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June 19, 2009

Philippa Levine to Discuss Why Historians Ignore Women in Studies on Decolonization

Historian Philippa Levine, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will examine why studies of decolonization rarely explore the contributions of women.

Levine, a professor of history at the University of Southern California, will present "Still Invisible: Women, Gender and Decolonization," at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed.

Sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, the lecture is presented in conjunction with the National History Center’s Decolonization Seminar. The four-week seminar held at the Library brings together 15 international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The seminar, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored by the American Historical Association and the Kluge Center.

In her lecture, Levine will discuss why decolonization studies rarely include the contributions of women, from the perspectives of women involved in anti-colonial movements and women who were part of the colonial authority structure. Her talk will offer examples of women in both these roles. Levine said she hopes to encourage researchers to open the field to further study.

Levine received her doctorate in philosophy from St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, in 1983. She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of British Studies and Women’s History Review, a council member of the North American Conference on British Studies and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Levine’s books include "The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset" (2007); "Gender and Empire" (2004); "Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire" (2003); "Women’s Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, Nation and Race" (2000); and "Feminist Lives in Victorian England: Private Roles and Public Commitment" (1990).

The National History Center promotes research, teaching and learning in all fields of history. Created by the American Historical Association in 2002, the center is a public trust dedicated to the study and teaching of history, as well as to the advancement of historical knowledge in government, business and the public at large. For more information on the National History Center, visit

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 09-125
ISSN 0731-3527

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