St. Lawrence recently received a $10,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in support of a public history project that explores feminism in the North Country during the 1970s and 1980s.
The CIC’s “Humanities Research for the Public Good” initiative is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. St. Lawrence has partnered with the Traditional Arts in Upstate New York Center (TAUNY) to develop the project.
“Thanks to the support of the grant, we will be enriching the sources for the history of our region, a history that has been ignored or overlooked,” said Associate Professor of History Judith DeGroat, one of the leads on the project. “The role of women in the intentional communities and feminist activism has shaped many elements of our current community from domestic violence protection to the arts. Having the chance to build the collection of historical materials and to share some of the content in the exhibit at TAUNY will benefit us all.”
The CIC grant, awarded in 2019 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supports research conducted by four St. Lawrence undergraduate students, which began this fall after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the guidance of DeGroat and TAUNY’s Executive Director Jill Breit and Director of Research and Programs Camilla Ammirati, students are combing through archives, gathering newsletters and objects, and collecting oral histories from activists who still live in the North Country.
“Speaking to women who have participated in these consciousness-raising groups in the North Country has been by far the most rewarding experience,” said Sarah Hentschke, a member of St. Lawrence’s Class of 2023 and a research assistant on the project. “I have been fortunate enough to call Canton home for the last three years and I’m even more fortunate to share the histories of women that came before me.”
“I have been fortunate enough to call Canton home for the last three years and I’m even more fortunate to share the histories of women that came before me.” – said Sarah Hentschke '23
For several years, St. Lawrence and TAUNY have collaborated on campus-community events, classroom presentations, and applied-learning experiences for students. DeGroat, who began overseeing internships at TAUNY over a decade ago, says it is curiosity and shared interests that have created the long-lasting partnership.
“Our students love learning about the wider community they are part of and TAUNY introduces them to it via the arts and culture in ways that provoke recognition of shared interests in the beauty of the natural world, a love of creativity and craft, and the desire to explore a sense of belonging. The people who work at TAUNY appreciate the curiosity and willingness our students bring to their internships and make them feel welcome.”
Beginning in January 2022, the project team will host several events, including a TAUNY-hosted Community Collections Day and a public presentation at the Owen D. Young Library featuring a Meet-and-Greet for residents connected to North Country intentional communities. The final project will be presented in a photo-narrative exhibit in May 2022.