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No Women, No Canal

  • An image from 1912, during the construction of the Gatun Lock.
    An image from 1912, during the construction of the Gatun Lock.
  • The Gatun lock in operation.
    The Gatun lock in operation.
March 21, 2013
In March 21 talk, Ruth Shoge will share her research on how Caribbean women supported the construction of the Panama Canal.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—On Thursday, March 21, the Black Studies Program and Friends of Miller Library present “No Women, No Canal: Reconstructing the Lives of West Indian Women in the Building of the Panama Canal,” a lecture by Dr. Ruth Shoge. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room in Miller Library. Light refreshments will be served.

Shoge’s lecture will be based on research she conducted during a July 2011 sabbatical in Panama. A direct descendant of the women whose lives she studied, Shoge concentrated on the lives of West Indian women in Panama during the construction of the Canal.  “The story of the contribution of Caribbean women during the building of the Panama Canal is largely neglected in the well- documented history one of the greatest event in engineering history,” she says. “My research seeks to uncover and tell a coherent and balanced story of the lives and work of West Indian women in Panama from 1904 to 1920.”

Dr. Shoge is an Associate Professor and College Librarian at WC. A graduate of Howard University and the Columbia University School of Library Service, she received a 2013 President’s Distinguished Service Award for her service to Washington College. She is currently working on an article, “Caribbean Women in the building of the Panama Canal: Binary Oppositions in the Historical Writings,” and a multimedia project that will combine historical documents with video footage of interviews she conducted with 11 women and two men who shared Panama Canal stories their parents had passed on to them.” 

Last modified on Mar. 13th, 2013 at 12:26pm by .