News & Updates: NWSA History

NWSA, A History – 1991

Saturday, May 2, 2020  
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Cover of the 1991 conference program book

"Making Connections, Rethinking Structures: Women's Studies Programs and the National Women's Studies Association" | June 13-16, 1991 | Washington, D.C.

Program Highlights

The 1991 NWSA Conference, "Making Connections, Rethinking Structures: Women's Studies Programs and the National Women's Studies Association," was less of a conference and more of a retreat. Given years of the predominance of white women's voices, issues, and leadership within the NWSA – and in the larger feminist movement – things came to a head at the 1990 conference, pushing the Women of Color Caucus to stage a walkout. After this nearly dissolved the Association, conference organizers opted for a smaller meeting in 1991, headlined by a series of open discussions between attendees and the NWSA Governing and Steering Committee members. These two sessions, titled, "The Future of NWSA: Ongoing Dialogue" and "Where We Are Now, Where We Are Going," were among the twenty other sessions organized by mostly by women's studies program administrators, which focused mainly on program and women's centers administration and curriculum. For more context on the nature of this meeting, please see the articles and books linked below.

"Transformation of Consciousness" by Janell Hobson and Karon Jolna

Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century's End by Sara Evans

"Women's-Studies Association Struggling to Recover From Racial Tensions" by Carolyn J. Mooney

"Classless and Clueless in NWSA: A History of the Poor and Working Class Caucus" by Lois Rita Helmbold

List of 1991 program committee members

See the full program here

From the Conference Planning Committee

The program for this conference has come directly from suggestions received from Women's Studies Program Administrators and other interested individuals. The National Women's Studies Association extends its appreciation to Berenice Carroll and Hilda Smith, who coordinated this conference; and to Pat McAllister, Penny Smith, Romy Borooah, Amy Myers, and Elizabeth Emrich of the University of Cincinnati Center for Women's Studies; and Connie Boatright of Purdue University's Women's Studies Program, who provided significant support and assistance in the planning of this conference.

See the rest of the history project here

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NWSA Program Archives

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About the Writer

Victoria Agunod is the office assistant at the National Women's Studies Association, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul University. Victoria received their BA and MA in Women's and Gender Studies at DePaul. They first attended NWSA in 2018 and presented their research on university students organizing for racial justice against the new alt-right galvanized by the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They joined the NWSA team the following year. Their teaching emphases are on women of color feminisms, racial justice movements and organizing, and neoliberal rhetorical and cultural influences.

Please note: The information compiled in this project comes from the archived conference programs at the University of Maryland, College Park.