Department of Women's Studies Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Keynote Speaker Russo Speaks on Feminism, Privilege, and the Politics of Accountability
ABOUT ANN RUSSO
Ann Russo is an antiracist feminist writer, educator, and activist who is currently the Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at DePaul University. Her research, teaching, and activism over the past 25 years has been embedded in the social movements organized to address the pervasive sexual, racial and homophobic harassment, abuse, and violence in women's lives. She is the author of Taking Back Our Lives: A Call to Action in the Feminist Movement (2001); co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality; and co-editor of Talking Back and Acting Out: Women Negotiating the Media Across Cultures and Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. As an activist, she has participated in local and national organizing efforts addressing discrimination and violence, including work with Women and Girls Collective Action Network, Rape Victim Advocates, the Young Women's Empowerment Project, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Beyond media's women and prison project, and Queer White Allies Against Racism, among others
"Generations of Women Moving History Forward":
History of the Department of Women's Studies
The first Women's Studies Task Force formed in 1973 to determine the need for a Women's Studies program at UMD. After several years of investigation, work on the minor began in earnest in 1979. The Women's Coordinating Commmittee, made up of Bilin Tsai, Mary Zimmerman, Marge Grevatt, Julie Westlund, Margaret Morris, and other women on campus, worked to create the Women's Studies program. Women's Studies related courses that were taught in psychology, sociology, English, and political science were combined to form the curriculum for the minor.
The first Women's Studies collegiate program began San Diego State in 1970. Today, over 700 WS women's studies programs in higher education institutions across the U.S offer minors, majors, and graduate degrees.
Women's studies grew out of the women's movement in the 1970s, when many committed professors and students began to address the sexism they saw in the academy by volunteering to organize courses, forums, and conferences.
Women's studies is a field of inquiry that grew from a concern about the way other academic fields ignored or distorted the concerns, histories, theories, experiences, and perspectives of women. Women's studies scholars, with many different points of interest and with many different methods of conducting research, seek to understand the causes, workings, and effects of power inequalities in societies past and present.
The field of women's studies, then, is closely aligned with the overall project of achieving equality for women in society. That commitment to social change makes women's studies scholarship feminist and links it to social movements across the world to end other forms of discrimination.
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— written by Cheryl Reitan
UMD Homepage 2007
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