Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1981


We share Carolyn Lougee's goal ("Women, History, and the Humanities," Women's Studies Quarterly, Spring 1981) of a required "gender-balanced" course in Western Culture and Civilization which broadens the traditional conception of the humanities to consider women's contribution to and place in our cultural heritage. We would like, however, to offer a different conception of what such a course might be. While Lougee addresses the question from the point of view of "the opportunities that curricular revision opens to historians," ours is a literary perspective, from which the issues appear in a different light. In the University of Chicago curriculum, which Lougee cites as one model for the Stanford Western Culture Program, the required Western Civilization course is distinct from the freshman Humanities course. Lougee's assumptions seem to us better suited to the revision of the former than the latter. Since the Stanford course she describes apparently combines the aims and readings of both, we propose to balance her assumptions about reading texts as history with the very different assumptions informing a literary perspective.



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