University of Rochester

EVENT: Conversations Examine Life of "Other" White House Occupant

October 12, 2000

In January 2001, the White House will be home to a new resident. What will the public expect of the First Lady, whether she is Laura Bush or Tipper Gore?

This year, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton/Susan B. Anthony Conversations on Contemporary Issues will explore "The First Lady as First Person: Can She Get a Life?" The annual public forum, sponsored by The Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester, will be held Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Memorial Art Gallery.

"This year's Conversations will look at how presidents' wives have been defined and circumscribed by their relationships to their powerful husbands," said Nora Bredes, director of The Anthony Center. "The more specific focus will be on first ladies who have tried to be more than the archetypal hostess/nurturer/wife-Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Rodham Clinton. While the issue has immediate political relevance, the tendency to restrict women to traditional areas at work and home is a hurdle many women face."

The Conversations forum will feature a discussion by a group of nationally known experts who have widely studied and written about the public demands and private costs exacted from the women who have filled the role of First Lady.

The panel discussion, which starts at 6:30 p.m., includes:

Barbara C. Burrell. Burrell is associate director of the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University. The author of Public Opinion, the First Ladyship and Hillary Clinton, she has published extensively on women, public opinion, campaign finance, and women as legislative candidates.

Betty Boyd Caroli. Professor at the City University of New York, Caroli is a pre-eminent historian of America's first ladies. She is the author of The Roosevelt Women, Inside the White House, and First Ladies, a history recently updated to include women from Martha Washington through Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Robin Tolmach Lakoff. Lakoff is professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkley and is renowned for her study of the role of language in popular and political culture. Her most recent book, The Language War, looks at Hillary Rodham Clinton's struggle to define her power and status on her own terms.

Following a discussion by the panelists, audience members will have an opportunity to pose questions and make comments.

The public forum will also include presentation of the Anthony Center's Valued Colleague Award, given to a woman or a man who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the work of the center.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the reception is $40 per person or $75 per couple.

Coffee and dessert will be offered after the Conversations. Admission to the Conversations and coffee and dessert is free.

In addition, there will be a "Further Conversations Breakfast" with the panelists at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27. Breakfast admission is $50 per person.

Reservations for all events are required.

For additional information and reservations, call the Anthony Center at (585) 275-8799.