Women and Work: panel proposed for ASA conference, November 21-24, 2013, Washington, D.C.

full name / name of organization: 
American Studies Association

The meaning of "women's work" has never been stable. While women have consistently engaged with the production of home as well as labor outside the home, their involvement in what Marx conceptualized as wage-for-labor power exchange did not achieve heightened visibility in U.S. cultures until the nineteenth century. "Women and Work" seeks to explore the many ways that women have offered their labor in service of their families, their communities, and their nation and how labor has contributed to women's sense of belonging to (or exclusion from) these same communities. How do U.S. women represent the work of being women -- where "work" encompasses not only paid labor inside and outside the home, but also the work of performing femininity and domesticity? What societal values make use of work in defining women's relationship to others and, importantly, their relationship to political and economic systems that historically have disenfranchised and oppressed women? How does women's labor provide opportunity for collective dissent regarding the ethics of labor practices as well as the continued undervaluation of women's work, both socially and economically? Send 250-word proposal, CV, and 350-word bio (please indicate whether you are a current member of the ASA) by January 13 to leiren@aol.com and strong01@nsuok.edu.