Directory of Women's Studies Programs & Library Resources

Directory of Women's Studies Programs & Library Resources

Directory of Women's Studies Programs & Library Resources

Directory of Women's Studies Programs & Library Resources

Excerpt

The study of gender issues has become a salient feature of a wide variety of academic disciplines, reflecting the profound impact Women's Studies has had in a relatively short period of time. As traditional disciplines have been affected by feminist scholarship, educational institutions of all sizes, private and public, have altered and expanded course offerings to include many areas and subjects ignored or totally unknown 22 years ago, when the word "sexism" did not even exist.

As in any new field of endeavor, a key element is identifying scholars with similar interests. This is particularly difficult in Women's Studies because people from so many traditional disciplines are involved. There are no boundaries of geography, time, discipline, or language.

It has been no less difficult to identify Women's Studies librarians. The American Library Association, the principal professional organization for all librarians, and its division, the Association of College and Research Libraries, have recognized an official Women's Studies Section only in the past two years. As teaching and research evolve to include new areas such as Women's Studies, academic librarians have the responsibility to meet the needs of Women's Studies students, teachers, and researchers as effectively as possible.

The need for one centralized source of information on Women's Studies professionals and programs is clear. Having compiled lists of fundamental data on Women's Studies programs for the National Women's Studies Association over the past several years, I decided to compile a more comprehensive source for the use of teaching faculty, researchers, librarians, students, community leaders, and administrators in higher education.

Two vital features make this reference tool unique. First, no other single source contains as much information on established Women's Studies teaching programs, in terms of either program content descriptions or nationwide coverage. Second, no other single source detailing nationwide library support for Women's Studies programs exists.

It is hoped that this work will be a basic tool for feminist scholars, librarians, and those interested in Women's Studies to identify and communicate with each other and with their colleagues. It would be desirable to update this directory on a continuing basis.

METHODOLOGY AND SCOPE

This directory contains 413 entries--the result of two separate surveys of over 2,000 U.S. institutions of higher education that have a broad liberal arts academic orientation; trade schools and military schools were not included.

Our survey of academic Women's Studies programs was conducted in 1988. Every attempt has been made to include only those institutions offering a minimum of five academic courses on a continuing basis. We have not listed courses taught infrequently or only during a particular brief period of time.

We conducted our survey of academic libraries in 1987. It was aimed at library systems supporting U.S. institutions of higher education. This approach was taken in an attempt to describe total support for Women's Studies within the formal library structure on each campus (i.e., the network of all departmental or branch libraries), not simply support in an undergraduate or History or Humanities library. By "support" we mean staff assigned to Women's Studies, the presence or absence of separate funds for acquiring Women's Studies library materials, and broad Women's Studies-related subject strengths of the total library collection on campus. Because of the extreme complexity of formulating appropriate questions and terminology for library collections, and because the focus in this book is on instructional programs, no attempt was made to include special collections in individual Women's Studies research units on campuses.

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