The College of Charleston’s Women and Gender Studies Program is partnering with the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Waring Historical Library and Humanities Committee to host the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (NLM/NIH) traveling exhibit, “Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” from August 26 to October 2, 2012 in the MUSC Colbert Education Center and Library.

As part of this exhibit, MUSC and the College of Charleston’s Women and Gender Studies Program will host a panel discussion on Wednesday, September 27, 2012 at noon in the Colbert Education Center and Library, room 109 on the campus of MUSC. This event is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided for the first 30 attendees courtesy of the College of Charleston’s Women and Gender Studies Department.

This panel discussion “Post-partum depression in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Today: Three Perspectives” will be moderated by MUSC Humanities Committee member and College of Charleston assistant professor Kathleen Béres-Rogers. Panelists include Dr. Connie Guille, assistant professor in the MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Sarah Clere, visiting assistant professor in the Department of English at The Citadel, and Ms. Holly Fisher, representing the Ruth Rhoden Craven Foundation for Postpartum Depression Awareness. This diversity of perspectives will take us from a short story (with its narrative and gendered components) to the modern-day clinical view of postpartum depression and, finally, the reality of dealing with this all-too-common occurrence.

In the late 19th century, women were challenging traditional ideas about gender that excluded them from political and intellectual life while medical and scientific experts drew on notions of female weakness to justify inequality between the sexes. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled, “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

“This exhibit offers us opportunities not only to learn about gender inequalities of the late 19th century, but also to reexamine current notions of health and health care that may contribute to disparities and inequalities for various populations,” said Lisa Kerr, Ph.D., associate professor and MUSC Humanities Committee member. “The humanities make these conversations engaging and accessible; they invite us to see the world we think we know so well in a new light.”

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Waring Historical Library and MUSC Humanities Committee will host an opening reception featuring the exhibit, “The Yellow Wallpaper” ;a meeting of the MUSC Humanities Committee Book Club; a panel discussion about post-partum depression from both clinical, literary, and personal perspectives; and a closing reception featuring a lecture by a noted Gilman scholar, Jane Thrailkill, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill associate professor in English and Comparative Literature. The schedule is as follows:

  • 8-26 to 10-2: Exhibit on display in Colbert Education Center and Library lobby
  • 8-26, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Opening Reception in Colbert Education Center and Library lobby
  • 9-12, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.: MUSC Humanities Book Club meeting in Colbert Education Center and Library, Room 109
  • 9-27, Noon: Post-Partum Panel Discussion- “Post-Partum Depression in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Today: Three Perspectives” Colbert Education Center and Library, Room 109
  • 10-4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Closing lecture and reception- Basic Sciences Building auditorium with reception to follow in Colbert Education Center and Library Lobby

These events are a partnership of the MUSC’s Waring Historical Library, Women Scholars Initiative, and Humanities Committee and the College of Charleston’s Women and Gender Studies Program. Additional funding is provided by The Humanities CouncilSC.

For more detailed information about these events, please call 843.792.2288 or visit: or