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Women's studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics. It often includes feminist theory, women's history (eg history of women's suffrage) and social history, women's literature, women's health, and the feminist and gender studies-influenced practice of most of the humanities and social sciences.

History

"Women's studies" was first conceived as an academic rubric apart from other departments in the late 1960s, as the second wave of feminism gained political influence in the academy through student and faculty activism. As an academic discipline, it was modeled on the American studies and ethnic studies (such as Afro-American studies) and Chicano Studies programs that had arisen shortly before it. The first Women's Studies Program in the United States was established on May 21, 1970 at San Diego State College after a year of intense organizing (women's consciousness raising groups, rallies, petition circulating, and operating unofficial or experimental classes and presentations before seven committees and assemblies). Carol Rowell Council was the student co-founder along with Dr. Joyce Nower, a literature instructor. In the 1970s many universities and colleges created departments and programs in women's studies, and professorships became available in the field which did not require the sponsorship of other departments.

Controversy

Women's studies has caused a great deal of debate. Advocates argue that it helps bring to light issues that were otherwise missing in the university.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Critics charge that the courses tend towards misandry and indoctrination, while limiting space for dissenting opinions.[How to reference and link to summary or text] It is also sometimes regarded as a quasi-intellectual field of study by academics involved in traditional disciplines, men and women alike.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Specific criticisms focus around the work done in the field which critics allege is unscholarly and the peculiarities of many of the specific professors (See Mary Daly and Catharine MacKinnon).[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Related fields include gender studies, gender and sexuality studies, men's studies, and queer studies.

Current courses in women's studies

Women's studies courses are available at many universities and colleges around the world. In 2006, the Artemis Guide to Women's Studies[1] provides a listing of 395 programs in the United States, but may be out of date. Courses in the United Kingdom can be found through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service[2].

Further reading

  • Florence Howe (ed), Mari Jo Buhle (introduction), The Politics of Women's Studies: Testimony from Thirty Founding Mothers, Paperback edition, New York: Feminist Press 2001
  • Gabriele Griffin and Rosi Braidotti (eds.), Thinking differently : a reader in European women's studies, London etc. : Zed Books, 2002
  • Ellen Messer-Davidow: Disciplining feminism : from social activism to academic discourse, Durham, NC etc. : Duke University Press, 2002

See also

References

  1. Artemis Guide to Women's Studies in the U.S.
  2. Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, United Kingdom

External links

de:Frauenforschung

fa:مطالعات زنانnl:Vrouwenstudies zh:婦女研究

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