Lectures: “Women, Combat, and Citizenship Series”

Bradley University Womens Studies Department is hosting the following lectures.  (This information can also be found on respective dates at the Calendar menu of this site.)

  • Beth Bailey, America’s Army: Making the All Volunteer Force, October 28th, 7pm, Bradley Library

Beth Bailey, historian and author of America’s Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force (Harvard University Press, 2009), will give the first of three public lectures. Bailey will present her research on the all-volunteer force in the post-Vietnam era, from the draft protests and policy proposals of the 1960s through the Iraq War.  Bailey argues that in the process of restructuring the Army after 1973, America directly confronted the legacies of civil rights and black power, the women’s movement, and gay rights. The volunteer force raised questions about the meaning of citizenship and the rights and obligations it carries; about whether liberty or equality is the more central American value; what role the military should play in American society not only in time of war, but in time of peace.  Based on exhaustive archival research, as well as interviews with Army officers and recruiters, advertising executives, and policy makers, America’s Army confronts the political, moral, and social issues a volunteer force raises for a democratic society as well as for the defense of our nation.  Beth Bailey is a social and cultural historian of the 20th-century United States. Her research has focused on the history of gender and sexuality and on war and military institutions in US history. Other books by Bailey include Sex in the Heartland: Politics, Culture, and the Sexual Revolution (1999) and From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in 20th Century America (1988).

  • Margarethe Cammermeyer, RN, PhD, COL, USA Ret “Serving in Silence,” March 1, 2011, Neumiller Lecture Hall

Margarethe Cammermeyer is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to have acknowledged her homosexuality while in the service.  In 1992, Colonel Cammermeyer successfully challenged the military's policy banning homosexuals prior to the implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and subsequently served for several years in the Washington National Guard as an “out” lesbian.

  • Laura Browder, “Mother’s at War”, April 7, 2011

Laura Browder’s lecture will challenge the Bradley community to reconsider the role of the woman soldier in combat.   As Browder’s research reveals, although women are officially barred from combat positions, in the current war, where there are no front lines, the ban on combat is virtually meaningless.  More than 200,000 women—nearly one in seven soldiers—have served in Iraq and the surrounding regions.  Their jobs include working as convoy gunners, searching Iraqi homes, conducting IED sweeps, and working in the Army’s “Human Terrain” program.  Browder’s research offers insight into a range of issues that female veterans must deal with, from sexual harassment in the military, to what it is like to spend 12 hours a day outside the “Green Zone” in Baghdad, to relationships with Iraqis.  She also explores how veterans have experienced motherhood, coped with the pressure of repeatedly having to “prove themselves,” and responded to the stresses of reintegrating into civilian life.

Laura Browder is a Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.  She is the author of When Janey Comes Marching Home (2009) and Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America (2006).