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Grant number: FT-229566-15

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Leandra Zarnow
University of Houston (Houston, TX 77204-0001)

Bella Abzug and the Promise and Peril of the American Left (1920-1998)

Summer research and writing on Gender Studies, U.S. and Women's History.

This study evaluates the political life of Representative Bella Abzug, who embodied the nation's ingenuity and discontent as it faced tensions brought on by the Vietnam War, globalization, and the contested visions of a more diverse populace. Although Abzug's congressional career was short (1971-76), she helped forward a substantial and undervalued policy reform wave led by New Politics Democrats that effectively made U.S. democracy more open, responsive, and accountable. Abzug's early student activism, political lawyering, and peace strategist work deeply influenced her leadership style and legislative focus in Congress. More than "women's issues," her broad policy program extended the reach of the law in human rights, privacy, urban renewal, environmentalism, consumer protection, foreign affairs, and executive oversight. Reassessing 1970s policy and its roots, study of Abzug reorients focus around Watergate by recasting this period as one not solely of rising conservatism.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; U.S. History; Women's History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015