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Ann Snitow faculty records

 Collection
Identifier: NS-02-08-01

Summary

Records kept by New School faculty member Ann Snitow, largely documenting her activities in connection with the evolving status of gender studies courses and programs at The New School at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Dates

  • 1986 - 2012

Creator

Language of Materials

All materials in English.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

No access copy of the one audiocassette in the collection is currently available. Researchers desiring access and willing to pay a digitization fee may do so upon consultation with The New School Archives.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Historical Note

Gender Studies has had an uneven and complicated history at The New School. Courses on gender were first taught at Eugene Lang College when that division was established in 1986. “Gender and Knowledge” was one of twelve concentrations available to undergraduate students. By the early 1990s, these twelve concentrations were reduced to six due to the college’s small faculty.

“Gender and Knowledge” did not survive the consolidation. Instead a “Cultural Studies” concentration included tracks in media, race and gender. Over time these tracks merged and the gender track became narrower. “Feminist Inquiry,” the founding undergraduate course in gender studies, disappeared from the curriculum. According to Ann Snitow in an oral history interview (transcript page 27), the development of media studies was at the expense of gender studies.

Despite the decline and disappearance of gender studies at the undergraduate level, a master’s program was developed at The New School in response to student demand. The MA in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory was first taught in 1993. Rayna Rapp, an anthropology professor at the New School for Social Research (at that time known as the Graduate Faculty), served as director. The MA program was short lived. The New School’s administration closed the program in Spring 1997.

According to Snitow (transcript page 30), the University's administration did not want the MA program and used the "Mobilization for Real Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Justice" as a justification for closing it prematurely. The Mobilization followed the denial of tenure to Jacqui Alexander – a gender studies professor of color at Eugene Lang College. It culminated in a hunger strike, which lasted nineteen days and involved students taking the provost and vice president hostage for five hours. The protesters were made up of students from many ethnic backgrounds as well as the LGBTQI community. In 2003, informal discussions began between engaged faculty to develop a gender studies minor at the undergraduate level. According to Snitow (transcript page 48), it was a deliberate decision by those involved to develop a minor rather than a major. By 2006, the proposal went through the committee process at The New School and received state accreditation in 2009. The minor in gender studies was launched in 2010 with a two-day conference, No Longer in Exile: The Legacy and Future of Gender Studies at the New School held at the New School's Theresa Lang Center.

As of February 2017, it remains a thriving program and the model for interdisciplinary minors at Eugene Lang College.

References

____

Audio interview with Ann Snitow by Julia Foulkes and Wendy Scheir. 15 Oct 2014. The New School Oral History Program. NS.07.01.01. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 03 Jan 2017.

Biographical Note

Ann Barr Snitow is an associate professor in literature at Eugene Lang College and senior lecturer in liberal studies at the New School for Social Research, both divisions of The New School. Her association with The New School began in 1973 when she taught a literature course for the university’s Adult Division called “Women Without Men.”

Snitow received her BA from Cornell University and a PhD in literature from the University of London. After her graduate training, she returned to New York City in 1968 where she was involved with the city’s first feminist radio show Womankind (directed by Nanette Rainone on WBAI) and other feminist activism.

Snitow was hired by Livingston College at Rutgers University in 1972. She was part of the nascent gender studies program spearheaded by Kate Ellis. By 1982, most of the gender studies faculty at Livingston were fired, including Snitow. Later, faculty at Douglass College developed gender studies at Rutgers into the thriving program it is today.

After leaving Rutgers, Snitow returned for a time to feminist writing and activism before being offered a position at The New School’s recently created undergraduate liberal arts division, Eugene Lang College, to help establish its curriculum.

Snitow arrived at Eugene Lang College in the fall of 1986 and was instrumental to the teaching and development of that college’s gender studies concentration. As gender studies at The New School has waxed and waned, Snitow has been central in developing new programs or specializations.

Extent

0.8 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection has been divided into two series: “Gender studies” and “Campus activism.” Within each series, files are arranged chronologically.

The Gender studies series is divided into two subseries: “General” and “History and development” in an effort to reflect the original arrangement of the records’ creator, Ann Snitow, who had grouped the files into categories. The “General” subseries includes records relating to the administration of gender studies, lectures and talks, correspondence, grant applications and departmental meeting notes. The records in the “History and development” subseries chart key moments in the development, shrinking and later revival of gender studies at The New School. Snitow had labeled these files, "Gender Studies Ancient History."

These records cover gender studies at The New School from the late 1980s to 2012, with a four year break between 1994 and 1998. Of all periods, there is greatest emphasis on the planning and development of the MA program, though two records relating to the undergraduate minor can be found in the “General” subseries. In comparison, a separate collection in the New School Archives, the New School Gender Studies minor program records (NS.02.24.02), cover only the development and administration of the undergraduate minor in gender studies. There are no records in the collection pertaining to the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies currently offered by the New School for Social Research.

The Campus activism series includes student-authored materials and university communications of student protests and complaints between 1987 and 1990. One folder contains material relating to the “Shin Matsunaga Affair” of 1989. This protest was sparked when a New School professor defaced an image by Japanese designer Shin Matsunaga displayed in a Parsons School of Design gallery. The image, depicting a racist caricature, and the professor’s dissent produced conflicting responses from the School’s community about freedom of expression, artistic censorship and the institutional rejection of racism.

The 1997 “Mobilization for Real Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Justice” is not reflected in these records. There are no records in the collection from 1995 through 1997.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in 2 series: I. Gender Studies 1986-2012 , II. Campus Activism 1987-1990

Other Finding Aids

For selected item-level description and images from the Ann Snitow faculty records, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/NS020801.

Custodial History

Records documenting a controversy over a 1989 Parsons School of Design exhibition of designer Shin Matsunaga's work were briefly held by Snitow's colleague Mark Larrimore. Snitow gave them to Larrimore while he was conducting research for the 2014 exhibition, Offense and Dissent. Larrimore then donated the files to the New School Archives, where staff members repatriated the files to Snitow's previously donated collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ann Snitow in two separate accessions, both in 2014. Eugene Lang College faculty member Mark Larrimore donated a third accession, also in 2014, consisting of files Snitow had given to him for research use.

Related Materials

An oral history interview with Ann Snitow will be found in the New School Oral History Program (NS.07.01.01).

Snitow's personal papers are held by Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

The New School Gender Studies minor program records (NS.02.24.02) cover a comparatively short period of gender studies at the New School, roughly between the time the gender studies minor was discussed in committee at the university to the end of Professor Miriam Ticktin’s directorship. There is some overlap with two files on the Minor in this collection. Additionally, the New School for Social Research Office of the Dean records (NS.02.02.03) contain files on the Gender Studies program up to 2005. A series of recordings made during a two day conference, No Longer in Exile: The Legacy and Future of Gender Studies at the New School (NS.07.02.05) are available through the New School Archives.

The Mark Larrimore faculty records (NS.02.09.01) also document teaching at Eugene Lang College. One file in Mark Larrimore's records was given to Larrimore by Snitow. Additionally, Larrimore's collection documents activities in which Snitow participated.

A documentary on the 1997 "Mobilization for Real Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Justice" called New School Struggle made by Laura Poitras is available (as of February 2017) in two parts on YouTube:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMImt0_6Euw Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H54Sfo_QLpo

Processing Information

The processing archivist maintained many of Snitow's original folder labels, particularly those in the History and development sub-series of Gender Studies. The titles provide potential insight into how Snitow thought of the program.
Title
Guide to the Ann Snitow faculty records
Status
Completed
Author
Heather Anderson
Date
February 10, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English