Barrie Karp papers
- Karp, Barrie (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
Karp joined the Parsons Liberal Studies faculty in 1983, teaching Western Philosophy and Culture, a foundational course in the program. In 1988, Sally Ruddick sought out Karp to teach in Lang’s Gender and Knowledge concentration, which she and fellow Lang professor Ann Snitow were then developing. Karp taught her first course at Lang, Feminist Critiques of Reason: "Male and Female" in Western Philosophy, that same year.
According to published course catalogs, during her time at The New School, Karp taught the following courses:
Philosophy of the Sexes (Fall 1989-1990)
Philosophy of the Sexes and Racism (Fall 1992-2006)
Sexuality and Representation: Present and Future (Spring 1990)
Feminist Critiques of Reason (and Sexuality) (Fall 1992-2007)
This Body Remembering (Spring 1993-2003)
Sexual Subversions (Spring 1994)
Introduction to Feminist Theory (Fall 1994)
Mothers Daughters Sisters (1995)
Sexuality, Race, and Representation (Spring 1999- 2002)
Feminist Inquiry (Fall 2003)In a 2007 letter of support, Ruddick highlights the range of interests shown in Karp’s syllabi: “She moves from high theory contemporary feminists like Linda Zerilli to critical race theorist Patricia Williams, to Japanese medieval poetry, to a study of the blues. She is remarkably versed in psychoanalytic theory...She challenges students to study culture and philosophy and media through an anti-racist feminist lens, and to reconsider feminism not as a label or a determined identity but as a way of reasoning.”
In March 2008, the Lang administration, headed by Dean Jonathan Veitch, refused to continue Dr. Karp’s courses, effectively eliminating her position after twenty-five years teaching at The New School. Student and faculty union protests were mounted against the administration’s decision, but ultimately were unsuccessful. In an article for Harper’s Magazine about the evolution of the feminist movement, Susan Faludi writes: “Despite the many contemporary theorists [Karp] had assigned in her courses, she was taken to task in her last written evaluation for teaching a ‘dated’ sixties feminism that was ‘no longer acceptable.’ Soon after the culture and media department absorbed and then dissolved the gender-studies program, Karp was forced out. Not that her expulsion made way for an undated feminist studies. With her departure, the number of professors in the department dedicated to teaching feminism dropped to zero.”
Karp received her bachelor of science from Columbia University (1967); and her master of arts (1977); master of philosophy (1979); and Ph.D. (1980) in philosophy from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Before teaching at The New School, she taught philosophy at The City College of New York as a graduate student, starting in 1970, particularly concerned with pedagogy and the intersections of race, sex, gender, class and sexuality. In 1975 she lost her teaching job after pointing to the lack of female philosophy department faculty members at CCNY. Karp filed a discrimation case, but lost. In 1978, she taught one of the first feminist theory courses offered in the philosophy department at Hunter College.
After her dismissal from The New School in 2008, Karp continued to dedicate her time to art and activism, working in photography, mixed media, and painting until her death on September 27, 2019. Her work has been published or discussed in Feminist Studies: Gender/Body/Knolwedge—Feminist Reconstructions of Being & Knowing; Ikon Magazine; and Art & Observance—School of Visual Arts Commemorrates 9/11 catalog.
Faludi, Susan. “American Electra: Feminism’s Ritual Matricide.” Harper’s Magazine, October 2010.
Love, Barbara J. 2006. Feminists who changed America, 1963-1975. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
New School Free Press, March 11, 2008.
Biographical note by MA Philosophy/Gender & Sexuality Studies student Tara Mastrelli, 2020.
0.4 Cubic Feet (1 box, 1 folder)
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- Guide to the Barrie Karp papers
- Tara Mastrelli and Jack Wells
- May 25, 2021
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