Suffrage and Innovation

Suffrage and Innovation 2020 - a virtual conference

During Fall 2020 Marquette University's Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL) and its distinguished speakers dove into the passage of the 19th Amendment by looking at women's innovation leading to, resulting from, happening now, and what may come, as well as exploring the importance and necessity of engaging community members throughout daily life to better insure voter rights and meet the needs of communities as a whole through active political discourse and just actions. This virtual conference has broad pedagogical and civic value. IWL and the "Suffrage & Innovation 2020" Steering Committee welcome all to view this 10-part virtual conference and related resources.

Page Highlights: Check out our interactive suffrage timeline, mission statement, conference video sessions, keynote speakers, voting resources, and our team

Interactive Suffrage Timeline

This interactive timeline chronicles twelve important suffrage moments from 1776 to 1920. Included are resources and guides for teachers and students alike. Click on highlighted resources within for access.

100 Years Later

Last year, the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) at Marquette University held its 2020 Suffrage and Innovation Conference. This event celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The conference celebrates the historical significance of its passage, while exploring what remains to be done in the struggle for women’s equality in the United States. 

Check out the conference trailer below (or view it in its original sourcing here).

This virtual conference exemplified broad pedagogical and civic value. Given the dual focus on suffrage and innovation, the conference provides both scholarly and interactive materials, reaching across multiple disciplines appropriate for high school and college-age people.

You will find voting resources on this site and we welcome your reflections as well. Feel free to share about this event on your social media feeds and to follow the IWL social media.

We invite everyone to Engage, Inspire, and Transform our democracy. Vote.

Conference Session and Speaker Directory

Looking for a Session?

Learn More About Our Conference Speakers

To learn more about each speaker, click on the "Biography" and "Speaker Session" dropdowns below their name.

mary kelley

Mary C Kelley

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Mary Kelley is the Ruth Bordin Collegiate Professor of History, American Culture, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. The author, co-author, and editor of eight books, she is currently working on “Converse of the Pen,” a study that explores the complex relationship between the common practice of reading and writing and the formation of discursive communities ranging in their focus from radical politics to cultural refinement to evangelical social and moral reform. Her publications include Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth Century America, The Limits of Sisterhood: The Beecher Sisters on Women’s Rights and Women’s Sphere, The Portable Margaret Fuller, and Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life. She is the co-editor of An Extensive Republic: Print Culture, and Society in the American Republic, 1790-1840, the second volume of the collaborative History of the Book in America.


lisa tetrault

Lisa Tetrault

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Professor Tetrault specializes in the history of U.S. women and gender. A historian of the nineteenth century, she focuses on social movements (particularly feminism), American democracy, and the politics of memory.

Her first book, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) won the Organization of American Historians’ inaugural Mary Jurich Nickliss women’s history book prize.

Tetrault is currently at work on two book-length projects. The first, A Celebrated But Misunderstood Amendment, is a genealogy of the Nineteenth Amendment, which supposedly gave women the right to vote. Focusing not on the movement, it focuses on the long life of the amendment itself.

The second, Enter Woman Suffrage: A New History of Reconstruction, 1865-1878, investigates the broad and frequent debates about women’s voting, most of which are unrecognized, during the Reconstruction Era.

Tetrault also lectures on the U.S. suffrage movement, broadly construed, and is active as a public historian. In 2019, she delivered the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Votes for Women Exhibit keynote address.  She currently serves as an historical consultant for the National Constitution Center’s Nineteenth Amendment Exhibit, the Woodrow Wilson House’s Women’s Suffrage Initiative, the documentary “The Vote” , and Ancestry dot com’s new Women’s Suffrage Project.


kristen foster

Kristen Foster

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Kristen Foster received her B.A. from Williams College and her Ph.D. in United States history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with specializations in both cultural/ intellectual history and the history of America’s early republic. Both college and university experiences continue to inform the way Foster approaches both her students and her scholarly inquiry. In her classrooms, Foster employs close readings of texts (literary and material) with lectures and lively conversation in hopes that students will arrive at the end with a better sense of themselves as active citizens at home and in the world.  Foster’s classes reflect her interests in dynamic historical moments that allow students to explore consensus, controversy, conflict, and their own questions

While her first book: Moral Visions and Material Ambitions: Philadelphia Struggles to Define the Republic, 1776-1836 (2004) explored various constructions of meaning and identity in early national Philadelphia, her current book-length project is a complex exploration of the Haitian Revolution’s impact on American ideas about equality and citizenship. While working on this larger project, she has also published on the relationships between race and citizenship, gender and citizenship, female education, and republican ideology.


sarah wadsworth

Sarah Wadsworth

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


My first book, In the Company of Books: Literature and Its “Classes” in Nineteenth-Century America, grew out of several years I spent working in the publishing business during my twenties. Trying to figure out which books to publish and how to get the right books into the right hands made me wonder how authors and publishers in nineteenth-century America dealt with similar challenges. In this book, I analyzed U.S. fiction within the context of nineteenth-century publishing practices. In the Company of Books also gave me the opportunity to explore the growth of children’s literature, a subject I first taught more than a decade ago as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Carleton College and continue to teach regularly at Marquette.

My second book, Right Here I See My Own Books: The Woman’s Building Library of the World’s Columbian Exposition, is coauthored by Wayne A. Wiegand, an eminent library historian and Professor Emeritus of Florida State University. The book revolves around the World’s Columbian Exposition (the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair) and a landmark collection of women’s writing that was displayed there. Research for the book involved creating a database of titles in this historic library of women’s texts and analyzing the data using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods (close as well as distant reading). In donating royalties to the fledgling National Women’s History Museum, Professor Wiegand and I highlight the continuity between this late nineteenth-century feat of public humanities and the current effort, more than a century later, to establish a permanent, physical museum of U.S. women’s history in the nation’s capital.


christina wolbrecht

Christina Wolbrecht 

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Christina Wolbrecht is professor of political science, director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, and C. Robert and Margaret Hanley Family Director of the Notre Dame Washington Program. Her most recent book, A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage (with J. Kevin Corder, Cambridge 2020), examines how women voted across the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The authors demonstrate the persistence of stereotypes about women voters and the considerable diversity of women and their electoral behavior across time, place, and social groups. Wolbrecht also is the co-author (with Corder) of Counting Women’s Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage Through the New Deal (Cambridge 2016) and the author of The Politics of Women’s Rights (Princeton 2000), both of which were recognized with national book awards. Wolbrecht has authored or co-authored articles on such topics as women as political role models, the representation of women, and partisan education policy. She is co-editor of the journal Politics & Gender and a founding executive board member of WomenAlsoKnowStuff, an initiative to promote the work of women experts in political science.


kara swanson

Kara Swanson

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Kara W. Swanson, JD, PhD (History of Science) is Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of History at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. Her scholarship focuses on the historical intersections among law, science, medicine and technology, concentrating on the United States patent system, the regulation of reproduction and the body, and issues of race, gender and sexuality. Swanson’s research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. She has earned multiple awards, including honors from the History of Science Society, the Society for the History of Technology, the Association of American Law Schools, and one of Northeastern’s most prestigious prizes, the Robert D. Klein University Lectureship, awarded to a member of the faculty who has obtained distinction in his or her field of study. Professor Swanson publishes in both peer-reviewed journals and law reviews and recent publications include “Rubbing Elbows and Blowing Smoke: Gender, Class, and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Patent Office,” Isis 108 (2017): 40-61 and “Race and Selective Legal Memory: Reflections on Invention of a Slave,” Columbia Law Review 120 (2020): 1077-1118. Her first book, Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk and Sperm in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2014), is a history of property in the human body, as understood through the twentieth century history of bankable body products. Her book-in-progress is tentatively titled Inventing Citizens: Race, Gender, and the United States Patent System.


angela lang

Angela Lang

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Angela Lang was born and raised in the heart of Milwaukee. She has an extensive background in community organizing. In the past, Angela served as both an organizer and State Council Director for the Service Employees International Union, working on such campaigns as the Fight for 15. Before joining BLOC’s team as Executive Director, Angela was the Political Director with For Our Future Wisconsin. She is a graduate of Emerge Wisconsin and has had the pleasure of being the featured trainer for Emerge’s Diversity Weekend since 2015.

Angela is motivated by making substantial and transformative change in her community while developing young, local leaders of color. Her journey in organizing hasn’t always been easy, but through it all she has remained a fierce advocate for securing more seats at the table for those who represent the New American Majority.


christine neumann ortiz

Christine Neumann Ortiz

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Christine Neumann-Ortiz is the founding Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, a low-wage and immigrant workers center with chapters in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, including a student chapter called Students United for Immigrant Rights with members from 3 high schools. Voces de la Frontera is increasingly recognized as Wisconsin’s leading voice for immigration reform.

Ms. Neumann-Ortiz is recognized as a national leader in immigration reform, serving on the board of a national coalition of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and featured in national interviews on National Public Radio and CNN. She serves on the board of the Wisconsin Legalization Coalition (representing 44 allied organizations in the State), Wisconsin Citizen Action board and Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice board. She has received community award recognitions from Labor Council for Latin American Advancement chapters in Milwaukee and Janesville, the 2006 “Do What is Just” Award from MICAH, the 2006 Public Service Award from the National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter and the 2006 “Education: A Family Affair Award of Excellence”, presented by the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, the State Department of Public Instruction and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Neumann-Ortiz also writes a regular column in the local Spanish Journal.


ann jacobs

Ann Jacobs

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Ann S. Jacobs is the founder of Jacobs Injury Law, S.C. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School (cum laude). She began her legal career as a public defender before changing her emphasis to personal-injury litigation. She opened her firm in 2013. Her practice includes personal injuries, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse and neglect on behalf of injured persons. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of litigation, subrogation, and ethics. She is past president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice (formerly Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers), a founding member of their Women’s Caucus, and a board member for the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund. She currently serves as chair of the Wisconsin State Elections Commission. Previously, she volunteered with Wisconsin Election Protection, a non-partisan election group organized under the umbrella of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

meghan condon

Meghan Condon

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Meghan Condon is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in political science from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2013 Best Experimental Dissertation Award and was named the 2017 APSA Distinguished Junior Scholar in Political Psychology. Her research examines the relationship between inequality and political attitude formation, and the effectiveness of policies designed to reduce inequality among children and youth. Her first book The Economic Other: Inequality in the American Political Imagination (joint with Wichowsky) was published in 2020 with The University of Chicago Press. Her research has appeared in various journals including The Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, and Policy Studies Journal.


melissa shew

Melissa Shew 

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


I am an award-winning educator in the Philosophy Department at Marquette University where I started teaching in Fall 2007. My research interests lie primarily in ancient philosophy, contemporary philosophy (Continental, feminist, social justice), philosophy and the arts, and philosophy of education. My book, Philosophy for Girls: An Invitation to the Life of Thought  (edited with Kim Garchar, Kent State), is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in Fall 2020. It is a collection of essays by 20 women philosophers for their younger counterparts. I have twenty years of teaching traditional undergraduate students, professional and returning students, high school students, MA and PhD students, and everything in-between. Finally, I am working on research for a book manuscript tentatively titledDialogical Pedagogy: Feminist, Socratic, Critical, and Ignatian Pedagogies at the Crossroads . It is anchored in philosophy of education, bringing together four distinct educational philosophies to provide a vision of meaningful education, especially at the university level, for this century.


amber wichowsky

Amber Wichowsky

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Amber Wichowsky is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Marquette Democracy Lab. Her research explores the intersections between politics and inequality, including class biases in turnout, money in electoral campaigns, and how public policy affects societal inequalities. She is also an occasional source for media coverage of electoral politics, including CNN, NPR, Fox News and several local news outlets. Her book, The Economic Other: Inequality in the American Political Imagination (joint with Meghan Condon, Loyola University Chicago) examines how Americans use social comparisons to make sense of income inequality and how such frames of reference affect attitudes about redistribution and feelings of political power (University of Chicago Press 2020).  Amber’s other publications include articles on voter turnout, welfare policy, campaign finance reform, legislative representation, presidential primaries, and an award-winning article on the civic implications of public policy evaluation. Amber and her Marquette colleagues from education, biology, law, and computer and data sciences have just begun a new project that examines how communities have mobilized in response to concerns about surface and groundwater contamination in Wisconsin. This project was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the American Political Science Association’s Research Partnerships on Critical Issues (RCPI) program. Amber received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University’s Center for the Study of American Politics. She previously worked at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in Washington, DC.

The Economic Other: Class and Gender in the New Gilded Age

kim garchar

Kimberly K Garchar

Expand all   |   Collapse all  


Kimberly K. Garchar is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Undergraduate Philosophy Program Coordinator at Kent State University and an associated faculty member at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She found her way to philosophy via mathematics and received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Oregon in 2006, after which she spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center. Dr. Garchar specializes in American pragmatism, ethics, and clinical ethics, particularly in the areas of death and dying. She has focused on issues of gender and gender equity, both in philosophy and academia, throughout her career. 


To see all conference videos, check out our YouTube page by clicking here.

Voting Resources

Click on each topic for additional resources and links.

Expand all   |   Collapse all  

How to Volunteer to Be A Poll Worker

Wisconsin is looking for citizens to serve as poll workers for the November 3, 2020 election.  Many of our veteran poll workers have to sit this one out, so we need younger citizens to step up!  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many Wisconsin cities, towns and villages are looking for extra volunteers to assist with running the election.  

To be a poll worker, a person must:

  • Be a qualified elector of the county in which the municipality is located (i.e., an adult citizen of the United States who has resided in the election district for 28 consecutive days and is not otherwise disqualified to vote)
  • Be able to read and write fluently in the English language
  • NOT be a candidate for any office to be voted on at the polling place at that election.

Poll workers do everything from check-in voters, help people register to vote, check photo IDs and process absentee ballots.  Your local clerk will provide you with training prior to election day for the job you will be doing.  This is a great opportunity for high school and college students to get involved with the democratic process!

Learn more

Absentee & Early Voting

You may be eligible to vote prior to the election as an absentee or early voter. State laws vary greatly, so be sure to pay attention to the information provided by your election officials, or contact your local election office for help.

Your state may require you to have a valid excuse to vote absentee. Acceptable excuses vary by state. Most include:

  • Being unable to get to your polling place due to illness, injury, or disability.
  • Being on business travel or vacation outside of your county or city of residence on Election Day
  • Being a student at an out-of-state college or university

This table shows which states require an excuse and the excuses each state will accept.

For information about absentee and/or early voting where you live, click the button below.

Apply for an Absentee Ballot

New Voter Mini Guide

Day of Voting Problems

866-OUR-VOTE is a nationwide, free, hotline staffed by trained legal volunteers to help you deal with election day challenges. If you can’t resolve the issue, call 866-OUR-VOTE to see if there are other steps that can be taken. If you are able to resolve your issue, congrats! Call 866-OUR-VOTE anyway. Your call is a data point that voting rights advocates can use to try and address the problem you experienced on a more systematic basis after election day. Let folks who prefer a language other than English know that they can get help, too: Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA; Arabic: 844-YALLA-US; Asian & Pacific languages: 888-API-VOTE; American Sign Language video: 301-818-VOTE; Text “OUR VOTE” to 97779. 

Learn more

Voting for Marquette Students

Calling all Marquette students! Click on the link below for for a complete list of campus resources, voting information, and frequently asked questions!

Learn more

What is the Voting Rights Act?

Check out this article from NPR featuring Professor of Law, Atiba Ellis:

How the Voting Rights Act Came to Be and How It's Changed

The Suffrage Team

This conference would not have been possible without an interdisciplinary team effort of faculty, staff, and students from across the university. In addition to the Steering Committee Members below, assistance from Meghan Holland (Graduate Student of History, Marquette University) and Elizabeth Wawrzyniak (Digital Humanities Specialist, MU Raynor Memorial Libraries) must be recognized. It is with gratitude that we acknowledge each one of them.

meet the team

From left to right: Sarah Wadsworth, Jean Grow, Sarah Camp, Jennica Webster, Benjamin Linzy, Kali Murray, Andrea Schneider, Sasha Parsons Waters, Amber Wichowsky, Kristen Foster, Melissa Shew, Olivia Qualls, Damaris Zita 


  • Andrea Schneider Reflects on the Suffrage Conference
  • Sarah E. Reflects on the Suffrage Conference
  • Mimi Laflin Reflects on the Suffrage Conference
  • Sasha Parson Walters Reflects on the Suffrage Conference
  • Sarah Camp Reflects on the Suffrage Conference

Last year, we celebrated 100 years of women’s constitutional right to vote. Suffragists began their organized fight for women’s equality in 1848 when they demanded the right to vote during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. For the next 72 years, women leaders lobbied, marched, picketed, and protested for the right to the ballot.

Today, more than 68 million women vote in elections because of the courageous suffragists who never gave up the fight for equality.

Students, teachers, professionals, and women in general are invited to reflect on this conference and the accomplishments of women.

“Now all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly, and we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things.”

Alice Paul