We’re going to the Berks!


We are pleased to announce that we’ve had a panel accepted at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians to be held at Hofstra University outside of New York City in June 2017. The conference theme is Difficult Conversations: Thinking and Talking About Women, Genders, and Sexualities Inside and Outside the Academy.

Profs Diane Kirkby, Vera Mackie and Tanya Fitzgerald will be attending to present in a panel called Gender, Transnational Mobility and Leadership in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The panel will explore the experiences of women who participated in educational exchange programs in the Asia-Pacific region in the mid-twentieth century. Our intersecting case studies focus on trans-Pacific movements between the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The routes of mobility of these individuals were shaped by global and regional geopolitics, involving a shift from British Commonwealth to US influence in the Asia–Pacific region, a wave of decolonisation in the region, the demilitarisation of Japan and the forging of its post-Occupation alliance with the USA.

We consider the role of transnational educational exchanges in developing individual careers, forging international networks of empowerment and fostering leadership.

The role of travel and international networks in developing women’s leadership is a little-explored area of the growing scholarly literature on leadership.

We argue that there is much to be learnt from examining points of crossover between women’s careers and educational exchange. We are interested not only in individual careers but also in the transnational networks which were formed through international exchange.

Taken together, these papers will make contributions to the field of transnational history and the study of gendered mobilities. Diane Kirkby explores the organisational networks and political activism of Australian and US women who crossed the Pacific. Tanya Fitgerald focuses on the importance of transnational connections in forging alliances and fostering women’s leadership within the field of Home Science in New Zealand. Vera Mackie considers the role of international educational exchange in fostering women’s leadership in professional fields in Japan.

Bring on the Berks!

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