Minutes of the second planning meeting for Scholar and Feminist 1980, 1979

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October 1, 1979 TO: The Scholar and the Feminist Planning Comittee

FROM: Amy Swerdlow and Christina Greene SUBJECT: Minutes of Planning Comittee Meeting, September 25, 1979

Amy Swerdlow opened the meeting by suggesting that members of the committee share their thoughts about "power" as a theme for the conference. Those attending the Second Sex Conference were asked to note the issues raised

by the conference that need further consideration. The Scholar and Feminist Conference date was set for Saturday, April 12, 1980.

Philippa Strum presented a written outline of some of her thoughts and questions on power, as well as ideas for format which served as a starting point for the discussion.

While reiterating the connection between theme and format, it was agreed that thorough discussion of format be postponed until after a theme is chosen.

The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing and sharpening our ideas on the theme of power. The discussion centered on the following issues:

1) Feminist definitions and theories of power:

Dichotomy between female/male definitions of power

Language of power

Male rhetoric of power

How the power to name perpetuates and institutionalizes power Acknowledged and unacknowledged power

Uses and abuses of power — elitism and authoritarianism

Female ambivalence and fear of power w Does power necessarily corrupt? Power and non-verbal communication

Marxist perspectives on women, power and social change

Power of myth - matriarchy (as fantasy or historical phenomenon) Utopian visions of female power

Power as control, power as enabling

Power as collaborative, encompassing new modes of authority and leadership Power as interaction between equals

Sources of power - Who gives it? How does one get it?

2) Female/Male relations to power:

Power and sexuality

Power of female body - strengths, weaknesses, pregnancy, motherhood Power and the family

Fear of female power

Love and power

Power of female creativity — (the power of art)

Power and violence against women m pornography, rape, battering

3) Power and politics in the women's movement:

Uses and abuses of power in the women's movement - elitism, hierarchical relations

Power of women in the academy

Power of women's studies and its revolutionary potential

How to achieve power in the 1980's - tactics and strategies, including coalitions with other groups and movements

-2 Women in politics and in the corporate structure

The issue of creating greater student involvement in the conference was discussed. Suggestions ranged from including a student paper, a student- run workshop or establishing course credit (through the Experimental College or women's studies) for student participation on the planning committee. However, it was pointed out that students should not be "ghettoized" but rather included in all aspects of the conference.

By the end of the meeting, the comittee agreed that this year's theme would most likely deal with some aspect(s) of power; however, a greater focus and refinement of the theme is still needed. Jane Gould reminded the comittee that past experience makes it necessary to decide upon topics and speakers by Thanksgiving.

The next meeting will be Thursday, October 11 at 4:00 pm in the Women's Center, 100 Barnard Hall.


Alice H. Amsden, Roberta Bernstein, Lila Braine, Julie Doron, Hester Eisenstein, Jane Gould, Christina Greene, Irene Finel—Honigman, Elaine Hughes, Janie Kritzman, Diane Levitt, Cynthia Novack, Lisa Parrish, Ellen Pollack, Sue Sacks, Ellen S. Silber, Maxine Silverman, Philippa Strum, Amy Swerdlow