Women’s Rights in a Global World: 2010-11 CSWS Series

CSWS Initiates the Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties with a Series of Lectures, Workshops and Symposia Focused on Women’s Rights

Organized by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the inaugural Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties explores the topic of “Women’s Rights in a Global World” through a yearlong series of lectures, symposia, workshops and related events featuring world-class activists, scholars, and writers. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn will cap the Lorwin series with her lecture on May 11. A bequest from the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law, the Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was established through a generous gift from the estate of Val and Madge Lorwin. Val Lorwin was a labor activist and professor of history at UO who died in 1982.*

Events for the 2010-11 Lorwin series are aimed at generating attention to international disparities in the rights of women, as well as research possibilities based on collaborations on this theme across departments, schools, and activist communities. To get the broadest possible global representation of issues regarding women’s rights, speakers have been selected with the assistance of an interdisciplinary advisory board of feminist scholars.

“Women’s Rights in a Global World” is also the topic of a blog that CSWS will moderate for the academic year. The blog will feature contributions by scholars, students, and activists.

The Lorwin series will centrally involve students with interests in women’s rights. CSWS intends to make related research materials, lectures, podcasts, and related links and multimodal materials available on the CSWS website.

Events include:

  • October 5, 2010 — Symposium: “Finding the Money: Effective Strategies for Funding Nonprofits,” sponsored by Women’s Opportunity Worldwide and CSWS.
  • October 5, 2010 — “Women’s Opportunity Worldwide: Connect and Collaborate with Local Nonprofits,” sponsored by Women’s Opportunity Worldwide and CSWS.
  • October 19, 2010 — Symposium: “Women’s Rights, Microfinance, and Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty.” Panel: Lamia Karim, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Oregon; Cricket Keating, Assistant Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, Ohio State University; Julianne Pacheco, Kiva.org; Ron Severson, Business School, University of Oregon; Maple Microdevelopment.
  • October 19, 2010 — “Women in Microfinance: Workshop Sessions.” The University of Oregon Microfinance Initiative (UOMI ) will offer four workshops about women in microfinance. Workshops include: Antonia Lydia Nalunga, project officer at FRIENDS Consult Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda, speaking about her experiences in microfinance; a loan group simulation; case studies of how women are included in the programs of some up-and-coming microfinance organizations from around the world; a discussion panel made up of experts, professors, and students experienced in microfinance.
  • October 20, 2010 — Lecture: Cricket Keating, “Mass Weddings and Garment Factories: The Reintegration of LTTE Women Fighters in Postwar Sri Lanka.” Cricket Keating is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies, The Ohio State University.
  • February 2, 2011 — Lecture: Beverly Wright, “The Perilous Consequences of Public Policy Decisions: Weathering the Storm of Natural and Man-made Disasters in the Gulf.” Dr. Beverly Wright, environmental justice scholar and activist, is the founder of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice currently at Dillard University in New Orleans. The Center addresses environmental and health inequities along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and is a community/university partnership providing education, training, and job placement. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Center has focused largely on research, policy, community outreach, assistance, and the education of displaced African-American residents of New Orleans.
  • February 28, 2011 — Symposium: “Women’s Activism, Women’s Rights.” Moderator: Vandana Shiva is the 2011 Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics. She is also a physicist, director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology and author of many books, including Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development.
  • May 11, 2011 — Lorwin Lecture, Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

CSWS Advisory Board for Lorwin Lecture Series: Joan Acker (Sociology); Ina Asim (History); Louise Bishop (Honors College); Yvonne Braun (Sociology); Bryna Goodman (History); Lamia Karim (Anthropology); Lise Nelson (Geography); Carol Stabile (English/SOJC); Roz Slovic (Lane County Darfur Coalition); Tania Triana (Romance Languages); Janis Weeks (Biology)


* Val Lorwin was an expert on the French labor movement and a professor of economic history at the University of Oregon from 1957 until he retired in 1973. Madge Lorwin authored an Elizabethan cookbook. And when they were young and full of the kind of enthusiasm that wants to make the world a better place, they joined the Socialist Party and threw themselves into labor organizing.
The son of eminent labor economist Lewis L. Lorwin, Val worked for several government New Deal agencies, helped edit the Taft presidential papers, served in Europe with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, and went to work for the U.S. Department of State in 1946. He helped develop the economic groundwork for the Marshall Plan.

And then, he ran afoul of Senator Joseph McCarthy. A former housemate denounced him as a Communist. Lorwin was quoted in a Time magazine article as saying: “I happen to have years of rather cantankerous anti-Communist activity on my record long before it became fashionable to be anti-Communist.”

He was at first an anonymous case, #54 of the original list of 81 State Department “security cases” accused by McCarthy of being a Communist spy. He was the only one of the original 81 ever prosecuted. Cleared by the State Department Loyalty Board, Lorwin was later indicted by a federal grand jury and accused of committing perjury, an indictment that was finally thrown out. The fight went on for four years. Lorwin later said he felt like the grueling ordeal had taken away several years of his and Madge’s lives, and that he was “thankful” that they did not have children.

Val Lorwin briefly returned to work at the State Department after clearing his name. He then went back to graduate school, completing his Ph.D. at Cornell. He taught at the University of Chicago before moving to the University of Oregon. He was a 1966 Guggenheim Fellow.

In his New York Times obituary of December 1982, Val Lorwin was described as an “eclectic academic who had been accepted as one of their own by historians, economists, political scientists and sociologists.”

Madge Lorwin died in 2003.