Cathleen D. Cahill.
Cathleen D. Cahill will speak at a VCU virtual event March 12. (Michael T. Davis)

Historian to discuss how women of color transformed the suffrage movement

Share this story

Cathleen D. Cahill, Ph.D., author of the 2020 book “Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement,” will speak Friday at noon at a virtual event organized by the Humanities Research Center in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Cahill, an associate professor of history at Penn State University, will discuss the hidden histories of the Native American, Chinese American, African American and Hispana suffragists who not only challenged women’s inequality but also fought against the racial prejudices of the time.

“We are very excited to welcome professor Cahill to VCU (virtually) during Women's History Month, and to hear powerful stories about a multiracial group of activists and their work toward and vision of equal rights,” said Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D., director of the Humanities Research Center and an associate professor in the Department of English. “How do feminists of color expand our understanding of the suffrage movement 100 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920? Professor Cahill's talk will remind us of their accomplishments as well as the work left to be done by our and future generations.”

Cahill’s talk will be free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register online.

Cahill is a social historian who explores the everyday experiences of ordinary people, primarily women. She focuses on women's working and political lives, asking how identities such as race, nationality, class and age have shaped them. She is also interested in the connections generated by women's movements for work, play and politics, and how mapping those movements reveal women in surprising and unexpected places.

She is also author of the 2011 book “Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869–1932,” which won the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award and was a finalist for the David J. Weber-Clements Book Prize. Both of Cahill’s books were published by University of North Carolina Press.

This event is part of the HRC Speaker Series, organized this year around the theme “Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice.” It is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Media, Art and Text doctoral program.