About Jocelyn Olcott

Jocelyn Olcott is the Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies and Professor of History and International Comparative Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Revolutionary Women in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Duke University Press, 2005) and the co-editor of Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico (Duke University Press, 2006), which appeared in translation as Género, poder y politico en el México posrevolucionario (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2009). She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles, including in Gender & History, Journal of Women’s History, and Hispanic American Historical Review.

Co-winner of the 2020 Ida Blom-Karen Offen Prize in Transnational Women’s and Gender History, awarded by the International Federation for Research in Women’s History.

Honorable Mention for the 2018 Bryce Wood Book Award, awarded by the Latin American Studies Association to an outstanding book in humanities and social sciences published in English

Amid the geopolitical and social turmoil of the 1970s, the United Nations declared 1975 as International Women’s Year. The capstone event, a two-week conference in Mexico City, was dubbed by organizers and journalists as “the greatest consciousness-raising event in history.” The event drew an all-star cm the first book to examine this critical moment in feminist history, starts by exploring how organizers juggled geopolitical rivalries and material constraints amid global political and economic instability. The story then dives into the action in Mexico City, including conflicts over issues ranging from abortion to Zionism. The United Nations provided indispensable infrastructure and support for this encounter, even as it came under fire for its own discriminatory practices. While participants expressed dismay at levels of discord and conflict, Jocelyn Olcott explores how these combative, unanticipated encounters generated the most enduring legacies, including women’s networks across the global south, greater attention to the intersectionalities of marginalization, and the arrival of women’s micro-credit on the development scene.
Jocelyn Olcott’s terrific account of the International Women’s Year conference in Mexico City makes readers feel like they are right in the thick of a key moment in feminist history. Deeply researched and told in compelling detail, Olcott’s narrative shows how the interactions and dialogue forged in Mexico City laid the basis for the next several decades of global feminist activism.
Susan Ware, General Editor American National Biography
No issues more clearly defined the 1970s than the changing status of women and the global struggle for economic justice and national liberation.  These two collided at the 1975 International Women’s Year conference in Mexico City, producing a spectacular display of both solidarity and conflict.  Jocelyn Olcott provides the definitive history of this definitive transnational event.
Tim Borstelmann, author of The 1970s
Through Jocelyn Olcott’s prodigious research and vivid narrative, a two-week conference in Mexico City in 1975 becomes a lens for viewing the history of transnational organizing among women in the late twentieth century. Historians and activists alike have much to learn from the tumultuous events that paved the way for so much that followed.
Leila J. Rupp, author of Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement
Few conferences grip the popular memory. But whether you agree or disagree with Jocelyn Olcott’s account of the 1975 International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico City, you will be talking about it for decades to come.
Temma Kaplan, author Taking Back the Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy

Events and Media

August 30th, 2017
at 7:00pm
June 19th, 2017
June 19th, 2017
February 2nd, 2017
at 3:30pm


Jocelyn Olcott
Department of History – Duke University
Box 90179 – Durham, NC 27708
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