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Project on Women & Social Change

Collage of Smith students throughout the years

The Smith Project on Women and Social Change is an interdisciplinary faculty research group. Founded in 1978, the project draws together faculty from a range of disciplines including anthropology, political science, sociology, education, history, exercise and sport studies, literature, psychology, religion and economics.



Saturday April 21, 2018 – McConnell Hall 103 – 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957), born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, was a Chilean poet, essayist, schoolteacher, diplomat and activist for the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples. The first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in literature (1945), she remains the only female Nobel Laureate in literature in the Spanish language. Eleven years ago, upon the death of her partner and executor, Doris Dana, a large collection of Gabriela Mistral’s previously unknown papers and audio recordings were made public. This new archive was then donated to the National Library of Chile by Dana’s niece, Doris Atkinson. These materials have contributed to a reinterpretation of the poet’s life and work. This conference brings together the top Mistral scholars from Chile and the United States. The invited participants will discuss the significance of this new trove of papers and recordings, recent publications that have relied on these new materials, and future scholarship on the life and work of Gabriela Mistral.

The conference is free but is limited to 60 registered participants.

The conference is now full; new registrations are no longer being accepted.

Gabriela Mistral
Confirmed Participants
  • Doris Atkinson, Gabriela Mistral’s last literary executor (Mount Holyoke College ‘80)
  • Marjorie Agosin, Wellesley College
  • Elizabeth Horan, Arizona State University
  • Soledad Falabella, Universidad de Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
  • Maria Elena Wood, Chilean documentary filmmaker

Gabriela Mistral in the 21st Century
McConnell Hall 103

9:30 a.m.—Gabriela Mistral’s ‘New’ Archive: Contents and Publications
  • Doris Atkinson, Gabriela Mistral’s last executor
  • Maria Elena Wood, director of the film “Locas Mujeres”
  • Diego del Pozo, editor of Gabriela Mistral’s Poema de Chile
  • Soledad Falabella, Universidad Diego Portales
Noon–1:30 p.m.—Lunch

Lunch will served be at the Conference Center (registration is required)

1:45–4 p.m.—New Directions in Scholarship on Gabriela Mistral’s Life and Work  
  • Marjorie Agosín, Wellesley College  
  • Elizabeth Horan, Arizona St. University  
  • Gloria Garafulich-Grabois, President, Gabriela Mistral Foundation 
  • Karen P. Benavente, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley  
4:30-5:45 p.m.—Poetry Reading
  • Kate Berson, translator
  • Velma García, Smith College
  • Maria Huenuñir, Chilean Poet
  • Students: Karen Banda, Sophia Foster, Liliana Martínez, and Danielle Osborne
6 p.m.—Dinner

Dinner will be served at the Conference Center (registration is required)

"Legal Tender: Women and the Secret Life of Money"

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 5 p.m., Poetry Center, Wright Hall
Christian McEwen will read a selection of her original stories based on her interviews with more than 50 women about their relationship to money. That project culminated in a play as well as numerous presentations and events.

"Listening to Poets/Poets Listening"

March 27, 2014, 5 p.m., Seelye 106
Poet and writer Christian McEwen interviewed over 30 poets, including Gwyneth Lewis, Matthew and Michael Dickman, Chase Twichell, Ko Un, Maxine Kumin, Rita Dove, Ella Voigt and Yusef Komunyakaa. The poets discuss their personal histories, habitual writing practices and their literary influences and development.


Associated Faculty

The project's faculty participants are involved in research and teaching that explores women's contributions to social change and the ways in which women are affected by change. Members of the project undertake both individual and collaborative research and translate their findings into teaching. The 2017–18 director is Velma García-Gorena.

Research & Publications

The Project on Women & Social Change has achieved national recognition through its scholarly publications, such as the award-winning Women of the AndesWomen Living Change and Learning About Women: Gender, Politics, and Power.

Through the project, Smith enjoys membership on the National Council for Research on Women. This membership links Smith to all major research universities in the United States and keeps those institutions apprised of the research of the Smith faculty.

Women on Power: Leadership Redefined, edited by Sue J. M. Freeman, Susan C. Bourque, and Christine M. Shelton, with a foreword by Jill Ker Conway, Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press, 2001.

Politics and Society in Ottoman Palestine: The Arab Struggle for Survival and Power, by Donna Robinson Divine. Boulder, Colorado: Lynn Reinner, 1994.

The Politics of Women's Education: Perspectives from Asia, Africa and Latin America, edited by Jill Ker Conway and Susan C. Bourque. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1993.

Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, by Martha Ackelsberg. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1991.

Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change, by Sue J. M. Freeman. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990.

Women, Welfare and Higher Education: Towards Comprehensive Policies, edited by Martha Ackelsberg, Randall Bartlett, and Robert Buchele. Northampton, Massachusetts: Smith College, 1988.

Learning About Women: Gender, Politics, and Power, edited by Susan C. Bourque, Jill Ker Conway, and Joan Wallach Scott, Daedalus, Volume 116, Number 4, Fall 1987; and Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1989.

Unequal Colleagues: The Entrance of Women Into the Professions, 1890-1940, by Penina Migdal Glazer and Miriam Slater. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1987.

The Economics of Comparable Worth, by Mark Aldrich and Robert Buchele. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1986.

Women Living Change: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Susan C. Bourque and Donna Robinson Divine. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press, 1985.

Women's History as Women's Education: Essays by Natalie Zemon Davis and Joan Wallach Scott from a Symposium in Honor of Jill and John Conway, April 17, 1985, Smith College. Northampton, Massachusetts: Sophia Smith Collection and College Archives, Smith College, 1985.

Women's Place in the Academy: Transforming the Liberal Arts Curriculum, edited by Marilyn Schuster and Susan Van Dyne. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Allanheld, 1985.

Family Life in Seventeenth-Century England: The Verneys of Claydon House, by Miriam Slater. Boston, Massachusetts: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.

Women of the Andes: Patriarchy and Social Change in Two Peruvian Towns, by Susan C. Bourque and Kay B. Warren. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1981.

The Environmental Crusaders: Confronting Disaster and Mobilizing Commmunity, by Penina Migdal Glazer and Myron Peretz Glazer, University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.

Building Domestic Liberty: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Architectural Feminism, by Polly Wynn Allen. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.

The Whistle-Blowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry, by Myron Peretz Glazer and Penina Migdal Glazer. New York, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1989.





Project on Women & Social Change

Wright Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3060
Fax: 413-585-3068
General questions and mail can be addressed to the Jandon Center for Community Engagement.