University of Wisconsin-River Falls

UW-RF Home > University Communications Home > This Month's News Releases

University Communications

For more information contact or

U of M professor and author on campus for Women's History Month

By Samantha Wenwoi
MARCH 2, 2007—In the past century American women have gained the right to vote and have seen changes in their economic status, community roles and personal lives. Such drastic social change begs the question, how have women’s roles as wives and mothers adjusted to fit these societal advances?

That is the question notable University of Minnesota professor and author Elaine Tyler May will answer with her presentation during Women’s History Month, "Mating, Dating and Procreating: A Hundred Years of Marriage in America," at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus on Tuesday, Mar. 27 at 4:15 p.m. in the University Center’s Kinnickinnic River Theater. Admission to the event and reception is free and open to all members of the UWRF campus and greater River Falls community.

The Women's History Month planning committee specifically asked May to present a talk on marriage because of the debate currently surrounding civil unions and gay marriage, said Davida Alperin, co-chair of the committee and associate professor of political science. "We thought that the topic was contemporary and that people would be interested in it. Some people have talked about marriage like a static thing, but it's an institution that's changed and evolved over the years."

Alperin is looking forward to May's talk and the discussions that it could generate. "I think it will be really interesting. I think she's a very dynamic, interesting historian and scholar, but she'll speak in a way that everybody will understand."

May is a professor of American studies and history at the University of Minnesota. An author, she's published books and articles including “Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans in the Pursuit of Happiness” and “Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America.” Her work focuses on the crossroads of gender, sexuality, domestic culture and politics in the 20th century.

A former president of the American Studies Association, May is a past recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Research Grant, as well as a runner up for the William J. Goode Book Award for “Barren in the Promised Land.” "The feminist movement [of the early 1970s] and feminist scholarship profoundly affected the way I pursue my own research," she said.

Unlike previous years, May's presentation is the sole on-campus event being organized by the planning committee for Women’s History Month, according to Alperin. "In the past, we have had lots and lots of events but we've decided to focus on one big event and put all of our energy into that. When we bring somebody in, we want the campus to take advantage of it so we thought it'd make more sense."

Alperin said Women's History Month is a cause for celebration. "For a long time, history focused on white men in power. In recent years, we're studying what women, blacks and other groups' role in history was. It would be nice if at some point all our history were so comprehensive and inclusive that we didn't need to have special months to highlight groups that are left out, but I don't think we're there yet."

Biographical information about the speaker, is at For more information about the March 27 event, contact Alperin at or UWRF women’s studies coordinator Barbara Werner at


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:03 Central Daylight Time


University of Wisconsin - River Falls
410 South Third Street River Falls, WI USA 54022-5001 (715)425-3911
Copyright © 1995-2009 University of Wisconsin-River Falls