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Extra info for A Journey into Women’s Studies: Crossing Interdisciplinary Boundaries
I owe this support to Krishnaraj, who was then the editor, and to Padma Prakash, who was part of the weekly. While early on I wrote unsigned articles, it was much later that my name began to appear in the weekly. My writing for the journal spans many decades and is available in print. Our work at the research center was also facilitated when we were given staff of a professor, two readers, one lecturer and two research associates. Initially supported by the Ford Foundation, these posts were sanctioned by the state government on a permanent basis.
Developing that course changed my entire understanding of what “political” was. In the mid-1970s there were scarcely any books by political scientists on the comparative politics of women, so I drew heavily on wonderful new books being published then by young feminist historians – on women as textile and garment workers in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, and on the origins of British, Chinese and Russian women’s organizing and theorizing. This early reliance on feminist historians has had a lasting impact on my thinking: I’ve learned never to imagine that focusing on present-day events is sufﬁcient; causality has deep roots.
Sharon Krefetz was an American politics specialist, while I focused on comparative politics. Sharon and I didn’t look at all alike, yet male faculty colleagues routinely called each of us by the other’s name. Although women had not been admitted to Clark as undergraduates until the Second World War (to make up for the young men being drafted to ﬁght), the university did enjoy several attributes that made it hospitable to unconventional ideas. Unlike most New England colleges, Clark was thoroughly secular; it had no Christian chapel on campus.