“Women On Wednesdays”: U.S. First Ladies

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“Women On Wednesdays”: U.S. First Ladies

By au_wpi

As part of our “Women on Wednesdays” series, please join American University's Women & Politics Institute and the First Ladies Initiative for a virtual conversation with Dr. Diana Carlin, Professor Emerita at Saint Louis University, and AU First Ladies Initiative Director Anita McBride, co-authors of the new textbook, U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies. WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin will facilitate the conversation.

The first ever textbook on first ladies explores the development and evolution of her role, with profiles from Martha Washington to Dr. Jill Biden. By highlighting their initiatives, substantive contributions, and lasting legacies, U.S. First Ladies examines how “first ladies are uniquely positioned to influence American society, public policy, politics, diplomacy, and life in the White House.” Order the book here.

Co-sponsored by the First Ladies Association for Research and Education.

Anita B. McBride is executive-in-residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. She directs programming and national conferences on the legacies of America’s first ladies (the First Ladies Initiative) and their historical influence on politics, policy, and global diplomacy.
McBride's White House service spans two decades and three presidential administrations including as assistant to President George W. Bush and chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009. McBride is on the board of the White House Historical Association and is an advisor to George W. Bush Institute and several global non-profit organizations. She is a founding member of FLARE and is a co-author of U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies.

Diana Carlin is professor emerita of communication at Saint Louis University and a retired faculty member and administrator at the University of Kansas. Her research and teaching are in political communication with an emphasis on women in politics, political debates, and presidential rhetoric. As an adjunct faculty member of American University’s Women & Politics Institute, she teaches a course on America’s First Ladies. She has published book chapters on first ladies Martha Washington, Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama and is co-author of U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies. Carlin was a panelist at the 2021 White House Historical Association Symposium and the 2020 Colloquium. She is a founding member of FLARE–First Ladies Association for Research and Education and serves as FLARE’s treasurer.

Betsy Fischer Martin is an Emmy-winning journalist and former TV news executive. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University and a faculty member in the School of Public Affairs, where she teaches courses on campaigns and elections. During her earlier career in television news, she spent 23 years at NBC News serving as the longtime Executive Producer of Meet the Press with Tim Russert and as the Managing Editor of NBC News Political Programming.
A native of New Orleans, Fischer Martin did her undergraduate and graduate work at American University in Washington, DC. She is a cum laude graduate of their School of Public Affairs and earned a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the AU School of Communication.

The mission of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education is to create and sustain a network to promote and publicize research and education about the contributions, lives, impact, and lasting legacy of U.S. First Ladies.

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