Celebrating Forty Years of Funding Feminist Scholarship

The UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) has reached a landmark fortieth anniversary. Directed by Professor Carol Stabile, the center has been creating, funding, and sharing research that addresses the complicated nature of gender identities and inequalities for four decades. CSWS will mark the milestone with a three-day November conference celebrating feminist research, activism, and creativity at the University of Oregon held in collaboration with the ASUO Women’s Center and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

The organization was founded in 1973 as the Center for the Sociological Study of Women by a group of visionary scholars—both men and women—who recognized the need to study, spotlight, and confront gender inequality throughout society. Founders included Joan Acker, Miriam Johnson, UO President Robert Clark, and other notable faculty members. The center held a two-week feminist conference, campaigned for an affirmative action office, started a course on women, and began a research center that had as its first project a study of the status of women at Oregon.
In 1983, the center was expanded and renamed with an endowed gift from the estate of William Harris, a New York publisher wishing to honor the legacy of his wife, publisher, journalist, activist, and feminist Jane Grant.
An additional gift from Mazie Giustina in 1992 allowed the center to begin its Women in the Northwest Initiative to promote and spotlight research on women’s lives in the Pacific Northwest. Every year, CSWS awards tens of thousands of dollars to individual graduate students and faculty members as well as research interest groups and communities of scholars with shared interests. Forty years after its founding, CSWS continues to create a vibrant research culture on gender at Oregon.