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Scholar & Feminist IX: Towards a Politics of Sexuality, Barnard College Women's Center

Research Guide

Primary Sources at Barnard

The Barnard Archives is a unit of the Barnard Library and Academic Information Services (BLAIS) at Barnard College, a predominantly women's four-year college affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. The Barnard Archives, per its website, collects "the institutional history of Barnard College, and special collections in the topic areas of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Dance." Archivists at Barnard work closely with staff from the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW), which hosts the Scholar and Feminist Conference, including "Toward a Politics of Sexuality," the subject of this project. The Barnard Archives holds the papers of BCRW, which can be explored in this extensive finding aid prepared by Associate Director of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Martha Tenney in 2016. The finding aid does not yet reflect audio recordings recently digitized with support from a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant written in collaboration with BCRW staff. There is an incomplete and occasionally inaccurate inventory of the audio recordings (xlsx file), which is being updated.

It is not necessary, and possibly unhelpful to weigh down an already lengthy finding aid with folder-level detail, but since this project is about facilitating research, scholarship, art, and activism with materials from the "Towards a Politics of Sexuality" conference, I attempt to provide a sort of inset for the finding aid--a close-up of the box and folder contents.


Not included are folders that do not have materials pertaining to the conference, and Box 69, Folder 5, which is restricted until 75 years after creation, presumably 2057.


Box/Folder List

The collection contains three boxes with Scholar and Feminist IX content: BC 13.58 Box 5, 68, and 69. Each box contains several folders, and each folder holds one or more items of conference-related ephemera. Names of people and organizations are in bold type to make them easier to find.

BC 13.58, Box 5

Folder 10
  • "The Scholar and the Feminist IX" April 24, 1982 // Diary of a Conference on Sexuality. Original diary (with the Barnard College / Columbia University affiliation on the first page, circled in pencil. A typewritten note inside indicating what is to be deleted in the distributed version)

  • Promotional materials from the Barnard College Women's Center
  • Registration flier - pink
  • Program (one folded page) - pink
  • Conference diary reorder form
  • Protest flier: yellow (photograph taken: front and back) signed Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality and Against Sadomasochism (members: Women Against Violence Against Women, Women Against Pornography, New York Radical Feminists). Targeting: No More Nice Girls (Brett Harvey, Ellen Willis), Samois (Gayle Rubin), Lesbian Sex Mafia (Dorothy Allison), Pat Califia

BC 13.58, Box 68

Folder 14
  • Sex Diary Proposal
  • Diary with a sticker on it that reads "EXHIBIT A" and editorial notes throughout, e.g., changing "Barnard College Women's Center" to "Barnard Women's Center" and removing "The Barnard Women's Center, 1971-1982" page.
  • Typewritten, pencil annotated booklet proposal by Hannah Alderfer, Marybeth Nelson, and Beth Jake. Proposal for "Diary of a Sex Conference." Description of proposed diary elements, production, production schedule, budget (1,000 copies for $2,400)

BC 13.58, Box 69

Folder 1
  • Diary '81, 1982-2004
  • Handwritten notes from April 26. Named: Quandra Prettyman and Pat
  • Discussion of revising diary, academic freedom, production pressure, strategy going forward
  • Distributed version of the diary
  • Diary reorder form
  • Copies of original diary (with Barnard affiliation)
Folder 2: Sex Conference

Newspaper clippings:

  • NYT & The Guardian reviews of Pleasure and Danger (conference proceedings book). Photocopy of same.
  • New York Native article by Marcia Pally, "The Fireworks at the Sexuality Conference: Whom Should Feminists Fuck?" May 24-June 6, 1982. P. 14-16
  • Copy of "Bad Girls and 'Good' Politics" from the Voice Literary Supplement Number 13, December 1982 by Lisa Orlando.
  • Copies of off our backs volume xii, no. 6 June 1982 conference coverage: background, protest leaflet, sessions, workshops, Lesbian Sex Mafia speakout, commentary. Editorial (?) cartoons and illustrations.
Folder 3: National Association for Women Business
  • 9-page typewritten letter from Claudette Charbonneau dated May 2, 1982  
    • "In the annals of the history of the Women's Movement, the 1982 Barnard Conference will be remembered -- if it is remembered at all -- as a curious reflection of the reactionary mood prevalent during the Reagan years. In the long-run it will have no permanent significance for the Women's Movement. Of that I am confident."
    • Analyzes conference presentations, responses to the conference, critique of lack of anti-pornography, anti-harassment presence among speakers.
    • "Gayle Rubin, for example, a leading spokeswoman for lesbian S & M, seemed visibly startled -- literally taken aback, so insular has she become -- when she was asked about heterosexual wife-battering. (A sign of the temper of the conference: her workshop was entitled, "Concepts for a Radical Politics of Sex." Her talk, however, side-stepped the more problematic aspects of the issue of 'consent.' And, in fact, she spoke mostly within the civil libertarian tradition, making points about the need to grant freedom of expression to sexual minorities with which none of us attending had any quarrel.)"
    • "Some of the myopia stems from dynamics within the lesbian community. Living away from heterosexuals, creating our own culture, absorbed in our own reality, we have often tended to lose sight of the heterosexual world."
    • Commentary on S & M roles promulgating problematic heterosexual dynamics
    • "By the end -- with the closing address by Amber Hollibaugh -- they succeeded in throwing out the 'scholar' as well."
  • Fanette Pollack (Upper West Side attorney, per letterhead) & '74 alum. Letter to Ellen Futter dated May 14, 1982. Critical of withholding of conference diary.
  • Carbon copies of letters from Jane Gould and Janie Kritzman to people thanking them for letters to Ellen Futter and/or Diane Moss (Helena Rubenstein Foundation), Diane Corbin written on different dates in 1982. Alphabetical for ease of use, rather than in the oder they appear in the folder:
    • Trude Bennett, Brooklyn College
    • Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Temple
    • Arlene Carmen, Judson Memorial Church
    • Barbara Epstein, UC Berkeley
    • Judith Friedlander, SUNY Purchase
    • Mary Graves (BC alum)
    • Barbara Grier, Naiad Press
    • Atina Grossmann
    • Kate K___s, Rutgers English
    • Marsha H. Levy-Warren, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
    • Martha Nelson, Ms.
    • Lisa Orlando, U. Mass
    • Mary Brown Parlee, CUNY Graduate Center
    • Rosalind P. Petchesky, Ramapo
    • Fanette Pollack
    • Rayna Rapp, New School
    • Beth Reed, GLCA Women's Studies
    • Ronald Sable, Cook County Hospital
    • Sandra Silberstein, U. Michigan
    • Ann Snitow
    • Judith Stein, Morris Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
    • Catharine R. Stimpson, Douglass/Rutgers Institute for Research on Women
    • Amy Swerdlow, signed "love," Sarah Lawrence
    • Nadine Taub, Rutgers
    • Louise A. Tilly, U. Michigan
    • Gaye Tuchman, CUNY Graduate Center
    • Martha Vicinus, U. Michigan
    • Daniel Walkowitz, NYU
    • Judith Walkowitz, Visiting at Rutgers
    • Ellen Willis, Village Voice
    • Marilyn Young, NYU
  • The letters from the above express
    • Concern about discontinuing the conference
    • Congratulations on excellent conference, heroic Jane Gould
  • Three-page petition against the Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality and Against Sadomasochism attacks on the conference. Return by June 5. Mail to Vance, Sunnyside, NY
  • Carole Vance letter to conference planners asking for letters of support for the conference and women's center
  • Rayna Rapp and Marilyn Young letter asking for letters to Ellen Futter and Diane Moss, CC to Jane Gould
  • Copies of news articles
    • Lisa Orlando: Lust at Last! Or Spandex Invades the Academy
    • Peg Byron: Sex Spurs Censorship, Womanews May
    • The Fireworks at the Sexuality Conference, New York Native, May 24-June 6, 1982
    • Barnard Bulletin Special Edition, May 12, 1982
      • Futter Cites Inaccurate Portray for Confiscation by Mary Witherell
      • President Comments on Confiscation by Jessica McVay and Mary Witherell
      • Integrity in Question: petition protesting suppression of conference diary
      • Whose Point of View is it Anyway? Jessica McVay
Folder 4: Scholar & Feminist IX - Post Conference Support Letters to Pres. Futter & Rubenstein Foundation
  • Letters referenced in the previous folder

photo of document box with a sticky note on it that reads "folder 5 is restricted."Folder 5: Restricted  

Folder 6: Scholar & Fem IX 1982 & Diary
  • 17-page list of participants, with affiliations
  • Addendum list of participants
  • Public version of Charbonneau's letter
  • Women's Center Conference Report
  • Guardian article
  • Letter from Sara Atatimur, Princeton Women's Center, copy of Undergraduate Life Committee (ULC) discussion paper about new policy
  • Copy of Lust at Last
  • Copies of the program and registration
  • Card that reads, "The Conference Diary will be distributed at a later date."
  • We Protest flier
  • "You will find in this packet" conference handout
  • Conference recorders memo
Folder 7: Diary of a Conference pages circa 1982
  • Notes from the Women's Center, copies of press coverage
  • Women's Center Conference Report
  • Copies of student petition, text only
  • Copies first page of diary noting changes
  • Heresies #12: Sex Issue, 1981
audience in LeFrak gymnasiumFolder 8: Barnard Conference on Sexuality photos 1982
  • 14 photos, no identifying text
    • Crowded room (LeFrak Gymnasium)
    • Line going into McIntosh (probably a food line)
    • Panelist smoking
    • Amber Hollibaugh presenting
Folder 9: Scholar & Feminist IX: Misc
  • Psychology of Women Quarterly vol. 37, no. 2 June 2013
  • Barnard Reporter, fall 1992
  • Daily Northwestern, 4/21/2014
  • Barnard spring 1993: Women in Politics
  • Harvard Magazine Where the Women Are--and Aren't
  • Voice Literary Supplement article
  • Kathryn Rodger acting president of the college letter 1993
  • Farewell Eileen Glickstein, July 1993
  • Carol Saline "Growing Up Is Hard to Do"
Digitized Conference Audio

The Barnard Archives and Special Collections, partnering with the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW, formerly the Barnard Women’s Center) secured a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant to digitize audiocassettes from Scholar and Feminist conferences, including the 1982 "Toward a Politics of Sexuality" themed conference. An inventory list is available on request