On October 19, 1974, 150 women and men, students and faculty, gathered at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas for a women's studies conference. Representatives from four states (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas) and over 25 schools exchanged tales of triumph and frustration along with their course syllabi. One year of good intentions and another year of actual planning by the S.M.U. Women's Studies Council preceded the event itself. The conference was a product of an odd combination of zeal, obligation and curiosity.
The conference was a great idea, we acknowledged, but how could the S.M.U. Women's Studies Council teach others to run when it was still only in the crawling stage itself? To present our council as experienced authorities on women's studies would be, at the least, presumptuous. The conference, then, would have to be designed not as a training center but as a trade center: we'd all trade whatever useful information and skills we'd gained from our experience, however minimal. We, at least, were eager to contact people involved in other programs at a similarly elementary level-we assumed that many schools in the area were developing courses and programs. And if they hadn't begun offering courses, there might still be feminists who would like to do so, and who would welcome support and information from others who had.