Title

Questioning Knowledge: Women's Studies and the Academy

Authors

Ashley Opp

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

Women's Studies as a discipline consists of endless paradoxes, multiple identities, and political debates that mark it as one of the youngest and most controversial disciplines in the academy. Often called the "academic arm of feminism," Women's Studies functions as a critical meeting point (or, according to some, an "impasse") of intellectualism and activism as it serves the study of gender and culture. The politics of Women's Studies have reflected the development and appropriation of theory while also diverging from it. Although Women's Studies programs were founded on feminist theory coming out of poststructuralist paradigms, the programs themselves have been forced to inhabit traditional logo and phallocentric organizational paradigms at the university's center. However, by using Occidental College's experience and others to exemplify, my research suggests that such theory has acted as a site for negotiation for the discipline and its pragmatic prognosis, with mixed results. Women's Studies as a subject of inquiry faces the reality of the institutional limitation of programs as it continually reshapes the university in flux towards a hoped for future.

Advisor

D. Martinson

Department

critical_theory_social_justice

Support

Support provided by:Ford Research Fellowship

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