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CANCELLED: Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement

When:
March 23, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm
2020-03-23T19:30:00-04:00
2020-03-23T20:45:00-04:00
Where:
Wayland Library
5 Concord Rd Wayland MA
CANCELLED: Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women's Suffrage Movement @ Wayland Library

For as long as women have battled for equitable political representation in America, those battles have been defined by images—whether illustrations, engravings, photographs, or colorful chromolithograph posters. Some of these pictures have been flattering, many have been condescending, and others downright incendiary. They have drawn upon prevailing cultural ideas of women’s perceived roles and abilities and often have been circulated with pointedly political objectives.

In her examination of the fights that led to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Allison K. Lange explores how suffragists pioneered one of the first extensive visual campaigns in modern American history. She shows how pictures, from early engravings and photographs to colorful posters, proved central to suffragists’ efforts to change expectations for women, fighting back against the accepted norms of their times. In seeking to transform notions of womanhood and win the right to vote, white suffragists emphasized the compatibility of voting and motherhood, while Sojourner Truth and other leading suffragists of color employed pictures to secure respect and authority.

Picturing Political Power demonstrates the centrality of visual politics to American women’s campaigns throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, revealing the power of images to change history.

 

Allison K. Lange is an assistant professor of history at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. She received her PhD in history from Brandeis University. Lange’s book, Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, will be published in May 2020 by the University of Chicago Press. The book focuses on the ways that women’s rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power during the suffrage movement.

Various institutions have supported her work, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Library of Congress, and American Antiquarian Society. Lange has presented her work at conferences such as the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Her writing has appeared in Imprint, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.

Lange also engages in public history. She has worked with the National Women’s History Museum and curated exhibitions for the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center. In preparation for the 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, she is curating exhibitions at the Massachusetts Historical Society and Harvard’s Schlesinger Library.

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