Thoughts on "Women's Studies" at Barnard, 1971, page 6

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          diminished in number and popularity, but the more sophisticated study of the
subject and the scholarship attendant upon its popularity is a permanent
gain. History may not repeat itself, but historiography often does.

If we acknowledge that the purpose of a liberal arts curriculum is not
merely to provide pre—professional preparation to our students but also to
give them an appreciation of their cultural heritage, then we may draw the
conclusion that, in an institution where women are educated, it is our duty
to give them an awareness of their legacy as women. The nature of that legacy
is riddled with problems of sexual definition. Since positive answers cannot
be supplied, it is even more urgent to place the whole "woman question" with-
in a multiplicity of scholarly perspectives. In so doing, our students will
become aware, not only of the variety of roles women have played and of the
social and economic necessities which may have prompted them, but also of
the characteristic dilemmas they faced and the resources they called upon.

It is a cliché of the moment to parallel Women's Studies with Black
Studies. To be sure there are similarities, but there are also notable
differences, and it is important to distinguish between these. The genesis
of Black Studies, like the genesis of Women's Studies, may be traced to con-
temporary social movements. In each case a self-conscious constituency has
demanded intensified study of a little-known cultural heritage. On the other
hand, women cannot be defined as a minority or as a unique ethnic or racial
group, nor were they uniformly suppressed. Demands for courses centering on
blacks could in many instances be fulfilled only by a major in Afro-American
Studies. An institutional decision to establish a major was often needed as
a catalyst for the creation of such courses and the acquisition of trained
faculty.

At Barnard such a catalyst is not needed. In our college there has been

6.