t quite sure how to make an analogy about a conference of over 1000 women historians that my students might grasp. The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women 2011 is now history itself and won’t reoccur until 2014. While perhaps not quite so cool as the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione, it still rocked pretty hard.

If the archives are a microcosm of history, where you play with the building blocks of history, assembling them in various fashions to see what you can make of them, well then history conferences are the macrocosm.  A dizzying panoply of panels, plenaries, and performances provide so many perspectives on the intersections of gender and history that the head veritably spins with new ideas, challenged perceptions, and other mind boggling moments. (see this blog and tweeting here in addition to TR’s colorful perspective, yes students, porn is an actual academic topic, and yes men attend).
My favorite experience, hands down, was an entire panel devoted to the topic of my book (more or less).  Tenured Radical an infinitely cool academic tweeted and blogged about it.
After listening to someone else finally argue that feminist artists might possibly deserve inclusion in the history of radical feminism I now heart Jane Gerhard who gave a great presentation on Womanhouse despite technical difficulties that precluded images.  I already loved Carolyn Bronstein’s work and can’t wait to review the book!   Woman’s Building scholar Vivan Fryd just sent me the chapters to her manuscript and I’m looking forward to diving into them.
The panel however confirmed my belief that the book needs to start with a discussion of how women’s culture differed from so called “cultural feminism.”  So I spent today reading, playing around with my lovely library of Chrysalis issues and formulating my take on the difference between the two.   UPDATE post on this topic available here