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