About Us


The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians is pleased to announce that our triennial conference – The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities — will be hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on June 1-4, 2017.

The conference theme in 2017 will be:

Difficult Conversations: Thinking and Talking About Women, Genders, and Sexualities
Inside and Outside the Academy

The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (the Big Berks) was first held in 1973 at Douglass College, Rutgers University.  Intended to be a celebration of a new field of scholarship – women’s history – born out of the women’s movement, it has been held every three years since that time. In a collegial atmosphere that is more informal than that of most academic conferences, the Big Berks has always provided an opportunity to share research, experience, and insights as scholars and graduate students explored and expanded the boundaries of women’s, gender and sexuality history.  From its inception the conference was inclusive. It brought together historians and a range of people from within and beyond the academy to discuss scholarship which addresses history from ancient to contemporary and from East to West.  The conference has grown from a few hundred to more than 1500 participants sharing energy and dialogue in over 250 panels and other events.  This year, participants will come from over 35 different countries.

The 2017 conference is especially significant because women’s rights are under attack around the globe.  In addition history as an academic discipline is struggling with declining enrollments, with some questioning the relevance of our work.  To a greater extent than ever before, we are involving K-12 teachers, activists, artists, public intellectuals, writers, performers, veterans, and formerly incarcerated people in our  discussions of the importance of studying our history and how we might utilize this knowledge to make people’s lives better.

The women’s marches that occurred on every continent on January 21, 2017 signaled women’s discontent with our contemporary political moment and the determination of many to challenge the misogyny that is still celebrated.  The conference’s theme, Difficult Conversations, reminds us that the way forward will not be easy.  Nonetheless, any redress we seek against political oppression, social and economic inequality, sexism, racism or homophobia must begin with conversations where we build common ground in our shared humanity.  We invite you to join us in these Difficult Conversations, knowing that you will leave informed and inspired for the work ahead.

Click here to go to the program.

If you have questions about the conference contact execadmin@berksconference.org