Rutenberg to deliver LAS Distinguished Dean’s Lecture

CATEGORIES: News, Research

Amy J. Rutenberg, associate professor of history, LAS equity advisor and social studies education program coordinator for the Department of History was selected by Dean Beate Schmittmann to deliver the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Dean’s Lecture on Nov. 9 at 8:00 p.m. in the Great Hall, Memorial Union. The lecture, “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women, Men and the Meaning of American Selective Service,” will also be available virtually as a livestream and recording.

In the United States, almost all male U.S. citizens and male immigrants, ages 18 through 25, are required to register with the Selective Service System. The Military Selective Service Act, which requires “male persons” to register, does not include an authorization for women to register. Congress would have to amend the law to require women to register with Selective Service.

A bill that includes authorization for women to register with the Selective Service System was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, in October 2021. If the bill, as it is currently written, were to pass through both chambers and is signed by President Joe Biden, it will become a law.

Why is the question of whether women, like men, should register with Selective Service controversial? Rutenberg will discuss the current push for women to register in the context of the different meanings Americans have attributed to military service and the draft over time.

Rutenberg is the author of “Rough Draft: Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance.” She is currently writing a book about peace activism and military service between the 1970s and the 1990s.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Conversation. She is a trustee of the Society for Military History and the K-12 editor of She received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, her master’s degree from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

The LAS Dean’s Lecture highlights faculty excellence in learning, discovery and engagement. Each semester, the dean invites LAS faculty of distinction to present lectures from their own areas of expertise on topics of interest to the general public, designed to stimulate high-quality, intellectual discussion among faculty, staff, students and community members.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A Q&A session with Rutenberg will follow the lecture.

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