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 Women's Studies History and Philosophy 

 

SPOTLIGHT

History

The academic program that we call Women's Studies grew out of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s when faculty and students realized that women's social and political inequality was reflected in and produced by the invisibility of women's experience in curricula in higher education. At first a program to introduce as well as correct the misrepresentation of women in the curriculum, Women's Studies is now an intellectual and social critique of the entire enterprise of knowledge construction. Its goal is to encourage the envisioning of and movement towards a more egalitarian system than we currently have.

At Slippery Rock University, a committed core of faculty began the Women's Studies Program in 1977. They sought and received approval in 1978 for a Document of Academic Achievement and in 1983 obtained approval for a minor in Women's Studies. Similar to the over 600 other such programs across the nation, the Women's Studies Program at Slippery Rock University uses the concept of gender as its perceptual and analytical framework, revealing how socially constructed gender relations reflect and maintain differences in power and opportunity for women and men. The Women's Studies Program emphasizes the diversity of women's experiences transnationally, including in its analysis of society and culture the categories of class, race, age, ethnicity, and sexual identity. The program is also mindful that these differences among women may create power relations that promote the voices of those women who are privileged while silencing those who are marginalized.

Through its perspective, the Women's Studies Program seeks to foster both a personal and intellectual transformation within students and faculty, offering them the insights and tools to analyze the dynamics of their lives and become active participants in the processes of social, political, and personal change.

Philosophy

Women's Studies, a multi-disciplinary approach to learning, is intended to correct the focus of an academic establishment that has traditionally ignored, minimized, or excluded the work of women in most branches of knowledge and areas of experience. Its positive approach is a reassessment of learning and culture, and its goal is the assimilation of the best efforts of women into an integrated and equitable society. To accomplish this task now is to seek and to retain the best qualities of our past so that the future may be both more enlightened and more humane.

~Statement adopted by the SRU Women's Studies Committee, 1978