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Barrie Karp papers

 Collection
Identifier: NA-0022-01

Overview

Barrie Karp was a professor of philosophy, psychology, feminist theory, and critical race theory at The New School for twenty-five years (circa 1983-2008). These papers document her teaching career with syllabi, course notes, and student work. Also included in the collection is a small amount of correspondence with colleagues and materials related to courses Karp taught at other universities.

Dates

  • 1983-2007

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Files containing student records are restricted for 75 years from the date of creation. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Barrie Karp taught philosophy, psychology, feminist theory, and critical race theory in the Department of Liberal Studies at Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate liberal arts division of The New School, for twenty-five years (circa 1983-2008). Karp was a scholar, artist, and feminist activist. She was also a career adjunct whose time at the school was often complicated by a lack of security in her position, in many ways due to her commitment to challenging philosophical pedagogy through a feminist and antiracist lens.

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.

Sources

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.

Extent

0.4 Cubic Feet (1 box, 1 folder)

Language of Materials

English

Scope and Contents

These papers were assembled by Barrie Karp, a faculty member at The New School from 1983 to 2008. This collection is mostly composed of documents related to courses Karp taught at Eugene Lang College and in the Liberal Studies department at Parsons School of Design concerning feminist philosophy and culture. This collection includes correspondence between Karp and Lucia Lermond, a faculty member at Queens College; and Eliza Nichols, the Associate Dean at Lang. It also contains course descriptions from the School of Visual Arts New York City, where Karp was also a faculty member.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Barrie Karp to The New School Archives, 2019

Related Materials

The New School Archives holds the faculty papers of Ann Snitow (NS.02.08.01), a colleague of Karp's who also taught feminist and gender studies at Eugene Lang College; the Women's Legacy at The New School student projects (NS.02.25.01), which includes research on the history of gender studies at The New School; and recordings of a two-day conference celebrating the re-establishment of a gender studies program at The New School, No Longer in Exile: The Legacy and Future of Gender Studies at the New School recordings (NS.07.02.05).

Processing Information

Most folder titles came from Karp's original folder titling, but abbreviations for course names used by Karp have been spelled out. In some cases, archivists created folder titles to identify unlabeled folders.
Title
Guide to the Barrie Karp papers
Status
Completed
Author
Tara Mastrelli and Jack Wells
Date
May 25, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin