Ruth Rosen is a historian of women's history and professor emerita of history at the University of California, Davis, as well as a former writer for the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. She was part of many social movements in the Bay Area, including the women's movement starting in the 1960s, and taught the first women's history seminar at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s. Rosen was born in 1945 and grew up mostly in New Rochelle, New York. She attended the University of Rochester (1963–1967) before attending the University of California, Berkeley (1967–1976). Rosen is the editor or author of important works of women's history, including The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute, The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, and The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America. In this interview, Rosen discusses growing up in New Rochelle and the community's politics; her parents' conservatism and the formation of her own political identity; involvement with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Civil Rights Movement; attending the University of Rochester and her interest in history; the influence of studying abroad in Mexico and Italy; attending UC Berkeley and switching her focus of study from the history of art to history; studying women's history, including research on sex work; teaching the first women's history seminar at UC Berkeley; briefly teaching at Sonoma State University; research on and publication of The Maimie Papers; researching and writing The Lost Sisterhood; anti-war activism in Berkeley; the women's movement in the Bay Area, including demonstrations, childcare and communal living; personal involvement with Berkeley Women's Liberation; photography and editorial writing for Every Other Weekly; teaching at UC Davis, including earning the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1983; transitioning to professional writing, including for the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle; writing a history of the women's movement in The World Split Open; resigning from the Chronicle; working for The Rockridge Institute; teaching at UC Berkeley and retirement; important relationships with men; friendships with women in post-communist countries; involvement in anti-apartheid movement; the women's movement across the United States, including humor, coalitions and divisions, networks, sex and sexuality, race and class and a spectrum of political beliefs; developing language for "the hidden injuries of sex"; changes in support for and legacy of the women's movement; honors and awards; and her personal legacy.




Download Full History