UC Santa Barbara’s Eileen Boris has been elected president of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History (IFRWH). The Hull Professor of Feminist Studies at UCSB is the first American to hold the post.
Boris will serve a five-year term for the IFRWH, a transnational network of national women’s history organizations. IFRWH is affiliated with the International Committee of Historical Sciences, known by its French acronym CISH.
“Her election honors the feminist scholar-activism and consistent dedication to social justice that characterizes Professor Boris’s research, teaching and professional activities at — and far beyond — feminist studies at UCSB,” said Laury Oaks, professor and chair of the Department of Feminist Studies.
Among Boris’s duties will be organizing a major IFRWH conference — she hopes at UCSB — in August 2018. The group’s last conference, in England, drew 300 participants. Boris would expect an even bigger turnout. “I suspect it being here and everyone wanting to come to California, we can accommodate a conference of 400 people,” she said.
Boris, who also studies gender, race and class, wants to bring inclusiveness to the 2018 conference to accommodate the many Spanish speakers she hopes would attend. “When I organize my conference I want to have some simultaneous translations, particularly Spanish,” she said, “given that we’re in California we’re going to try to attract Spanish-speaking scholars from the Americas and Spain and Africa.”
Boris’ experience with women’s history is broad and deep, beginning when she was a graduate student in the 1970s. Her interest in the IFRWH comes, she said, “from both the logical direction of women’s movements, which have always been international, and have transnational networks of people.” Working with the federation, she noted, was “a natural next step if you believe in professional organizations as an avenue to advance intellectual inquiry to be involved on the international scale.”
The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Boris is the author “Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State” (Oxford University Press, 2012), which received that year’s Sara A. Whaley Prize. Presented by the National Women’s Studies Association, the Whaley Prize recognizes outstanding work that addresses women and labor