First Annual Faculty Research Symposium

Three History faculty participated in Luther's First Annual Faculty Research Symposium

Anna Peterson spoke on:

Emancipating Pregnancy and Childbirth: The Politics of Maternity Homes in Early Twentieth-Century Norway

The transition from home births to institutional births in Norway was fraught with power struggles. In 1915, the Norwegian parliament passed a comprehensive piece of maternity legislation that provided compensation and free midwifery to members of the national health insurance and members’ wives. The law also contained a clause that allowed local welfare offices to make compensation contingent on a woman giving birth at a maternity home. Feminists and midwives had worked together to try and get this legislation passed, but they disagreed over the issue of maternity homes. Leading feminists had a vision of maternity homes as places where women would help women and working-class mothers would receive modern, hygienic birthing assistance. They intended for midwives to run these homes and provide personalized assistance to grateful working-class women. What happened in reality was quite different. Between 1910 and 1930 feminists, midwives and working mothers fought for the type of birth experience they thought best. By examining a diverse range of archival sources, my presentation will detail the far-reaching effects this maternity legislation had on women’s relationships with one another and the state. My research will also pay attention to the ways in which women resisted, encouraged, and negotiated the medical management of pregnancy and childbirth.

 Brian Caton spoke on:

“Animals in the Archives: Studying Colonial Animal Breeding at the National Archives of India”

This presentation will review my experiences conducting research on the Government Cattle Farm, Hissar, in the records of the National Archives of India, New Delhi. The GCF was created in the early nineteenth century as a means to solve problems of military logistics, but did so by trying to breed stud animals which could then be sold, lent, or distributed in order to “improve the local breed” of camel or bullock (and, later in the century, sheep). Because animals do not write their own histories, I will consider the methodological problems of trying to recover the histories of animals in records that humans keep. I will also discuss the particular archival issues pertaining to the preservation of early nineteenth-century documents in India, including animals’ presence in archives: termites, worms, squirrels, and rhesus macaques.

And Lauren Kientz Anderson joined a panel with Guy Nave, Sheila Radford-Hill, Richard Merritt, and Scott Hurley on:

Networks of Oppression and Resistance

Since 1989, when UCLA law professor Kimberle' Crenshaw introduced the concept of intersectionality, academics and activists have been striving to identify how different kinds of oppression interact and intersect. We see intersectionality at work in the life of a black maid, for example, who may experience exploitation based upon her race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality--none of which can be or should be separated into discrete units. In this roundtable discussion, participants will examine the complex and varied ways that social, economic, and cultural discourses and institutions intersect to perpetuate oppression and domination. Perhaps even more importantly, they will consider how to respond to these issues as they manifest in and out of the Luther College community. While they will articulate how hierarchical ideologies such as sexism, racism, speciesism, abilism, heteronormativity, and others exist as parts of a complex, interconnected “network” of domination that is global in scope, participants will also reflect on the ways the metaphor of “network” or matrix can provide a theoretical and practical foundation for innovative and truly liberating discourses that will not only deconstruct explicit and implicit exploitative practices and policies, but will also lead to new forms of consciousness, knowledge, and social institutions.