Theories of Women's Studies, edited by Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli-Klein. Women's Studies: University of California, Berkeley, 1980.
Women's studies has been a significant presence on college campuses for over a decade now—time enough to have generated an important body of research, several hundred programs, thousands of individual courses, and many efforts at self-definition. This collection of five papers, most of them presented at the National Women's Studies Association's first annual convention in Lawrence, Kansas in 1979, extends definition to a new level of complexity and sophistication. The writers agree on certain assumptions: that women's studies is education for social change, intimately linked to the women's movement; that its goal of improving the status of women is perfectly legitimate, since no academic discipline is neutral and value-free; and, as Gloria Bowles says in her introduction, that "Women's Studies, by putting women at the center of inquiry, is a truly new and necessary approach to knowledge." While these assumptions are by now generally accepted by those in women's studies, they are not commonplace in the university community as a whole.