MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


Women's Studies redresses the invisibility of women and gender in the construction of knowledge and reminds us to include women's as well as men's contributions, experiences and perceptions in understanding the world. The inclusion of Women's Studies subjects in the curriculum of an MIT student helps to produce an engineer, scientist, or business executive who is better-equipped to contribute fully and participate effectively in teams made up of men and women.


The program is directed by Professor Ruth Perry, Professor of Literature, and Founder of MIT Program in Women's Studies. During academic year 1996-97, the Women's Studies Steering Committee consists of Assistant Professor Evelynn Hammonds (STS), Associate Professor Diana Henderson (Literature), Professor Jean Jackson (Anthropology), Associate Professor Henry Jenkins (Literature and Film & Media Studies), Professor Evelyn Fox Keller (STS), Women's Studies Research Librarian Marlene Manoff (Humanities Library), Professor Perry (Literature), and Associate Professor Margery Resnick (FL&L).


The Program in Women's Studies offers an undergraduate curriculum consisting of core classes and crosslisted subjects from cooperative departments. Students may concentrate, minor and petition for a major departure in Women's Studies. The Program in Women's Studies offered eighteen subjects during the academic year 1995-96, with approximately 300 students enrolled. The program continues to be an active contributing member of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (GCWS), a pioneering effort by faculty at six degree-granting institutions in the Boston area and Radcliffe College to advance women's studies scholarship in a series of team-taught interdisciplinary graduate seminars. This year, the GCWS co-sponsored three graduate level courses, in which one MIT graduate student enrolled.


Lily Koo `97 was the second recipient of the joint writing prize offered jointly by The Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies and the Program in Women's Studies. The Louis Kampf Writing Prize in Women's and Gender Studies honors both Professor Emeritus Louis Kampf's contributions to Women's Studies at MIT and rewards high quality undergraduate writing in women's and gender studies. The Prize is sponsored by Women's Studies and included among the annual writing prizes given by the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. The Prize is judged by faculty from Writing and Humanistic Studies and Women's Studies.

Professor Cynthia Wolff (Writing & Humanistic Studies) won both a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to continue her primary research on Willa Cather. Professor Henderson (Literature) won the Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Award and the Old Dominion Fellowship. Professor Fox Keller (STS) received an honorary doctorate from Luleå University in Sweden.



The Women's Studies Faculty continued their active contributions to their individual fields. Most of these accomplishments are listed in the reports of their home departments, so special attention is given here to achievements relating to work on gender.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Wood published the essay "Class and Gender at Loggerheads in the Early Soviet State: Who Should Organize the Female Proletariat and How?" (Laura L. Frader and Sonya O. Rose, eds. Gender and Class in Modern Europe, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), and gave an invited lecture at Brandeis University entitled "Syphilization or Civilization: The Trial of the Old Way of Life in Revolutionary Russia, 1917-1930."

Professor Resnick (FL&L) is a consultant to Partners Advisory Committee on Women which is conducting a system-wide study of barriers to women's success in academic medicine (MGH, B&W's, Dana Farber, Mass Eye & Ear, Spaulding, McLean's. She also taught a seminar on "Women and Work" for the European Community out of Barcelona. She has completed two more oral history interviews on MIT women graduates; several more are ongoing.

Professor Fox Keller co-edited Feminism and Science with Helen Longino (1996, Oxford University Press).

Professor Hammonds co-edited with B. Laslett, S.G. Kohlstedt, H. Longino, and E. Hammonds, Gender and Scientific Authority (1996, University of Chicago Press). She published the following articles in edited volumes: "Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Black Female Sexuality" in Feminism Meets Queer Theory, ed. Elizabeth Weed and Naomi Schor (1997, Brown University and Indiana University Press); "When the Margin is the Center: African-American Feminism(s) and `Difference'" in Transitions Environments Translations: Feminisms in International Politics, ed. J. Scott, C. Kaplan, and D. Keates (1997, Routledge); and "Toward a Genealogy of Black Female Sexuality: The Problematic of Silence" in Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, ed. M. J. Alexander, Chandra T. Mohanty (1997, Routledge). She is serving a two-year term as consultant on Women and Scientific Literacy Project for the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She serves on the History of Science Society's Committee on Women. She presented the invited keynote at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and papers at the Berkshire Women's History Conference, and the Women in Philosophy meeting at the University of Memphis. She served on the Visiting Committee of the Women's Studies Program at Bates College, She supervised a UROP on "Black Male Physicians and Black Women Health Activists: Two Approaches to Health Care in the African-American Community, 1900-1950."

Professor Sherry Turkle served on the Massachusetts Women's Forum and presented the following lectures: "Identity in Cyberspace" (Alumnae Conference: Women and Leadership: Pathways to Power, Simmons College, Graduate School of Management); "Women, Learning, and Computers" (Wellesley College Center for Learning and Teaching); Keynote Address "Gender Trouble on the Internet" (Conference: Women of Influence: Breaking Boundaries and Challenging Paradigms, Women's Global Business Alliance); "Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet" (Association for Women in Computing); "Gender in the Virtual World" (Women's Forum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Panelist in session "Making History in Cyberspace: Content Control, Gender, and Social Gaps" (Conference: Women Making History, International Women's Forum).

Professor Perry presented the following lectures: "Am I My Sister's Keeper? Intellectual Siblings in Eighteenth-Century England," (Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University); "Art, Interdisciplinarity, and the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies" (Pennsylvania State University); "Feminism and the Enlightenment" (Royal Holloway College, University of London); "The Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies" (Arizona State University). She presented the following conference papers: "Good Girls and Fallen Women: Representations of Prostitutes in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction" (Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies; American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies); "Graduate Education in Women's Studies" and "Generations of Feminism" (Conference: Twenty-Five Years of Women's Studies, Arizona State University). She published the following pieces: "Building a Feminist Institution: An Informal History of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies" (NWSA Journal, 8, 2 Summer 1996); "Inventing a Feminist Institution" (Graduate Women's Studies: Visions and Realities, ed. Ann B. Shteir, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997); review of T.G.A. Nelson's Children, Parents and the Rise of the Novel (Eighteenth-Century Fiction 9,1 - October 1996); review essay "The Contribution of Gender to the Evolution of the Novel" (Modern Language Quarterly 57, 4 December 1996); "Reflections on the writing of women's history" review of Gerda Lerner's Why History Matters (The Boston Globe, April 6, 1997). The following article of Professor Perry has been reprinted: "Women and Computers: An Introduction" (Gender and Scientific Authority ed. Barbara Laslett et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

Professor Henderson represented MIT on the Board of Directors of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies at Radcliffe College. She presented the following papers: "Re-viewing Queen Isabel in Henry V" Seminar on Writing about Performances. Shakespeare Association of America, Washington, D. C.; "The Disappearing Queen: Looking for Isabel in Henry V," (Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association, Banff, Canada) and (Meeting of the Group for Early Modern Culture Studies, Pittsburgh, PA). She completed five articles on Women's Studies subjects that are in press and published the following review: The Tears of Narcissus: Melancholia and Masculinity in Early Modern Writing by Lynn Enterline in Shakespeare Bulletin 14.4 (1996): 43.

Lecturer Helen Elaine Lee has been appointed to assistant professor of writing. She has completed her new novel, Water Marked.

Professor Perry will continue as director for one more year.

Ruth Perry

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97