The Scholar and the Feminist IV press release, 1977

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THE SCHOLAR AND THE FEMINIST IV

The academic conference of the Barnard College Women's Center will be held this year on Saturday, April 23, 1977. It is the fourth in a series examining the impact of feminism on traditional modes of scholarship. This year's conference, The Scholar and The Feminist IV: Connecting Theory, Practice and Values, focuses on a set of questions now attracting the attention of feminist scholars in many disciplines: Why do the results of traditional scholarship so consistently support/justify the social status quo? To what extent do scholars consciously or unconciously share the assumptions and values of the larger community and how do these assumptions determine the concepts, data, and theories with which they work? In particular, what are the social proces- ses-vthe day-to—day practices -by which scholarly knowledge is defined, crea-

ted, and disseminated? How do these practices exclude a feminist perspective?

In the morning session, two papers will be presented. Diana Long Hall, an historian of science at the Radcliffe Institute, will give a case study of the way knowledge in a new field, sex endocrinology, develops in the context of implicit assumptions about science and about the nature and roles of women and men. She will point to some of the ways in which social and political forces affected the theoretical frameworks with which scientists Worked. Mary Payer, a social philosopher at Columbia University, will provide an analysis of the broader social and theoretical implications of the specific day-to-day scien- tific and scholarly practices discussed by Hall. Through an analysis of such concepts as "science," "knowledge," and "interest," Payer will clarify the ways in which fundamental assumptions can bias the entire enterprise of schol-

arship. The implications of both papers for feminist scholarship will be dis-

cussed by Elizabeth Minnich, Lecturer in Philosophy and Assistant to the

President at Barnard College.

Various aspects of the relationship between scholarship and its socio-politi- cal context will be considered in afternoon workshops. Topics will include patriarchy as paradigm in the social sciences, feminist scholars outside the

academy, medical research and the women's health movement, and others.

Attendance at the conference will be pre—registered. For further information,

please contact the Women's Center, Barnard College, New York, N.Y. 10027,

(212) 280-2067. Academic coordinator: Mary Brown Parlee.

January, 1977