Women's History Month Keynote Event

Don't miss our WHM keynote event! 

Please join the Department of Women's & Gender Studies and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy in welcoming Prof. Laurel Clark Shire (Assistant Professor, Department of History - Western University, Canada) to the MU campus on Friday, March 16th at 3pm in Leadership Auditorium. 

Prof. Shire will be giving a talk titled: "What's the Matter with White Women? Settler Colonialism and the History of US Women's Property Rights"

This lecture will offer some historical context about why 53% of white women supported Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, in spite of numerous allegations against him of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination. It will argue that white women have long been recruited by white, patriarchal, settler colonial regimes (as in the US) to support colonization. White women's labour - both reproductive and domestic - has proven vital to settler colonial regimes in many places. In return, some white women have enjoyed rights and benefits denied to other women - those deemed less useful or desirable on account of racial, class, or other differences. In the early nineteenth century, borderland territories, such as Florida, offered white married women more property rights than any other US jurisdictions. They did so, however, not to support female empowerment, but to buttress the rights of white women who owned slaves, and white families that owned property. Such women, then, controlled their own property because they were white frontier settlers and slaveholders, not because they were women. Native American women and enslaved and free women of African heritage found far less support for their property rights in US courts and legislatures. Indeed, white women's property rights often directly denied black and Native women the rights to their own bodies, children, and lands. This analysis helps deconstruct the idea of "white women voters" as in any way coherent or monolithic. Their politics are diverse, and historically based as much in racial and nationalist movements as in gendered concerns.

Flyer for invited talk