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Who We Are
The Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH) supports the study of women’s and gender history of the American South. The organization welcomes as members all who are interested in these fields, and we value individuals and their differences including race, economic status, gender expression and identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, first language, religion, age, and ability status. The SAWH especially appreciates the work of public historians, archivists, independent scholars, and those in alt-academic positions, in addition to those teaching in colleges and universities. Although most SAWH members study the South, whether from within or beyond the region, the organization also encourages historians in any field of study who live in the southern states to find a home and support network within the SAWH.
The SAWH meets annually in conjunction with the Southern Historical Association (SHA), awards publication prizes, and sponsors the Southern Conference on Women’s History every three years. SAWH members receive a thrice-yearly newsletter with conference announcements, calls for papers, and news about the organization and its members
The SAWH was founded in 1970 in a small room near the boilers in the basement of Louisville’s Kentucky Hotel during a meeting of the SHA. In those days, when women historians were a distinct minority among the SHA membership and when people who studied women’s lives felt marginalized, a group of volunteers formed the “Caucus of Women Historians” to study the status of women in the profession and in the SHA and to encourage scholarship on women. By 1974, they had transformed an informal caucus into a well-organized professional association which still meets annually.
Today hundreds of people from around the world fill the membership rolls of the SAWH. The organization has several purposes: to stimulate interest in the study of southern history and women’s history, to advance the status of women in the historical profession in the South, to provide a forum for women historians to discuss issues of professional concern, and to publicize and promote issues of concern to SAWH members.