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

Research Guide

Primary Sources Outside Barnard

Archive Grid logo, search string, and number of results (337)To identify institutional or capital A Archives, that is archives that are more likely to have the funding to be OCLC members, and/or the time and expertise to provide ArchiveGrid access to their finding aids. Per their about page, any archive may contribute, but in reality, many community, nonprofit, and outsider archives do not participate. 

Following are descriptions from handful of archives I contacted or was informed about directly, listed in alphabetical order. Many other archives, special collections, libraries, and cultural memory institutions will also have holdings. Researchers may need to search catalogs or finding aids or ask for guidance identifying materials at these other archives.

To find materials related to the Scholar & Feminist Conference IX, I recommend a catalog search for < barnard sex* conference >. One might also broaden out and look up < "feminist sex wars" OR "lesbian sex wars" > or the names of individuals prominently associated with the debate. (Ignore the brackets in my search strings, but not the punctuation or the capitalization. If you want to know more about them, learn about truncation, proximity, and Boolean searching.)

Buffalo State, E.H. Butler Library

Buffalo State, SUNY, E.H. Butler Library logoMadeline Davis LGBTQ Archive of Western New York. Davis attended the conference and audiotaped some of the sessions.

  • Politically Correct, Politically Incorrect Sexuality
  • Beyond the Gay/Straight Split: Do Sexual “Roles” (Butch/Femme) Transcend Sexual Preference?
  • Closing Speeches and Poems

Interference Archive

Interference Archive signInterference Archive archivist Jen Hoyer writes, "relevant material such as Heresies magazine; issues of the Coyote Howls newspaper; visual material produced by the Guerrilla Girls and the Sister Serpents; pamphlets and zines exploring gender, sexuality, and reproductive rights; and lots more!" The archive's catalog is down right now for a software upgrade. Once it is reinstated, researchers can use it, with the caveat that most of the collection is not yet represented in the catalog. Go visit the archive in Brooklyn, NY!

Lesbian Herstory Archives

Lesbian Herstory Archives logoThe Lesbian Herstory Archives has a search box set up to Google crawl the site, but few of the archive's holdings are represented digitally on the site.

Researchers can visit the collections page to get an idea of where to begin. The sexuality listing in the subject files includes a subcategory for "The Scholar and the Feminist IX: Towards a Politics of Sexuality," Conference, 1982, as well as Butch/Fem, Pat Califia, and S/M. There is also a file for Pornography. Joan Nestle's file contains Barnard content, and there are organizational files for the Lesbian Sex Mafia and Samois.

There is a separate Special Collections site that can be searched or browsed by date or the alphabet. They have an extensive collection of low distribution newsletters, many local to the New York City area.

The archive holds audio recordings of conference sessions: Politically Correct, Politically Incorrect session (SPW 1259), the Beyond the Gay/Straight Split session (SPW 1302 + 1584), and Rubin's Concepts for a Radical Politics of Sex (SPW 1530), and perhaps more. In addition, LHA has a recording of a planning meeting after the conference, with Vance, Rubin, Newton, Hollibaugh, etc.  in attendance (SPW 1526 + 1527), a recording of Nestle's phone interview with off our backs (SPW 1529), and a recording of the Lesbian Sex Mafia Speakout following the Barnard conference (1532 + 1533).

A search of their digital photographs collection for < barnard > yields 29 results, many of them related to Scholar & Feminist IX, notably Judith Butler and "Woman Holding Dildo" at the Lesbian Sex Mafia "Speakout on Politically Incorrect Sex" held the day after the conference. Barnard Sex Conference is a category, as is sex wars. The sex conference photos are by Morgan Gwenwald, who has additional photos in the collection.

Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women

Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women logo"The Feminist Theory Archive collects the papers of feminist theorists and scholars of difference in the United States and internationally, spanning from the 1970s to the present. For more information, visit the archive's webpage or view the libguide to the collection."

Kate Bornstein papers, 1910-2018

This collection consists of the papers of Kate Bornstein, performer, playwright, author, and transgender activist who graduated from Brown University as Albert Bornstein in 1969. The collection documents Bornstein's personal and professional life and trans activism, and includes biographical information, correspondence, diaries, conference material, draft writings, writings by other authors, subject files, print material, ephemera, photographs, and electronic records dating from 1910-2018. The collection is arranged into 13 series.
John Hay Library
Collection call no: MS.2018.010
Box 2 Folder 6   Correspondence; includes letter to Andrea Dworkin from Lauren Wilson re: transsexual persons and pornography, 1994

Doane (Mary Ann) papers, 1966-2009

The Mary Ann Doane papers represent forty years of education, research, and professional activity. The collection emphasizes Doane's academic training as a feminist film scholar through notebooks and essays that date from high school through her doctoral studies. Another portion of the collection presents notes and drafts of publications, including the books
John Hay Library
Collection call no: MS.2011.020
Box 7 Folder 35 "The Scholar and the Feminist IX: Towards a Politics of Sexuality" Conference, Notes and Correspondence," 1982

Jodi L. Glass papers, 1978-2002

The Jodi L. Glass papers provide rich documentation of the inner workings of feminist organizations and movements in Rhode Island and beyond. Included in the collection are the correspondence, essays, news clippings, legislation, agendas, and minutes of a number of groups and movements, including the Rhode Island Feminist Chorus, Feminist Resources Unlimited and the anti-pornography movement.
Scope and Content:
... the pornography debates of the late 1970s and 1980s, including those by AndreaDworkin and Catharine MacKinnon ... the Minneapolis Anti-pornography Ordinance hearings (with testimonies from AndreaDworkin, Catharine MacKinnon...
John Hay Library
Collection call no: Ms.2008.022
Box 1 folder 48 The Reasons Why: Essays on the New Civil Rights Law Recognizing Pornography as Sex Discrimination - Essays by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, 1985
Box 1 folder 49 Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, 1988
Box 4 folder 11 CD: "Conversation with Andrea Dworkin" 1991

On Our Backs archive, 1983-1995

The magazine "On Our Backs," was the first women-run lesbian erotica magazine in the United States, founded in 1984. The collection includes documentation about the magazine and the Blush Entertainment company which also owned Fatale Video and produced lesbian erotica videos.
John Hay Library
Collection call no: Ms.2005.26
Box 1, Folder 54 Dworkin, Andrea 1987


Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History, Duke University

Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History & CultureBingham Center Research Services and Collection Development Librarian Kelly Wooten has gotten questions about the sex conference so often, that in 2014 she created and updates a list of collections to refer researchers to:

The Sex Wars, the Barnard Conference, and Women Against Pornography (WAP)

Dorothy Allison Papers

  • Material on Lesbian sexuality & s/m throughout collection
  • “Women Who Hate Me”- book of poetry in response to targeting by WAP in reaction to Barnard Conference
  • WAP news report in the Dorothy Allison papers box 25

Robin Morgan papers
Anti-porn files in box S17 are related to Woman Against Porn.

Alix Kates Shulman papers, box PW1/LW1- file on WAP

Cookie Teer has some materials, box 34-35, maybe others- looks like she has the most material and would have been involved or supportive of WAP. She was in Chapel Hill and did similar work.

Irene Peslikis has a folder on WAP in box 23

Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance, probably newsletter or mailings- box 9 (1 folder on WAP)

There's another folder of newsletters in box 45 of the ALFA periodicals

Women’s & LGBT periodicals collection

  • Women Against Pornography Newsreport, Fall 1982, Vol. 5, no. 1-2; Vol. 8, no. 1-2 Box 78
  • There's another anti-pornography newsletter in that same box.

Kate Millett papers
Barnard conference in Box W5

Sara Evans- Box 9 has folder on Barnard Conference

Ann Snitow Papers
Box 22

The Women's Library@LSE

London School of Economics and Political Science logoThanks Rachel Corbman for tipping me off to this collection. One may conclude that you never know which archives will have sex wars holdings!

Papers of Elizabeth Wilson and Angela [Weir] Mason