“We did have women but they didn’t stay.”


Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature

Nina Auerbach, Carolyn Burke, Barbara Christian, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Kate Ellis, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Sandra Gilbert, Gail Green, Alice Jardine, Myra Jehlen, Constance Jordan, Alice Kaplan, Kate Millet, Nancy Milford, Nancy Miller, Lillian Robinson, Naomi Schor, Catharine Stimpson, Susan Suleiman, and Louise Yelin. Many of whom have had stellar careers. They were all here, and could have stayed. Imagine if even a few of them had stayed, the difference it would have made, actually, even in the prestige of the English and French departments, which didn’t have many people of that stature, at least not very many.

Susan Winnett, whose departure caused Carol [Carolyn Heilbrun] to leave, she did something like sixty MA essays in one year, because students so much wanted to work with her, and she worked very hard at it, and she did very well with them. PhD students who wanted to write on women’s studies found ways to provide for themselves. Eventually, they would somehow cobble together a committee for the dissertation that could work. If you get at least one person on there who knows something about the field, then the others sort of fill in. There wasn’t a really solid structure. I think things are much better now there. Of course, Jean [Howard] came, and Margie Ferguson came first, before Jean. That was a great boon, but she didn’t stay. Carol Kay was the partner of Jonathan Arac. She was here for a while. We did have women, but they didn’t stay.