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Two different programs touching on Harvard and women vie for attention in November. The independent Committee for the Equality of Women at Harvard (CEWH) sponsors a national invitational conference on "Women in Research Universities: The Next Quarter Century" on November 13 and 14. Also on November 14, Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America and Harvard's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History--in their first collaboration--present a day of events to kick off a yearlong project entitled "Gender at the Gates: New Perspectives on Harvard and Radcliffe History."
The 10-year-old CEWH seeks to improve the status and opportunities of women in higher education and has realized, says conference chair Lilli Hornig, Ph.D. '50, that the real stumbling block lies with Harvard and other research universities--the centers that provide the facilities, colleagues, and stimulus to do cutting-edge research. The conference, funded by grants from the Ford and Sloan Foundations and Albert F. Gordon '59, will explore the status quo, components of successful change, and, in particular, ways in which alumnae can encourage greater responsiveness by their own universities. When Harvard dean Jeremy Knowles suggested last year that women don't donate enough, notes Hornig, "he didn't address the issue of how to make alumnae feel the sense of ownership that it takes to produce a strong response!"
"Gender at the Gates" is the brainchild of the Warren Center's new director, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Phillips professor of early American history and professor of women's studies. Her "awakening" to the need for such a program came at last year's "Celebration of Women at Harvard College" (see "The Women's Entrance," January-February, page 85). The event marked 25 years of full coresidency for undergraduate women and men, but Ulrich realized that some of the speakers--and some of her colleagues, too--thought it marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of coeducation itself at Harvard.
This year's session will touch on the concept of gender in history, the history of women at Harvard, the work and mission of Radcliffe, and possibilities for archival research by undergraduates and others. At a luncheon funded by the dean of Harvard College, participants will break into discussion groups to record memories and suggest areas of research, and each group will report back on its findings later in the afternoon. "If you want to write a group of people into a history from which they have been excluded," Ulrich says, "you broaden the landscape--and this creates a far more dynamic history of the institution. I decided to organize the conference to get people talking a little. If we are the world's greatest university, we ought to know our own history!"
For further information, contact CEWH at "[email protected]"; P.O. Box 382650, Cambridge 02238-2650; or "http://world.std.com/~cewh/". For "Gender at the Gates," contact the Warren Center, (617) 495-3591 or "[email protected]", or check the Schlesinger Library website, "www.radcliffe.edu/schles".
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