Distinguished Historian Sally Roesch Wagner to Deliver Lecture on November 5

Posted: Monday, October 11, 2021

The UE Department of History, Politics, and Social Change will welcome Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner for the 19th annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 5. The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Eykamp Hall, located on the second floor of Ridgway University Center on the UE campus. The event is free and open to the public with a book-signing afterwards. For those who are unable to attend in person, the lecture will be live streamed. 

The 19th annual Fiddick Lecture is a centennial celebration (delayed by one year due to COVID-19) of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. Focusing on the women's rights movement over three centuries, Dr. Wagner’s lecture examines the movement's changing agenda, why it has happened, and how we can move forward today with United States democracy and the very existence of life on the planet hanging in the balance. 

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner was awarded one of the first doctorates in the country for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz), and she is a founder of one the first college-level women’s studies programs in the United States (CSU Sacramento). Dr. Wagner has taught women’s studies courses for 50 years, and she currently teaches for Syracuse University’s Honors Program. 

A major historian of the suffrage movement, Dr. Wagner has been active on the national scene. She appeared in and wrote the faculty guide for the Ken Burns documentary Not for Ourselves Alone. A prolific author, Dr. Wagner’s anthology The Women's Suffrage Movement, with a foreword by Gloria Steinem (Penguin Classics, 2019), unfolds a new intersectional look at the 19th century women’s rights movement. Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists (Native Voices, 2001) documents the surprisingly unrecognized authority of Native women who inspired the suffrage movement. It was followed by her young reader’s book, We Want Equal Rights: How Suffragists Were Influenced by Native American Women (Native Voices, 2020). Among her awards, Dr. Wagner was selected as a 2020 New York State Senate Woman of Distinction, one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s E-News in 2015, and she received the Katherine Coffey Award for outstanding service to museology from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums in 2012. 

“Professor Wagner is one of the leading historians of Women’s Suffrage in the country, and it is an enormous privilege to bring her to the University of Evansville to deliver the 2021 Fiddick Lecture and interact with students in class,” said Dr. James MacLeod, professor of history and director of the Fiddick Memorial Lecture Series for UE. “On the hundredth anniversary of one of the greatest steps forward in American history, it is important that we reflect and learn some of the lessons of the passing of Women’s Suffrage. Gaining the vote was a hugely important moment for American women, but the women’s rights movement has evolved significantly over the years, and there can be few better-qualified people to tell us this fascinating story than Sally Roesch Wagner.”  

Thomas C. Fiddick, for whom the Fiddick Memorial Lecture is named, served as professor of history at UE from 1963 to 2002. In his 39 years at the University, he was a dedicated teacher, a productive scholar, and a tireless fighter in the cause of justice. His book, Russia's Retreat from Poland, 1920: From Permanent Revolution to Peaceful Coexistence, is still considered to be the best book on this topic. Tom’s untimely death on the day of his retirement in 2002 stunned the entire UE community, especially his many former students. It was from the former students’ efforts in particular, with the support of Dr. Fiddick’s friends and the University, that the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture was established. 

“The Fiddick Lecture is one of the best events of the year, as we get to celebrate the career of a truly outstanding faculty member here at UE,” MacLeod added. “Tom Fiddick was a brilliant scholar and an incredible teacher who made a life-transforming impact on generations of students.” 

Masks will be required while indoors on the UE campus. To stream the lecture live, visit evansville.edu/live

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