By Tyler Pugh, Chattanooga, TN–The women’s studies department hosted a speech in the UC as the primary highlight of women’s history month Wednesday.

Jacqueline Jones Royster, Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology presented her lecture, “Voices of Nation: Women Claiming the Power to Choose,” and spoke on the subject of Civil War women and nation building.

“At this nation-building moment, the lesson that we can take from the way that they [women] represented their experiences is that there is a long history of commitment to female agency in this country,” Royster said. “A legacy that we can take at this critically important time as an affirmation of women’s power to choose and a resolve to take their legacy forward.”

Marcia Noe, professor of English and women’s studies at UTC, said Royster’s speech was significant.

“There are some lessons that young women of today can take from the women of 125 years ago,” Noe said. “Young women who are growing up and making career decisions about marriage and family can learn from their experiences.”

Royster has written three books and earned her BA from Spelman College and her MA and DA in English from the University of Michigan, according to a news release.

Much of her work focuses on literacy studies, rhetorical studies and women’s studies. Her current research looks at the memoirs, letters, diaries, and autobiographical writings of Civil War era women, according to the release.

The women’s studies department will conclude women’s history month with a screening of “Girl Rising,” a film about educating girls in the developing world at the Majestic Theater in Chattanooga, Monday April 8 at 5 p.m.

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