Female Agriculture Undergraduates Perception And Use of Contraceptives in Federal University Of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Ashimolowo Olubunmi

Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, and Executive Director, Gender Development Initiative

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

Contraception is defined as the deliberate prevention of conception through the use of various devices and surgical procedures. The study assess the perception and use of contraceptives among female agriculture undergraduates in the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). Simple random sampling technique was used to select 350 female respondents. Data was collected with the aid of questionnaire and analyzed using frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Results show that their mean age was 20±2.856 years. The method of contraceptives used among the respondents were pills (x=0.29) and calendar method (x=0.51). Finding reveals that almost half (47.7%) of the respondents had favourable perception towards contraceptives. The constraints to contraceptive use among the respondents were fear of side effects (x=1.46) and contraception can cause irregular period. The result of the hypotheses shows that there is significant difference (p≤0.05) in the use of contraceptives across the marital category (F=28.954) and  use of contraceptives across levels (F=11.686). The study concludes use of contraceptives, severe contraints and its favourable perception among the respondents. It was therefore recommended that the ministry of health should create more awareness campaigns to enhance favorable perception and use of contraception.

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The Amarillo Philharmonic Club and Women Composers of the Texas Panhandle

Kimberly Hieb, West Texas A&M University

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at our triennial conference May 14-19, 2024.

Amarillo, Texas is located in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, roughly 300 miles from any major metropolitan center. Oklahoma City lies to the east, Albuquerque to the west, Denver to the North, and Dallas-Fort Worth to the southeast. Citizens of this town, which was established first by ranchers and cattlemen in the 1880s and then by oil money in the 1920s and remains located so far from any other metropolitan center, have fostered an individual and rich musical culture since the early twentieth century. 

The Amarillo Philharmonic Club was founded in 1905 and one of the fourteen original Federated Music Clubs in the United States. This club, like many others documented by Linda Whitesett (1997), Karen Blair (1994), and Marion Wilson Kimber (2019), educated its membership about the mechanics of music and introduced them to composers and repertoire from both across the country and the globe. Programs and newspaper articles recounting the activities of the Amarillo Philharmonic Club in the 1930s, though, reveal the club to be a particularly strong advocate for homegrown talent. Concerts and programs frequently featured works by local, female composers, often setting texts by local women poets. This paper documents this advocacy work, which helped launch the career of at least one Panhandle native, Radie Britain, whose compositions often reflected her West Texas heritage and were later played all over the United States throughout her career.

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Before They Had Bootstraps: A Case Study of Intergenerational Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1880 – 1944

Valandra, University of Arkansas, USA

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

The late activist and actor Harry Belafonte clarified that he was an activist before he became an actor stating, “I don’t know how you can ask citizens of color who were born into poverty when did you become an activist. You really become an activist the day you were born because your whole lust, thrust, and effort is to get out of poverty, and that requires a lot of work.” For rural Black women living through poverty, everyday efforts to provide for the needs of their families are the embodiment of activism. This is particularly true because black success inevitably ignites white legislative, civil, and physical hostility. Through slavery, reconstruction, Black Codes, and Jim Crow, rural Black farming families consistently strived to achieve economic, social, educational, and political success in the midst of white violence. African American literature scholar, Koritha Mitchell, refers to this white violence as “know-your-place aggression” and the denial of Black citizenship.  She describes the deep sense of success and belonging that Black Americans experience and cultivate amid “know-your-place-aggression” as homemade citizenship. This oral paper examines the everyday activism and achievements of four generations of Black Arkansas women to cultivate and embrace homemade citizenship in their words and deeds while facing white aggression within the historical context of slavery, reconstruction, Black Codes, and Jim Crow. Their attainment stories demonstrate the power of intergenerational faith, family preservation, mobility, education, and property as pathways from poverty to the creation of generational wealth. 

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Stolen Moments from the Ernst Farm: Letters to a Texan in the CCC

William V. Scott, Texas Tech University

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at our triennial conference May 14-19, 2024.

In the Summer of 1934, a young man by the name of Eddie L. Bell enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal employment endeavor for young men. In May 1934, Bell was sent to his first assignment, when he was transferred to New Mexico. The young Bell was twenty-four years of age and was kept in touch with the life in South Texas, one that constantly communicated with Bell was his sweetheart, Nellie E. Ernst. Ernst wrote Bell weekly and sometimes more often. Ernst’s letters are a wealth of information pertaining to a productive woman-ran South Texas family farm in rural Bexar County. In her attempt to keep her love in touch with the daily occurrences of farm life and community in the Roosevelt era. Ernst letters include numbers and vivid descriptions of the farm’s livestock production which including both cattle and hogs, a dairy operation, and a variety of poultry which are followed from brooding to the table, and often market. The Ernst Farm’s vegetable production would also follow a similar comparison, which details from field through the processes of preserving and canning. The 406-acre Ernst Farm on the outskirts of San Antonio, was almost completely operated by strong-willed rural women, as a mother, three sisters and a granddaughter make a productive farm through the Depression and World War II.

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Activism and Advocacy in Three Women’s Organizations in New Zealand

Margaret Thomas Evans 

Indiana University East, USA

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which women gained the right to vote in parliamentary elections as authorized by an act of parliament in 1893 (https://www.archives.govt.nz/discover-our-stories/womens-suffrage-petition). This presentation explores activism and advocacy work and how it is rhetorically presented in three women’s organizations in New Zealand: Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ), The New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes (NZFWI), and National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ). Based on their websites and social media, two are clearly political and involved in gender rights while the third appears to be primarily focused on social activities and community events. 

NCWNZ, established in 1896, has historically promoted “improvements to the quality of life of women, families and the community.”  Their work has shaped the society and economics of New Zealand. They are currently focusing on a gender equal New Zealand (https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/about).

RWNZ, founded in 1925, began as the women’s group associated with the Farmer’s Union and thus has a rural focus. The group now serves as “an authoritative voice on health services, education, environment and social issues in the rural sector” focusing on empowering women and girls (https://ruralwomennz.nz/about-rwnz/). 

NZFWI, begun in 1921, claims not to be political and primarily provides social activities for its members. However, a Facebook post from October 2022 indicates that the members celebrated equal representation in Parliament; while this shows progress for gender equality, it represents a binary.  Although not necessarily politically active, they clearly value gender rights and also support various charitable causes via fundraising (https://www.wi.org.nz/). 

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Spatio-Temporal Analysis in Seaweed Gathering and Marketing in Selected Coastal Areas in Ilocos Norte Philippines

Susan G. Aquino and Zenaida M. Agngarayngay

Research Directorate, Mariano Marcos State University, Philippines

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

Space-time accessibility measures explicitly acknowledge the importance of gender roles as a key social and spatial constraint for women, constraining their behavior, limiting their activities and confining them to a smaller geographic area. The core of this study is to use an accounting framework on gender roles in the seaweed fishery for a rational resource management and promoting gender sensitive seaweed fishery systems for sustainable community transformation and development. It will map out human activities to depict the differentiated roles that men and women significantly play over time and space, that is, the spatio-temporal model in seaweed gathering and marketing. Descriptive statistics, frequency counts, percentages and means were used to treat the data. 

While both gender can gather seaweeds in the supra and intertidal zones, only the males travel the subtidal zone. With a lesser time spent, the females are confined in the nearby supra and intertidal zone. This is because of the time spent and the risk involved in travelling the subtidal zone. It proved once more in the attitude of the respondents that “man are more risk taker” There is this gap in seaweed gathering at the subtidal zone. Still a men’s domain because they go there by boat.

While men are the sole seaweed gatherers at the subtidal zone, women take the burden in sorting, classifying and cleaning the gathered seaweeds and ultimately drying the seaweeds.

Further in-depth study in the spatio temporal activities should be done and other household members should be included in the study.

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Socialism in “Trump Country”: A “Yallternative” View

Kaceylee Klein

English and Law, University of California, Davis

Editor’s Note: We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

The Appalachian mountain range is a weird area full of weird people. Repeatedly, it is described, at best, as peculiar. Its people have been deemed backwards “white trash.” However, the relationship of Appalachia to race and class has never been simple—at times distanced from whiteness like the Jackson Whites and at other times used as the idyllic, hardworking Anglo-Saxon. Most histories completely ignore the large groups of non-white people who call the area home and have simplified the issues of the region as just racial or just class based, but never both. Appalachia has been a place in the dominant American imagination that could hold outcasts, but in turn could never be assimilated, never folded into the dominant hegemony. One of America’s favorite pastimes is constructing and re-constructing Appalachia from the outside, which often simplifies the intricacies of race and class in the area. Rather than continue to dichotomize Appalachia, scholars should take cues from the youth on TikTok, and allow activists from the area to determine how they will be represented and what value that will garner for them. 

This paper is divided into four sections: a brief history of the limits of whiteness; an overview of socialist movements that arose in response to coal industry; the resurgence of (gendered and classed) dialogue about Appalachia surrounding the election of Donald Trump; and finally an application of the prior concepts to the social media platform TikTok, focusing on a popular transgender woman in the “yallternative” community. 

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reFraming: Dramatic Narratives of African American Female Landowners in Alabama’s Black Belt

Allison Upshaw

Assistant Professor of Music, Stillman College

Editor’s Note:

We are highlighting scholarship that will be featured at the RWSA 15th Triennial conference in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, May 15-19, 2024.

The narrative of African American, southern women is often one of submission, subservience, and victimization. However, the author herself is a third-generation landowner.  An examination of the researcher’s own matriarchal lineage inspired this project. Family interviews say that after the slave owner was killed in the Civil War, his sister freed the slaves and divided the land amongst them. Dr. Upshaw’s grandmother, Clara Mae Lewis Adams, was the only child of Henry Lewis, the son of a freed slave. The family land was considered part of heir property and was not individually recognized until the early 1990’s. At this time the heirs came together and legally divided the land, receiving deeds to specific plots. Clara Adams’ deed was passed down to Alice Adams Upshaw upon her death, and is now entrusted to the care of Allison Upshaw. Clara Adams worked as a domestic and only attended school until the third grade. How was she able to maintain ownership of the property when women nor Blacks were legally allowed to own land? How did an entire Black community manage to keep land during Reconstruction and in the Jim Crow South? 

This conference presentation is an ethnographic storying of Black, female, landowners in Alabama’s Black Belt. The author braids together information from public records, interviews, creative nonfiction, as well as cultural and community narratives to dramatically portray these women’s lives.

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The purpose of the RWSA blog is to improve the visibility of rural women’s studies research and activism around the world.

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RWSA 2024 Conference Program

15th Triennial Conference

Gendered Advocacy and Activism, Shaping Institutions and Communities

May 15-19, 2024

Hosted by Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA

Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. Indian and black girls exercising with medicine ball, Hampton Institute. , 1899. [or 1900] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2001703736/.

The conference theme, “Gendered Advocacy and Activisms, Shaping Institutions and Communities,” explores recent challenges to civil rights in various locations internationally, in rural communities. Analyzing how historical activism rooted in rural areas can result in broader change on both regional and national levels, various presentations will emphasize the central role that women and individuals of all genders and sexualities have played and continue to play in shaping and reforming our institutions and communities.

The RWSA is an international association founded in 1997 to promote and advance farm and rural women’s/gender studies from an historical perspective by encouraging research, promoting scholarship, and establishing and maintaining links with organizations that share these goals. The RWSA welcomes public historians and archivists, graduate students, and representatives of rural organizations and communities as conference participants and members, in addition to academic scholars from diverse fields, including sociology, anthropology, literature and languages, Indigenous Studies, and history.

Location and Travel:

Conference sessions will take place on the Arkansas State University campus. We estimate that conference registration will cost $150 US, with reduced rates available to students and low-income participants.

A block of hotel rooms will be available to conference participants at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Jonesboro Red Wolf Convention Center in Jonesboro. Hotel rooms containing either 1 King-sized or 2 Queen-sized beds will cost $134 US per night plus taxes (or approximately $150/night including taxes). If you would like to share a hotel room with other conference participants, we encourage you to post a roommate request on this spreadsheet.

Jensen-Neth grant recipients should email their roommate preferences to RW******@gm***.com. All other conference attendees should contact the hotel directly to reserve a room (telephone: +1 870-619-4482). Ask for the “Rural Women’s Studies Association” room block rate.

The closest airport is Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee (79 miles to Jonesboro, Arkansas). Ground transportation can be arranged from the airport.

Arkansas State University is located on land traditionally inhabited by the Quapaw. This community occupied this area for many generations before being forcibly removed and relocated to Oklahoma. Despite this injustice, the Quapaw managed to preserve many of the traditions essential to their cultural identity. Information describing the Quapaw traditions and beliefs can be found at https://www.quapawtribe.com. Acknowledging the theft of land and lives of indigenous peoples like those of the Quapaw, is a step toward decolonization. The continuance and preservation of these cultures and communities helps to reverse the erasure of original peoples. This is an acknowledgment of the structural racism and colonialism that is present in academia and society at large. Through empathy, cooperation, and action strides can be made to create a more equitable reality. 

Local Arrangements Committee: Cherisse Jones-Branch

Program Committee: Cynthia Prescott (Co-chair), Tracey Hanshew (Co-chair), Ashimolowo Olubumni, Oluwaseun Boye, Margaret Evans, Cherisse Jones-Branch, Tanya Watson, Catharine Wilson

Wednesday, May 15

9:00-9:45 a.m. – Welcome Session

BREAK – 10:00-10:30 a.m.

10:30am-12:00pm – Concurrent Sessions

Session 1: Violence and Exclusion

Chair: Cameron Wimpy, Arkansas State University, USA

Mansi Bhagat, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, “The Transition of Marginalised Women in India and Their Challenges”

Lisa C. Childs, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Division of Agriculture Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA,“Interracial Marriages and Family in Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains, 1870-1920”

Berhanu Asfaw Weldemikael, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, “LGBTQIA+ in the Ethiopia Public Sphere”

2: Individual Stories in Overlooked Communities

Chair: Sarah Potter, University of Memphis, USA

Nikki Berg Burin, University of North Dakota, USA, “‘This has made a wreck of both of our lives’: The Cultural Politics of Breach of Promise Incidents in Dakota Territory”

Donna L. Shelton, Arkansas State University, USA, and Essie Trice-Hewett, Arkansas, USA, “Daughters of the Delta: Gertha Trice and Women’s Activism in the Arkansas Delta”

BREAK – 12:00-1:00 p.m.

1:00-2:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

3: Dressing the East and West

Chair: Sarah Lampert, University of South Dakota, USA

Elyssa Ford, Northwest Missouri State University, USA, “The Cowboy from West to East: Western Wear in Newspaper Advertisements”

Tracey Hanshew, Eastern Oregon University, USA, “A Bunch of Whiskers Proposing Laws to Censor Women’s Dress”

Cynthia Prescott, University of North Dakota, USA, “Camp Fire Girls and Cultural Appropriation”

Holly M. Kent, University of Illinois Springfield, USA, “‘We Don’t Chase Liquor or Cowboys’: Imagining and Marketing Rural Appalachian Style in Contemporary Fashion Culture”

4: Women’s Economic Power Around the World

Chair: Diane McKenzie, University of Lethbridge, Canada

Samuel Umoh Uwem, University of Hradec Králové, Czech, and Umoh Adetola Elizabeth, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, “Market Women Leaders in Corridors of Power and Governance Nigeria Markets”

Jeannie Whayne, University of Arkansas, USA, “What do 21st Century Arkansas and Congolese Women Have in Common?”

Anupama Saxena and Akash Tawar, Guru Ghasidas Central University, India, “Women Empowerment through ‘Gauthans’: A Case Study of Flagship Project of a State Government in India from Perspective of Women Empowerment”

BREAK – 2:30-3:00 p.m.

3:00-5:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENTHillbilly film screening and discussion session

5:30-6:30 p.m. – Opening Reception

Thursday, May 16

8:30-10:00 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions

5: The Archives, the Arts, and Activism 

Chair: Katherine Jellison, Ohio University, USA

Kerri L. Bennett, Arkansas State University, USA, “Silenced Stories: Uncovering Women Writers in the Mississippi Delta”

Kimberly Hieb, West Texas A&M University, USA, “The Amarillo Philharmonic Club and Women Composers of the Texas Panhandle”

Elissa Stroman, Texas Tech University, USA, “From the Dugout to the Concert Hall: Women’s Work Cultivating Classical Music in Lubbock, Texas, 1890 to 1930.”

6: FarmHer and Female Power

Chair: Jodey Nurse, McGill University, Canada

William V. Scott, Texas Tech University, USA, “Stolen Moments from the Ernst Farm: Letters to a Texan in the CCC”

Morgan Wilson, University of Notre Dame, USA, “Farm to Table-Bringing a 19th C. Farm Woman from the Archive to an Audience”

Mary Curtin, Caroline Murphy, and Una Woods, University of Limerick, Ireland, and Christine Cross, Napier Business School, Edinburgh, Scotland, “Gaining Ground? An Examination of Female Ownership and Participation in Farming in Ireland”

Bose Adebanjo Olaniyan, Director Establishments and Industrial Relations, Bureau of Establishments and Training, Nigeria, “Socioeconomic Intervention in Agricultural Practices; as Panacea to Healthy Living among Rural Women”

BREAK – 10:00-10:30 a.m.

10:30am-12:00pm – Concurrent Sessions

7: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, & Activism

Chair: Nikki Berg Burin, University of North Dakota, USA

Ajibola Oluwakemi Taiwo, Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Nigeria, “Curbing Domestic Violence in Abeokuta: Successes and Failings”

Captain Lilian Tugume, Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Uganda, “Rethinking Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Living in Rural Areas in Africa”

8: Rural Black Women and Reimagining the Limits of Activism in the American South

Chair: Cherisse Jones-Branch, Arkansas State University, USA

Beatrice J. Adams, College of Wooster, “Mothers of the Struggle: Black Mothers and the Civil Rights Generation”

Allison Mitchell, University of Virginia, “The Foot Soldiers: Patricia Stephens Due and the Congress of Racial Equality’s Voter Education Campaign in North Florida”

Brooke A. Thomas, University of Alabama,  “‘We Understand that federal funds are Available:’ the AKA Mississippi Health Project, Mississippi Midwives, and the New Deal”

Pamela Walker, Texas A&M San Antonio,  “I am not going to stop until I am a registered voter: Rural Black Women and the Mississippi Movement After Freedom Summer”

12:00-2:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT Luncheon and  Keynote Speaker:

Sarah Eppler Janda, Cameron University, USA, “‘To Speak So Forthrightly as to Offend: Expressions and Consequences of Gendered Activism on the Prairie.”

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

9: Contraception Use and Misuse

Chair: Sankeev Acharya, Arkansas State University, USA

Justina Licata, Indiana University East, USA, “When the Local Becomes International: How Bangladeshi Feminists Campaign against Norplant Impacted the International Women’s Health Movement”

Ashimolowo Olubunmi, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria, “Female Agriculture Undergraduates Perception and use of Contraceptives in Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria”

Akanle Florence Foluso, Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, “A Human Right Approach to Sexual and Reproductive Health of the Hearing Impaired Adolescents in Developing Countries”

10: Gender and Education

Chair: Sara Egge, Centre College, USA

Alejandra de Arce, National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina, “Women Agronomists and Rural Extension Policies (Argentina, 1910-1970)

Megan Birk, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA, “Campus Babies and Modern Motherhood”

Michelle McCain, Western Governors University, USA, “Black Students Perceptions with PWI Online Instruction”

BREAK – 3:30-4:00 p.m.

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

11: Home Demonstration, Women’s Organizations, and Empowerment

Chair: Linda M. Ambrose, Laurentian University, Canada

Adrien Lievin, University Lille, France, “Home Demonstration, Rural Education, and Women’s Political Empowerment in Appalachia, 1911-1945”

Peggy D. Otto, Western Kentucky University, USA, “Doing it Their Way: How Farm Women Resisted Early Extension Curriculum and Shaped Their Own Clubs”

Margaret Thomas Evans, Indiana University East, USA, “Activism and Advocacy in Three Women’s Organizations in New Zealand”

12: Rural Women and Social Media

Chair: Locardia Chitombo, Zimbabwe

Kaceylee Klein, University of California Davis, “Socialism in ‘Trump Country:’ A ‘Yallternative’ View”

Edith Chinelo Onuama and Michael Okpara, University of Agriculture, Nigeria, “Appraising Social Media Advocacy for Gender Equality in Nigerian Rural Communities”

Friday, May 17

8:30-10:00 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions

13: ROUNDTABLE–Gender, Economy, and Community: Recent Books in Rural North American History

Moderator: Debra Reid, The Henry Ford


  • Katherine Jellison, Ohio University, USA, Amish Women and the Great Depression (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023)
  • Jodey Nurse, McGill University, Canada, Cultivating Community: Women and Agricultural Fairs in Ontario (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022)
  • Steven D. Reschly, Truman State University, USA, Amish Women and the Great Depression (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023)
  • Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Iowa State University, USA, When a Dream Dies: Agriculture, Iowa, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s (University Press of Kansas, 2022).

14: The Gatherers and Advocacy

Chair: Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Iowa State University, USA

Susan G. Aquino and Zenaida M. Agngarayngay, Mariano Marcos State University, Philippines, “Spatio-Temporal Analysis in Seaweed Gathering and Marketing in Selected Coastal Areas in Ilocos Norte Philippines”

Zia Rahman and Maisha Tabassum Anima, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, “Empowerment through Dissent: The Mobilization of Theme Rural Women in Bangladesh – A Case Study of Sylhet’s Tea Garden Workers Movement against Wage Inequality”

Taaja El-Shabazz, Brown University, USA, “A Child’s Place: Working Mothers as Homemakers and the Cotton Plantation as a Site of New Deal”

BREAK – 10:00-10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

15: Advocating for Political Rights in Africa

Chair: Salina Makana, University of Memphis, USA

Ogunlami Serifat Abolanle, Ogun State Government, Nigeria, “Empowering Rural Women in Ogun State, Nigeria for a Fulfilled Life”

Oladotun E. Awosusi, University of Fort Hare, South Africa, “Gendered Activism and Refugee Protection in Post-Apartheid South Africa”

Oluwaseun Boye, International Breweries PLC, Nigeria, “Rights and Roles of Women in Politics”

16: Suffrage and Rural Political Power

Chair: Elyssa Ford, Northwest Missouri State University, USA

Sara Egge, Centre College, USA, “Making Citizens in Rural America: Marietta Bones, Deputy Clerk of Court”

Jennifer Helton, Ohlone College, USA, “Grassroots Women’s Suffrage Activism in the Rural American West”

Diane McKenzie, University of Lethbridge, Canada, “Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist?”

12:00-2:00 p.m. SPECIAL EVENT: SMART Repro presentation with Brittany Scott, Christina Ballard, and Dr. Jerica Rich, assistant professor of Animal Science.

SMART Repro is  a woman owned business in Jonesboro, Arkansas, that is a USDA-inspected and approved small ruminant semen and embryo collection facility. The center is dedicated to showcasing the decades-long work of American sheep and goat producers to the international market and is one of only three such facilities in the world. The Panel will discuss the impact of their services, particularly on rural women’s economics outside of the United States. 

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

17: Victimhood: Overcoming Stigmatization and Discrimination

Chair: Jaein Lee, Arkansas State University, USA

Sheetal Arya, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, “Gender and Geopolitics: A Case Study of Indo-Pak Border”

Nkiru Christiana Ohia and Joshua Ogueri Okpara, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, “Gender Differentials in the Stigmatization and Discrimination against Inmates of Leper Settlements in South East Nigeria”

18: “Everyday” Activism

Chair: Kelly Houston Jones, Arkansas Tech University, USA

Meighan Mantei, Carleton University, Canada, “‘I learned to Pick my Battles’: Girls’ Everyday Resistance in Oil Country”

Allison Upshaw, Stillman College, USA, “reFraming: Dramatic Narratives of African American Female Landowners in Alabama’s Black Belt”

Valandra, University of Arkansas, USA, “Before They Had Bootstraps: A Case Study of Intergenerational Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1880-1944”

BREAK – 3:30-4:00 p.m.

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

19: Rural Black Women and Emancipation in the American South

Chair: Cherisse Jones-Branch, Arkansas State University, USA

Kimberly Green, Independent Scholar, USA, “Black Women in DeValls Bluff: Agency from the Western Sanitary Commission within an Arkansas Civil War Contraband Camp”

Kelly Houston Jones, Arkansas Tech University, USA, “Rural Black Women’s Political Roles in Emancipation Celebration”

Kelly McMichael, American Public University, USA: “Breaking the Chains of Matrimony: An Examination of Divorce Among Female Former Slaves in Tennessee after the Civil War”

20: Changing the Farm as the Farmer, Not the Farmer’s Wife: Women Reckoning with the Multigenerational Family Farm

Chair: Sydney Giacalone, Brown University, USA

Participant #1–This farmer lives in Georgia and will speak about her experience engaging in genealogy research regarding her family’s history as enslavers, collaborative work toward racial reconciliation and descendant reparations in her community, and the beginning of transition of her family’s farm toward regenerate practices.

Participant #2–This farmer lives in Iowa and will speak about her transition from conventional to sustainable farming, and activism within the immigrant and environmental justice spaces of agriculture.

Participant #3– This fourth generation farmer will speak as the second generation in her family to run their previously-industrial regenerative farm, and the particular experience of her identity that has informed this transition.

5:30-7:00 p.m. Break

7:00-9:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT – film screening: Women’s Work: The Untold Story of America’s Female Farmers—a documentary film by The Female Farmer ProjectTM along with KRCreative Strategies Studio

Saturday, May 18

10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions

21: Social Reform and Resistance

Chair: Cynthia C. Prescott, University of North Dakota, USA

Lynn Byall Benson, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA, “Outlaws with Agency: Bonnie Parker and 1930s Gun Moll Culture in the Southwestern United States”

Pamela J. Snow Sweetser, Independent Scholar, USA, “Genuine Advocacy, Selective Equity: Middle Class, Evangelical White Women and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Movement in a Dry State, Aroostook County, Presque Isle, Maine, 1851-1934

22: Empowering and Connecting through Textile Work

Chair: Holly M. Kent, University of Illinois Springfield, USA

Kacie Hopkins, York University, Canada, “Visual Research: Grounding in Stitches”

Hillary Loomis, Southern Illinois University, USA, “Work-songs, Wool Waulking, and Wild Women, Earliest accounts of Female Powered Cloth-Fulling in Scotland”

12:00-2:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT: Lunch RWSA Business Meeting and the next Berkshire Conference

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

23: From Penciled Notes to Table Talk: Exploring Rural Women’s Voices in the Historical Record

Chair: Shelly Lemons, McKendree University, USA

Tanya Finchum, Oklahoma Oral History Research Center, “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Digital: Oklahoma Women in the Dust Bowl Oral History Project”

Steven Kite, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, USA, “There and Back Again: A Historian’s Tale”

Shelly Lemons, McKendree University, USA, “A Place at the Table: Hidden ‘Conversations’ in the Historical Record”

24: Rural Childcare and Women in Agriculture: A Panel Discussion on the intersections between on-farm safety, farmer well-being, and farm viability. 

Chair: Nicole Gwishiri

Florence Becot, National Farm Medicine Center, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA 

Shoshanah Inwood, The Ohio State University, Ohio, USA

Nicole Gwishiri, Women for the Land Southeast Program Manager, American Farmland Trust, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, Women for the Land Director, American Farmland Trust,

BREAK – 3:30-4:00 p.m.

4:00-6:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT – Maria Cristina Moroles and Lauri Umansky:  Águila: The Vision, Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Two-Spirit Shaman in the Ozark Mountains: A Reading and Discussion

Sunday, May 19

9:00-11:00 a.m. – Field Trip 

Visit the Arkansas State University Farm–Agricultural Teaching and Research Center Please RSVP when you register for the conference.


Thank you to our sponsors for their generous support which made this conference possible.

Arkansas State University:

College of Agriculture, Research and Technology Transfer

Department of History

Heritage Studies Ph.D. program

Graduate School

Office of the Provost

Conference program as of 1/25/2024.

Room locations and other details will be provided in the printed program at registration.

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