IRWGS oral history collection (CCOHR), 2014-2015

Project: IRWGS Oral History Project

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In 2012, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGS) approached the Columbia Center for Oral History Research about embarking on an oral history project that would document the growth and development of feminism at Columbia. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, IRWGS sought a way to trace its contributions to feminist scholarship and its role within the larger context of Columbia University as a source of intellectual leadership.

The IRWGS Oral History Project was guided by a set of research questions, which emphasized the role of IRWGS as an political actor within the broader context of Columbia University, agitating for the inclusion of feminist analysis and practice, and working to do so, in its early years, without much institutional support from the university. As the project progressed, questions expanded to explore issues of generation, activism, the developments within feminism(s), evidence of increasing support of IRWGS by the university, and the challenge of addressing diversity, sexuality and other forms of social difference theoretically and as professional practice.

Interviews were conducted between 2014-2015 with current and past directors of IRWGS, affiliated and allied faculty, administrators, and students. Interviewers conducted 68 sessions with 36 individuals—over 90 hours of recordings—including 9 sessions recorded on video.