I knew Linda Gordon of course first through her excellent Woman’s Bodies, Woman’s Rights, and then as a graduate student, as one of the major shapers of my chosen sub field. I met her in person the first time when she graciously came to lecture as part of the wonderful OAH speakers program at the keynote for women’s history month at William Paterson Univ.
she is also a long time friend, and sometimes co-author of my former advisor, and of course, a central player in the Politics of
Imagine my glee in reading her biographical essay in Becoming Historians as she describes her life at Swarthmore, just down Montgomery Ave from where I teach now. Her excursions into Media, and Chester,, the spaces around Swarthmore and Rosemont, are wonderful to read, as are her accounts of Civil Rights activism at Swarthmore in the fifties
Her descriptions of history as she learned it at Swarthmore help me to understand the trajectory and approaches her own writing has taken
“ultimately the civil rights movement and its intellectuals influenced my historical thinking more than graduate school did, because it taught me to ferret out and analyze power in relationships that had been idealized as natural ; to see how domination worked socially and politically, how exploitation worked economically, how subordination worked culturally … how race could not be disentangled from other scales of hierarchies (87)
alth0ugh I’m SHOCKED to read she was first not admitted to and then dropped out of YALE, only to land in DC where she volunteered with SNCC.