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Stanford, Women Faculty, Feminist Research and Teaching: Some Historical Reflections

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Thursday, March 7, 2024
4:30 - 6:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)

Stanford Law School
Room 290, Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford

At its founding in 1891, Stanford was one of a very few private co-educational universities in the country, with 130 of the 555 places in the first student body being held by women. It was also one of the first institutions to offer advanced degrees to women from the beginning. Stanford’s first female faculty members, however, numbered just six throughout the university’s first decade, and it would take much longer for scholarly programs on women to be established.

In this presentation, political philosopher Nannerl O. Keohane and economist Myra Strober will discuss the history of about a dozen women faculty members who were active at Stanford in the 1970s, and those professors’ collective efforts to create institutions supportive of women on campus. These institutions included the Center for Research on Women and the academic program in Feminist Studies.   

This group of women experienced together some of the strengths and downsides of the second wave feminist movement. Keohane and Strober will discuss their motivations, their ambitions, and how they did their work. They will also describe both the support and the skepticism these women experienced from the top male administrators at the time, and how these institutions have evolved in subsequent years.

Nannerl Keohane

Nannerl O. Keohane is a political philosopher and university administrator who has taught at Swarthmore, Stanford (from 1973 until 1981), Wellesley, Duke and Princeton.  She served as president of Wellesley from 1981-1993, and Duke from 1993-2004.  She received her BA from Wellesley, BA/MA as a Marshall Scholar at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and Ph.D. in political science at Yale.

Professor Keohane has published Philosophy and the State in France:  The Renaissance to the Enlightenment (1980); Higher Ground:  Ethics and Leadership in the Modern University (2006); and Thinking About Leadership (2010).  She co-edited Feminist Theory: A Critique of Ideology (1982) and Women and Equality, a special issue of Daedalus, January 2020.   She is working on a book entitled Virginia Woolf and Modern Feminism.

Professor Keohane is currently a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Behavioral Sciences, and a visitor in the McCoy Family Center for Ethics at Stanford. She serves on the board of the Doris Duke Foundation and chairs the Visiting Committee for Harvard College.  She lives at Brookhaven in Lexington, Massachusetts with her husband, Professor Robert O. Keohane.  

Myra Strober is Professor Emerita of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Professor Emerita of Economics (by Courtesy) at the Graduate School of Business. She is also the Founding Director of Stanford’s Center for Research on Women (now the Clayman Institute for Gender Research). 

Professor Strober has a B.S. from Cornell University in industrial and labor relations, an M.A. in economics from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. Her research has been on women and work, occupational segregation, and the economics of childcare. She has written numerous articles and five books: The Road Winds Uphill all the Way: Gender Work and Family in the United States and Japan, with Agnes Chan; Interdisciplinary Conversations: Challenging Habits of Thought; Feminism, Children and the New Families, with Sanford Dornbusch; Sharing the Work: A Memoir; and Money and Love: An Intelligent Roadmap for Life’s Biggest Decisions, with Abby Davisson.

Strober was a founding member and president of the International Association for Feminist Economists, and the first Chair of the Board of the National Council for Research on Women. She was also a founding member of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession.

This program is co-sponsored by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Stanford Law School Women's Alumnae Organization (SLS WAO!).