n Gender Questions - Family, history and activism : an interview with Elizabeth H. Pleck

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704



Elizabeth H. Pleck is one of the foremost historians of gender and family history in the United States. She studied at Brandeis University in Massachusetts where in 1973 she graduated with a PhD in the History of American Civilization. Subsequently, she held teaching and research positions at the University of Michigan and Wellesley College, before moving to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 1990s. She held a dual appointment there, becoming Professor in the Department of Human and Community Development in 2000 and Professor of History in 2001. Professor Pleck has won numerous awards for her innovative and outstanding teaching, and has been a visiting lecturer at several universities. Her career as a researcher has been equally distinguished. Since 1979 she has published six monographs with important presses and co-edited a further six books, including a textbook on women's history. Many of her more than two dozen journal articles and book chapters have been reprinted and anthologised. A hallmark of her career has been linking activism, teaching and writing. Not only has she served as a consultant on numerous projects and initiatives aimed at establishing greater awareness of gender and family issues, but she has also actively endeavoured to take the insights from academic history to a broader public. Many of her publications were co-authored with others, including such distinguished historians as Nancy F. Cott and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, but also with colleagues from other disciplines. A pioneer of many new topics in the field of gender and family history, Professor Pleck is particularly keen to reach wider audiences. For this reason she agreed to be interviewed for while a Fulbright Visiting Professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2014. At the end of the interview Professor Pleck provides a short annotated bibliography for readers interested in exploring some of the new developments in the field of gender and family history.

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