Knowledge ecologies, "Supple" objects, and different priorities across women's and gender studies programs and departments in the United States, 1970-2010

Christine Virginia Wood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the evolving connections between local conditions and knowledge processes in women's and gender studies, a research field in the social sciences and humanities. Data are historical records from five early-adopting women's and gender studies units in the United States and interviews with affiliated professors. In their formative years, these programs were consistent in their intellectual content. Scholars across sites defined the purpose of women's studies similarly: to address the lack of research on women and social problems of sex inequality. Gradually, scholars incorporated a range of analytic categories into women's studies' agenda, including gender identities and masculinities, leading to diverse understandings and redefinitions of the central objects of analysis. Analytic shifts are reflected in differences in the institutional and intellectual composition of programs and departments. To explain how local departmental conditions affect the conception of core objects of study in gender research, the author builds on the literature on knowledge ecologies and introduces the concept of the "supple object.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-408
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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