History

Sewanee: The University of the South

Julie K. Berebitsky

Professor of History and Women's Studies and Chair, Women's Studies Program

B.A., University of California, Davis; M.A., George Washington University; Ph.D., Temple University

Julie K. Berebitsky

Julie K. Berebitsky, Professor of History and Director of the Women’s Studies Program, earned her B.A. at the University of California, Davis, her M.A. in Women's Studies at George Washington University and her Ph.D. in History at Temple University. She offers courses in United States history, specializing in women's history.

Professor Berebitsky can be reached at (931) 598-1725 or via email at jberebit@sewanee.edu.

book jacketShe has published 'Like' Our Very Own: Adoption and the Changing Culture of Motherhood, 1851-1950 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001) and contributed to a number of anthologies on adoption. Her work on popular representations of adoption received the Wise-Susman Prize of the American Studies Association. She also has served as a consultant for the Hopewell-Furnace National Historic Site and has worked as a researcher for The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press).

Professor Berebitsky’s new book, Sex and the Office: A History of Gender, Power and Desire (Yale University Press) is the first monograph to historicize our understanding of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sex and the Office explores how Americans’ attitudes toward sexuality and gender in the office have changed since the 1860s, when women first took jobs as clerks in the U.S. Treasury office. The book uses archival sources to unearth the actual experiences of female and male office workers and also explores how popular sources—including cartoons, advertisements, advice guides, and a wide array of fictional accounts—have represented wanted and unwelcome romantic and sexual advances. This range of evidence and the study’s long scope expose both notable transformations and startling continuities in the interplay of gender, power and desire at work over the last century and a half.  Professor Berebitsky has also published an article on this topic, “The Joy of Work: Helen Gurley Brown, Gender, and Sexuality in the White-Collar Office,” in the Journal of the History of Sexuality.

A review of Sex and the Office can be seen at Slate.

More expansive notes on Sex and the Office

Professor Berebitsky has published pieces on sexual harassment in Forbes, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Huffington Post.

You can hear Professor Berebitsky speak about sexual harassment on CounterSpin, the radio show of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). Professor Berebitsky's segment begins at 8:37.

Professor Berebitsky has been awarded an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Summer  Stipend Grant for a new scholarly project, "Republican Feminists: Between Party Loyalty and Women's Rights." Berebitsky will spend the summer 2013 at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Sewanee: The University of the South