Second planning meeting for the Scholar and Feminist III conference, 1975, page 1

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          From: Hester Eisenstein, Academic Coordinator
Subject: Next Academic Conference

Report on Planning Session 2, September 24, 1975

This meeting was devoted to further discussion of the tentative topic
of this year's conference, the interdisciplinary implications of femi-
nism. People agreed that we should avoid the danger of narrowing down
our topic prematurely. It was pointed out that (to summarize an ex-
tensive discussion) having established that there is such a thing as
feminist scholarship (The Scholar and The Feminist, 1974) and that
feminist scholarship calls for new criteria of relevance (The Scholar
and The Feminist II, 1975), we are now asking the question, what does
the new feminist research look like? It seems in many cases to cross
boundaries from one discipline to the next, or to combine several dis-
ciplines; is it interdisciplinary? multi? trans ...? And what do we
mean by these terms? Is it explicitly ideological /as opposed to
traditional scholarship, implicitly ideological but presenting itself
as value-free and objective)? Is it problem-centered? Does it con-
nect the life of the scholar to her work, rather than severing one
from the other?

It was remarked that feminists in different scholarly fields seem to
want to create overlapping models, so that they can look at the same
issue from different perspectives without talking entirely different
languages. Also, the crossing of boundaries by feminist scholars
takes different forms in different fields. Thus feminist scholars
doing literary criticism, for example, are impelled to make points
about social meaning——to ”transgress" across the usual disciplinary
lines. The point was made that inasmuch as feminism is not the only
source of interdisciplinary work, we should ask the question, what is
there inherent in feminism that leads to this particular form of

Some other questions were raised: does feminist scholarship cross
other boundaries-—not just between academic disciplines, but between
the academy and the non-academic world?; is truly interdisciplinary
work as conceived by feminists conceptually possible (and just very
hard work!) or not?; does feminist scholarship imply a concern with
change and process? It was agreed that we should not try to make
statements about feminist scholarship as established facts, but that
rather, the conference should address itself to these issues as
questions to be raised. A tentative title for the conference would
be: The Scholar and the Feminist III: Crossing Boundaries.

The outline of a possible format was suggested, as follows: in the
morning session, we would have two speakers, one raising the issue of
the interdisciplinary nature of feminist scholarship, and exploring
some of the reasons why interdisciplinary work—-the crossing of