Counternarratives and “Copy Cats”: Alma Whitaker, Newspaper Women and Place Making in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
A Talk by Julie Cohen, PhD
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2021
Time: 12-1 pm
As part of a larger project on women journalists in US Western cities in the early twentieth century, Julie Cohen will discuss writer Alma Whitaker—feminist, reporter, and columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 1910 to 1944. Widely known in her time but almost totally forgotten today, Whitaker employed wit, satire, and sarcasm to advance a strong feminist perspective with an emphasis on economic independence for women. Like so many “copy cats” in the region, her message both bolstered the white settler campaign to create Los Angeles as a “white spot” and challenged patriarchal norms. Situating Whitaker within the emergence of the mass-circulating urban newspaper industry, Cohen will analyze Whitaker’s prolific writings and the way in which they promoted and re-defined notions of women’s selfhood in the “frontier” space of Los Angeles.
Julie Cohen is a Research Affiliate at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women and a lecturer in the Department of History at Cal State Los Angeles.