ERIC Number: ED453121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Women's Studies Faculty: Claiming Feminist Scholarship in a State University System.
Burghardt, Deborah A.; Colbeck, Carol L.
Today, although over 700 Women's Studies (WS) programs in the United States diversify the curriculum and cross disciplinary boundaries, WS units at many research universities have failed to become centers for the production of interdisciplinary feminist knowledge. This study posed the following question: How do institutional, collegial, and individual values influence WS faculty decisions about whether and how to pursue feminist interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service when they are located in a disciplinary department and associated voluntarily with a WS program? The faculty sample included 20 women in 9 disciplines at 4 comprehensive universities in a state system with established WS programs who had either taught WS cross-listed courses or intended to in the future. Data consisted of long, semi-structured interviews and analysis of each faculty member's latest curriculum vitae. A key theme emerged: the variation in degree of commitment to social activism. Participants emerged as either interdisciplinary scholars (IDS) or disciplinary scholars (DS). Each group had distinctive approaches to their scholarly lives and approached their feminist work with differing intensities. Both groups were able to commission feminist knowledge through the courses they taught, the research they chose, and the dissemination outlets they selected. Both IDS and DS reported a low level of intellectual community in their disciplinary departments. Many IDS, however, found both intellectual community and friendship networks within the WS program or with feminist colleagues outside their departments. Many DS qualified their relationship to WS--that qualification was coupled with less involvement with WS in general. The four university sites in this study were assigned program, rather than departmental status, which placed these feminist projects at the margins of their institutions. Contains 38 references. Appended are the original conceptual framework, IDS and DS conceptual frameworks, and 2 tables. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A