On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker

March 18, 2024

Virtual Book Talk with A’Lelia Bundles, author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, a New York Times Notable Book about her entrepreneurial great-great-grandmother and the nonfiction inspiration for Self Made, the fictional Netflix series starring Octavia Spencer.

The Great Stewardess Rebellion

35th Annual Hoffman Lecture in Sociology and Social Policy

February 13, 2024.

Masih Alinejad: Women-led Revolutions

March 20th, 2023

Reproductive Rights in Post-Roe America

Monday, September 12


A virtual panel discussion with experts and practitioners on the reality of a post-Roe world.


Panelists: Maya Bass MD, MA FAAFP, Chelly Hegan, Stacey Lee, JD

The Social, Legal and Ethical Implications of Senate Bill 8

Expert panel examining Senate Bill 8 (Texas Abortion Law), its potential effects and what is to come.


Rajani Bhatia, Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany

Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Director for the Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch

Claire Horner, Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and a Clinical Ethicist at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

For Further Study



Global Peace: The European Way?

September 20, 2021

The Hoffman Lecture in Sociology & Social Policy, presented by Federiga Bindi, Ph.D. and the Women’s Institute’s inaugural Affiliate Scholar

Prof. Federiga Bindi is the Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in Washington DC, where she leads a research network on Women’s Leadership and one on Internationalization of Higher Education.

Prof. Bindi holds a Ph.D. for the European University Institute and has published eight books including Europe and America: The End of Transatlantic Relations? (2019); The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Europe’s Role in the World (2010 & 2012); The Frontiers of Europe: A Transatlantic Problem? (2011); Italy and the EU (2011), and Analyzing European Union Politics (2012). She is currently working on a book on Women’s Leadership.

Prof. Bindi has been a fellow at prestigious academic institutions such as the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sciences Po Paris, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the University of Lisbon, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

The Hoffman Lecture in Sociology & Social  Policy has been endowed by a gift from Linda  Rosenfield Hoffman, RSC ’62. It is co-sponsored  by the Sociology Program, The Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College and M&T Bank.

The Pandemic and Social Equity: a Multidisciplinary Perspective

April 15, 2021

The Pandemic and Social Equity: a Multidisciplinary Perspective featured an expert on health disparities, a feminist economist who studies “unpaid care,” a specialist on domestic violence, and a Superintendent from the NYC schools on equity issues in education raised by the pandemic.


Lórien Castelle
Director of Prevention, NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Mauriciere Degovia
Executive Superintendent of Queens South NYCDOE

Nancy Folbre
Feminist Economist and Professor Emerita at UMass Amherst

Lynn Warner
Dean, School of Social Welfare, UAlbany


Dorcey Applyrs
Chief City Auditor, Albany, NY

You Can’t Spell Truth Without Ruth!

March 1, 2021

A fireside chat featuring Shana Knizhnik and Irin Carmon, co-authors of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Knizhnik, the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation, and Carmon, an award-winning journalist, take us behind the myth for an intimate look at the justice’s life and work, and the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights.

Shana Knizhnik recommended reading

Raising the Bar: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project by Amy Leigh Campbell

Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Until We Reckon by Danielle Sered

Irin Carmon recommended reading

The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott

Reasoning from Race by Serena Mayeri

Equal by Fred Strebeigh

Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women by Brittney Cooper

Women’s Political Past, Present and Future: A Symposium on the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

The Symposium on the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage consisted of five events ranging from August 26 through October 20, 2020. The Centennial offered an opportunity to re-examine gender equity through the lenses of the present moment, with a renewed emphasis on racial justice invigorating our national conversation.

Sessions looked at opportunities and obstacles to women in politics, including the ultimate glass ceiling of the presidency; the role of black women in securing the vote throughout American history; the role of indigenous peoples in influencing the Women’s Suffrage movement; and contemporary struggles over voter suppression and voting rights.

The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Women’s Suffrage

October 20, 2020

The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Women’s Suffrage featured Sally Roesch Wagner, author of Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists, which documents the surprisingly unrecognized authority of the Native women who inspired the suffrage movement; joined by Michelle Schenandoah, a member of the Oneida Indian Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and founder of Rematriation Magazine.


A Clan Mother’s Call: Reconstructing Haudenosaunee Cultural Memory (SUNY series in Critical Haudenosaunee Studies)

Blume, A. (2020). A New Psychology Based on Community, Equality, and Care of the Earth: An Indigenous American Perspective. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger

Morse, G. & Lomay, V. (2020). Understanding Indigenous Perspectives: Visions, Dreams, and Hallucinations. San Diego, CA: Cognella.



Without a Whisper (2020)


An in-depth talk about the Haudenosaunee worldview and influence on women’s suffrage: nysm.nysed.gov/programs/

A great cultural reference from the Central Fire of the Haudenosaunee: onondaganation.org


Vanguard: How Black Women Have Always Led on Voting Rights

October 8, 2020

Vanguard: How Black Women Have Always Led on Voting Rights, a lecture by Martha S. Jones, the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. Jones is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy.

For Further Study



Women, Politics and Activism

September 24, 2020

Co-sponsored with the Emma Willard School

Keynote address by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, followed by a panel discussion with prominent women politicians and activists. (No references for further study.)

Contemporary Struggles in Voting Rights

September 17, 2020

Contemporary Struggles in Voting Rights examined the issues with access to voting that persist 100 years after the 19th Amendment. Panel featured Nancy Abudu, Deputy Legal Director, Voting Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center; Nancy L. Thomas, Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and Perry Grossman, Senior Staff Attorney in the Voting Rights Project at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Gender and Politics

August 26, 2020

Gender and Politics began with an independent film that chronicled ten thousand people visiting Susan B. Anthony’s grave on Election Day 2016, many voting for the first time for a woman for president. The session looked at where we are four years later: how race and gender bias influence political perceptions; and how generational difference affects political behavior. Panel featured filmmaker Linda Moroney, Samantha Hall-Saladino, Executive Director of the Fulton County Historical Society, RSC ‘09, and Melissa Deckman, author of the textbook Women and Politics.


A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage by Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder

Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Activists, and the Changing Face of the American Right by Melissa Deckman

Women and Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence by Julie Dolan, Melissa Deckman and Michele L. Swers