2022 Hoosier Women at (Work) Play History Conference


After polling past Hoosier Women at Work conference attendees, it has become clear that respondents prefer an online conference this year.

So the 2022 Hoosier Women at Play Conference will be a free week-long series of lunch hour talks via Zoom. Please submit your paper and session proposals as you would for an in-person conference. See below to learn how to submit.

Date and Time

Monday, April 18 – Friday, April 22, 2022




If you registered for the in-person conference we had originally planned via Eventbrite, you will be refunded ASAP. If you have any questions about your refund email  JRDinus@dnr.IN.gov.

Registration information for the virtual conference will be coming soon. These virtual events will be free.

About Hoosier Women at Work Play

Join us for the fifth Hoosier Women at Work History Conference, during the week of April 18, 2022. Only for this symposium, we’re throwing out the “work” altogether!

Historical discussion and analysis of women’s play is as necessary as the study of their work. Women’s activities have been undervalued throughout history by patriarchal economic, political, and social systems. Women’s play, pleasure, and creativity have even been treated as dangerous and devious, challenging demands that women’s worth was defined only through their roles as wives and mothers or later as (still undervalued) workers in the capitalist marketplace.

This conference challenges presenters to explore women’s play and what it means for individual and collective happiness, health, liberation, and value.

The “play” theme is broadly defined and can include examinations of Hoosier women’s sports, leisure, recreation, arts, outings, social and recreational organizations, and sexual play, as well as women’s rejection of traditional work or roles. We encourage topics related to women of color, immigrants, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and women with disabilities.

Call for Papers

Please consider contributing your scholarship and ideas about Indiana women’s historical play. For well-developed projects, this could be in the form of a paper presentation or a panel discussion. For projects in the initial phases or that need additional feedback, consider taking part in a lightning round panel. Academic, student, and citizen historians are encouraged to participate. Papers should be approximately ten pages and based on original research or a synthesis of scholarship. Summaries of panel discussions and lightning round presentation proposals are welcome as well. PowerPoint or other visual aids are encouraged. Cash prizes will be awarded for best graduate student paper(s).

To submit an individual proposal, send a one-page explanation of your paper and a short biography (about 150 words). Panel proposals should include a one-page description of the panel which specifies the topic that each participant will discuss and a short biography for each participant. The deadline for submitting paper and/or session proposals is Sunday, March 13, 2022. Please e-mail your proposal to Indiana Historical Bureau historian Nicole Poletika (npoletika@library.IN.gov).

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Tony Jean Dickerson

Dr. Dickerson

Dr. Dickerson was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has earned degrees from Lincoln University (B.S. in Special Education and Elementary Ed.), University of Central Missouri (Master of Education), and University of Missouri-Kansas City (Education Specialist in Administration). In 2019, after a successful thirty-year career in education, she earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Kansas University. She currently works at the Kindezi Academy School #69, having returned to Indianapolis in 2017. Dr. Dickerson has gained national recognition for her ability to fuse art, African American history, and community activism through quilting. She has shown her quilts in fifteen exhibitions since 2017, including shows at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (Topeka, Kansas), the Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama), and the Center for Black Literature and Culture at Central Library (Indianapolis, Indiana).

For her Hoosier Women at Play keynote address, Dr. Dickerson will speak on the significance of quilting in Black history throughout the African Diaspora and on her motivations and experience in founding the Central Indiana Akoma Ntsoso Modern Quilt Guild, which she serves as president. She will also address the importance of this art, traditionally upheld and passed on by women, in linking the younger generations to the past and, from the Akan (West Africa) name Akoma Ntoso, linking “hearts and understanding.”

Dr. Michella Marino

Marino Headshot

Dr. Marino grew up in Shelby County, Indiana, and graduated from Morristown High School.  She earned a B.A. in History from Hanover College, a M.A. in History from the University of Louisville, and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  A lifelong basketball player, she began playing roller derby while in grad school. She taught at a small liberal arts college in Nebraska before returning to her home state to work for the Indiana Historical Bureau division of the Indiana State Library. As Deputy Director, she oversees IHB’s public history programming. She resides in the Butler Tarkington neighborhood of Indianapolis with her 7-year-old son, husband (a history teacher at Shortridge), and super ornery dog.

For her Hoosier Women at Play keynote address, Dr. Marino will be presenting her personal experience as well as the extensive research she conducted for her new book Roller Derby: The History of An American Sport (published in October 2021, University of Texas Press). She will speak to the unique gender relations and politics of roller derby, which historically centered women athletes, while struggling to be accepted as a mainstream sport. Dr. Marino will shine a feminist light on how participants used roller derby to navigate the male-dominated world of sports along with their identities as athletes, mothers, and women at play.

Making Women’s History

Why Indiana Women’s History?
. . . because, with few exceptions, women have been consistently left out of the story of the Hoosier state. On paper, historians agree that including the histories of women and other marginalized groups provides a more complete understanding of the events that shape our communities, state, and world. However, in practice, very few historians are researching, publishing, or posting on women’s history. Having identified a dearth of resources on Indiana women’s history, organizers from various institutions, both public and private, came together to create this annual conference. Hoosier Women at Work aims to energize the discussion of Indiana women’s history and make the papers, presentations, and other resources resulting from the conference available to all Hoosiers.