Carnegie Mellon University
March 04, 2021

Lisa Levenstein To Give Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture

By Stefanie Johndrow

Lisa Levenstein, a historian and award-winning author, will speak virtually for Carnegie Mellon University’s 15th annual Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women’s History.

Her talk, “When Feminism Went Viral: The Origins of Online Activism in the 1990s,” will begin at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 18. The event is free and open to the public and can be attended via Zoom.

levenstein-book-cover-min.jpgLevenstein’s talk is based on her new book “They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the 1990s,” which tells how a diverse global alliance of women bolstered feminism 30 years ago. In her talk, Levenstein will discuss how global and local activists utilized the Internet to create new types of actions and alliances.

Levenstein specializes in 20th century U.S. women’s and gender history and is a professor of history at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also the chair of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at the university. In addition to “They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties,” Levenstein is the author of the award-winning “A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia,” and the recipient of numerous fellowships — including a year spent as a Carnegie Mellon Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) post-doctoral fellow.

“Many people think of feminism as receding in the 1990s,” said Lisa Tetrault, associate professor of history and lead organizer of the Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture Series. “TIME magazine even ran a cover declaring it dead.”

“Levenstein’s book shows us not only that this isn’t true,” Tetrault said, “but also that we have to completely change our definitions of feminism. Brilliantly, she brings to the fore voices and coalitions we’ve failed to see. And she is one of the first people to ask: how did activists leverage the internet when it first entered the scene? Something we so take for granted now.”

The Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women’s History is sponsored the CMU Department of History.

The lecture series is named for Margaret Morrison Carnegie, the mother of Andrew Carnegie, who founded Carnegie Mellon under the name Carnegie Institute of Technology. The institute was home to four schools, including Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, a women’s college that closed in 1973. Margaret Morrison Carnegie College was the original home of CMU’s History Department.