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Visiting Lecturer on Women's Studies and American Religious History and WSRP Research Associate
Amanda Izzo comes to the Women's Studies in Religion Program from a position as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Department of the College of New Jersey. She received her PhD from Yale University's American Studies Program, following an undergraduate education at Smith College. While at Yale, Amanda was the recipient of an Andrew Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities along with a Women, Religion, and Globalization Initiative research fellowship. She has maintained an ongoing involvement with the world of women's history archives, serving as a manuscripts processor at Smith College's Sophia Smith Collection. There her work arranging and cataloging archival materials can be seen in a range of collections, including the papers of Gloria Steinem, Helen Gurley Brown, the YWCA of the U.S.A., the Women's Africa Committee, and the Pan-Pacific and South-East Asia Women's Association. Her research interests encompass U.S. women's history, twentieth-century religious life, cultural studies, and transnational social movements. In-progress writings examine queer dimensions of U.S. women's religious history and inquire into the incorporation of the feminist movement into popular culture.
Over her time as a WSRP Research Associate, Amanda will complete her current book project, titled "The Commandment of Love: Liberal Christianity and Global Activism in the Young Women's Christian Association and the Maryknoll Sisters, 1907-80." Through extensive archival research and oral histories, the project follows global campaigns for social action launched by two influential women's organizations: the Protestant YWCA and the Catholic Maryknoll Sisters. Tracing connections between the turn-of-the-century foreign mission enthusiasm and left-wing liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, "The Commandment of Love" highlights the manner in which several generations of women crafted an evolving body of Christian ethics and institutional structures in the pursuit of fellowship across divisions of nation, race, and social class. Such religious and organizational endeavors left an imprint on a wide range of efforts for social change, from the U.S. labor and civil rights movements to Cold War anticommunism and Latin American solidarity struggles. With its internationalist framework and attention to the gendered nature of these groups' outreach campaigns, "The Commandment of Love" seeks to establish new conversations among scholars working in transnational history, feminist theology, and U.S. religious studies.
Watch Amanda discuss her work on liberal Christianity and global activism: