Berkshire Conference on Women's History, Histories on the Edge/Histoires sur la brèche

Berkshire Conference on Women's History, Histories on the Edge/Histoires sur la brèche

The Sixteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will take place in Toronto on May 22 – 25, 2014.  The University of Toronto is hosting the first Canadian “Big Berks” in collaboration with co-sponsoring units and universities in Toronto and across Canada. The Big Berks is the largest academic conference on the history of women, gender, and sexuality in North America. Read more about its history below and our website:

Our program is jam-packed! To help you navigate it, we have created a set of documents to help direct you towards sessions that align with your interests. Check out our Streams @ the Berks documents.

Also part of the program are a digital lab featuring some of the most exciting projects in digital history, a full day of programming for teachers, and continuous film and experimental videos screenings. Finally, on Friday May 23, the Art Gallery of Ontario becomes a conference hub with academic sessions and sign-up workshops and tours!  

In addition to the academic programming, the program committee and the local arrangements committee put together an exciting line up of cultural events. When you register for the conference, you can sign up for enlightening, exciting, and fun events (tours, workshops, and evening programming) organized for conference participants. We’ll be adding more programming over the coming months: there are still tickets for the Friday Night @ the Berks. On Thursday Night, check-out the premier of documentary film maker Renata Keller’s film on pioneer woman historian Gerda Lerner, Living History: Documenting Gerda Lerner’s Life and Work. Saturday Night @ the Berks will include a drag king and queen show and the dance (lineup TBA). We’ll be updating our posts. For more information, check back with us again and again! When you are ready, CLICK HERE to register!

What is the Berks?

The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians formed in 1930 in response to women academics’ sense of professional isolation. Although allowed to join the American Historical Association (the professional organization for historians in the U.S.), women were never invited to the “smokers,” the parties, the dinners and the informal gatherings where the leading men of the profession introduced their graduate students to their colleagues and generally shepherded them into history jobs in colleges and universities.

The best-known aspect of our organization is the meeting of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, or “Big Berks,” held every three years. The Big Berkshire Conference began in the early 1970s and grew out of the flourishing interest in women’s studies across the country. The first Berkshire Conference on the History of Women took place at Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1973. Expecting only 100 or so participants, the Douglass conference drew instead three times that number, prompting calls for another.

To read more, visit the Berks organization website @