RWSA 2024

Rural Women’s Studies Association

15th Triennial Conference

May 15-19, 2024

Gendered Advocacy and Activism, Shaping Institutions and Communities

Hosted by Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA 


Full RWSA 2024 Draft Program available

Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. Indian and black girls exercising with medicine ball, Hampton Institute. , 1899. [or 1900] Photograph.

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.

Conference Program:

Schedule at-a-Glance

(All times are Central Daylight Time, GMT/UTC – 5h )

Wednesday, May 15

9:00-9:45 a.m. – Welcome Session 

10:30am-12:00pm – Concurrent Sessions 

1:00-2:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

3:00-5:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT – film screening and discussion: Hillbilly by Sally Rubin

5:00-6:30 p.m. – Opening Reception

Thursday, May 16

8:30-10:00 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

10:30am-12:00pm – Concurrent Sessions 

12:00-2:00 p.m. – SPECIAL EVENT Luncheon and  Keynote Speaker: Sarah Eppler Janda, Cameron University: “‘To Speak So Forthrightly as to Offend: Expressions and Consequences of Gendered Activism on the Prairie.”

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

Friday, May 17

8:30-10:00 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

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

12:00-2:00 p.m. SPECIAL EVENT: SMART Reproduction Presentation

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

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. –7:00 p.m. Off Campus SPECIAL EVENT: NEA Cultural Expo in downtown Jonesboro. Please see for more information.

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

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

2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions 

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.

The full conference program is available here.

Conference Registration:

Conference registration will cost US $150. That fee covers all conference activities, including the Sunday tour, an opening reception, four lunches, and several snacks. Register for the conference via this form. Discounted registration is available for Arkansas State University affiliates.

Location and Travel:

Conference sessions will be held at the Carl R. Reng Student Union on the Arkansas State University campus (101 N Caraway Rd, Jonesboro, AR 72401, USA).

There is a small regional airport located in Jonesboro. The nearest international airport is Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee (79 miles to Jonesboro, Arkansas).

A block of hotel rooms will be available to conference participants at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Jonesboro Red Wolf Convention Center, which is within walking distance of the conference site. Conference rate is US$134 per night plus tax (total cost of approximately $150/night) for a room with 2 Queen-sized beds or 1 King-sized bed. Please contact the hotel directly to reserve your room NO LATER THAN APRIL 21. Reference “Rural Women’s Studies Association” when booking to receive the special conference rate. If you would like to share a hotel room with other conference participants, we encourage you to post a roommate request on this spreadsheet.

Parking at the Conference Site: The GPS address for the parking garage Dean Street, Jonesboro, AR 72401.  There is no number in front of Dean Street.  Garage parking is 50 cents an hour.  CJB

Local Arrangements Committee: Cherisse Jones-Branch (Chair), Cynthia Prescott

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

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 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.