Aerial photo of campus, Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz.

Slugs & Steins

Slugs & Steins: Lectures from UC Santa Cruz is a monthly series comprised of informal discussions highlighting UC Santa Cruz’s many amazing faculty members. Talks are held on the 2nd Monday of each month with topics ranging from organic artichokes to endangered zebras, self-driving cars to Shakespeare. All are welcome, and audience participation is encouraged. We encourage you to share the link far and wide as slugs and friends from around the world may join us.

Slugs & Steins Lectures from UC Santa Cruz

February 2024

Why We Call House Members “Congressman/woman,” and Why We Shouldn’t

Professor Daniel Wirls
Monday, February 12
6:30pm to 8:00pm 

How did we come to use and accept “congressman”, and later, “congresswoman” instead of “representative” as the nearly default designation for members of the House, while at the same time referring to senators exclusively by that title? And despite it being inherently inaccurate and unnecessarily binary, this convention for members of the House has gone unchallenged, even as gender-neutral language advances and even as the House of Representatives has considered such things as adding more gender-neutral bathrooms. This work traces, for the first time, the history of “congressman” (and “congresswoman”) as a linguistic meme popularized by the coverage of elections in nineteenth century newspapers. I draw on that history to argue that the House, press, and public should drop these gendered, civically confusing, and politically inappropriate honorifics in favor of the one specified in the Constitution. “Representative” is not just politically correct, it’s constitutional.

UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus

Kraw Lecture Series on science and technology

The Kraw Lecture Series in Silicon Valley is made possible by a generous gift from UC Santa Cruz alumnus George Kraw (Cowell ‘71, history and Russian literature) and Raphael Shannon Kraw. The lecture series features acclaimed UC Santa Cruz scientists and technologists who are grappling with some of the biggest questions of our time.

These talks are free and open to the public and available via live stream.

Sammy sitting at a picnic table on a laptop

Past Slugs & Steins lectures

Watch videos from our monthly talks highlighting UC Santa Cruz’s many amazing faculty members.