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Bringing Protest Politics to Capitol Hill: Rethinking the 1970s through the Career of Outsider Politician NY Representative Bella Abzug

Bringing Protest Politics to Capitol Hill: Rethinking the 1970s through the Career of Outsider Politician NY Representative Bella Abzug
1 Devonshire Place, Room 108N
Time: Mar 21st, 2:00 pm End: Mar 21st, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, United States Studies, Political Science, Jewish Studies, History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), 1950-2000
Lecture by Leandra Zarnow, Research Associate, Centre for the Study of the United States

The Centre for the Study of the United States and the Munk School for Global Affairs are pleased to present:

Leandra Zarnow, University of Toronto

Bringing Protest Politics to Capitol Hill: Rethinking the 1970s Through the Career of Outsider Politician New York Representative Bella Abzug


Three decades before Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin entered U.S. politics, New York Representative Bella Abzug imagined a day when “a woman schlemiel” could “get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.” A trailblazing politician for more than her feminist program, Congresswoman Abzug has been largely forgotten beyond the aforementioned sound bite featured during campaign season. Elected to represent Manhattan’s Nineteenth District in 1970, Abzug entered Congress as a Left Democrat who promised to “bring Congress back to the people.” Seen as “sister Bella” to some and “the conservative’s devil” to others, Abzug became America’s most recognizable political celebrity during her three short terms in Washington. Considering Abzug’s estimable challenge of Rush Limbaugh-esque Barry Farber in 1970, and her devastating loss to Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the 1976 Democratic Senate primary, as well as the space in between, tells us much about America’s changing political culture as the nation—and the Democratic Party—moved right. Most revealing is how much Abzug accomplished as a “maverick” politician who sought to bring the tenor and demands of 1960s social movements to Capitol Hill. Significantly, Abzug helped lead a period of policy experimentation in the areas of gender and racial civil rights, government ethics and privacy rights, urban renewal and environmentalism, which effectively made the U.S. political system more open, responsive, and accountable to a broader range of Americans. Historians have focused too narrowly on the malaise of the 1970s and the decline of the liberal state, discounting this key policy moment.
 
Leandra Zarnow is a Research Associate with the Centre for the Study of the United States during the 2013-2014 academic year. Zarnow comes to the Centre from Stanford University, where she was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow during 2011-2013. She received her PhD from University of California, Santa Barbara. Leandra is primarily interested in United States women's and gender history, U.S. political, legal, and cultural development, and transnational rights movements.  She is currently completing her first book, Bella Abzug and the Promise and Peril of the American Left, to be published by Harvard University Press. Her articles have appeared in journals including Law and Social Inquiry, Reviews in American History, Feminist Formations, and the Journal of Policy History.
 
Registration is required for this event. To register, please go to: http://munkschool.utoronto.ca/events/

For further information, please contact the Centre for the Study of the United States at (416) 946-8972.


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