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Town & Gown: Political Women: Stories of Local Women Making Change

Event Type: Adult
Age Group(s): Adult
Date: 3/8/2017
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
 This talk will share reflections and analysis from the Center for Oral and Public History’s “Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project,” focuses on the political lives and actions of Southern California women from the 1960s to the present. Thus far, we have completed over 150 interviews with political women in Orange and Los Angeles County, including 14 from Fullerton. By recording these women’s memories, we are demonstrating the myriad of ways women have participated in politics from formal, elected office to local community-based organizations. These oral histories highlight how as individuals and collectively women have made a difference in the types of policies enacted by county and municipal governments in Los Angeles and Orange County. These interviews also help us understand the reasons why women decide to take political action and, perhaps, shed light on why a gender gap still exists in Americans’ political ambitions (men are still far more likely to run for office than women). This project also explores the important role women have played in influencing politics and policy in Southern California from outside – as leaders and members, for example, of women’s organizations, environmental organizations, and groups that advocate for workers, the poor, and the disabled.

Natalie Fousekis is Director of the Center for Oral and Public History (COPH) and Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton. She specializes in modern U.S. History, grassroots politics, women’s history, and oral history. Fousekis has been engaged in oral history work for almost twenty-five years —conducting dozens of interviews, teaching oral history methodology to undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members. She has coordinated and directed a number of oral history projects, including the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station Oral History Project in collaboration with the Orange County Great Park Corporation as well as the Women, Politics, and Activism Project funded by a major research grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. In 2011 she also received a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant for COPH’s Renovation and Expansion Initiative. Fousekis has served on and chaired Oral History Association committees including the Program Committee, the Non-Print Award Committee, and the Nominating Committee. Her book Demanding Child Care: Women’s Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940-1971, published in 2011, uses oral histories among other sources to examine a grassroots movement waged by mothers and educators to preserve California’s public child care program from World War II to the War on Poverty.
   Main Library
Location: Community Room in Conference Center
Contact Number: (714) 738-6326
Presenter: Dr. Natalie Fousekis