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Martha Ackelsberg papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00371

Scope and Contents

The collection contains syllabi for various classes taught by Martha Ackelsberg in the Department of Government from 1972 to 1986. The collection also contains two articles written for journals and newspapers that were published during her time as a professor.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1972 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Martha Ackelsberg received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies in 1968 at Radcliffe College, going on to receive her Ph.D. from Princeton University in Politics in 1976. In 1972, Professor Ackelsberg joined the Smith Government Department where she has remained to the time of writing. She was appointed Five College 40th Anniversary Professor in 2006 and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in 2007 for her work at Smith and her occasional work at other universities including: Hampshire College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the School of Social Sciences of the University of Sussex, the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, the Institute for Research on Women at Columbia University, the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy at Rutgers University, and the interdisciplinary Human Security Seminar co-sponsored by CUNY Graduate Center and the National Center for Research on Women. During the 2010 - 2011 academic year, she served as resident director of PRESHCO (Programa de Estudios Hispanicos-Cordoba), where she now serves as campus co-coordinator.

In her biography, Professor Ackelsberg described the focus of her work as the nature and structure of political communities, and, in particular, patterns of power and participation within them. Her courses and research explore urban politics, political participation, feminist theory, and the role of wealth in the politics of the United States and Spain, which marginalizes women from political power. She has written several books on the subject including Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and Struggle for the Emancipation of Women and Resisting Citizenship: Feminist Essays on Politics, Community, and Democracy.

Outside of her academic work, Martha Ackelsberg has served on the Sustainable Northampton Steering Committee and the Community Advisory Committee for the Village Hill developments as an advisor on issues of housing affordability. She sings in Amandla, a community chorus based in Greenfield, Massachusetts.


4.354 linear feet (6 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection includes syllabi used by Martha Ackelsberg in her courses, articles written by her for publication, records of Smith committees Professor Ackelsberg served on.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Martha Ackelsberg, 1992 and 2014. Some materials may be from other sources.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.



Finding aid to the Martha Acklesberg papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White and Daniel Michelson; Ellice Amanna
2014, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2018-10-30: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
  • 2019-11-22: Added boxes, barcoded, updated finding aid

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063