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Marxist-Feminist Group records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: SSC-MS-00787

Scope and Contents

Marxist-Feminist Group biographies and meeting materials, including notes, presentations, publications, articles, and mailing lists.

Dates of Materials

  • 1973-2000

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to scholarly work published by members of the group is retained by the group's respective members. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

To the extent that she owned copyright, Susan Tracy has dedicated copyright in Marxist-Feminist Group materials created jointly by the group's respective members during the course of the group's business to the public domain. This agreement is governed by a CC0 (Creative Commons 1.0 Universal) public domain dedication. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by the Marxist-Feminist Group, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical Note

The Marxist-Feminist Group wad founded in the early 1970s by women scholars dissatisfied with the sexist treatment they received as members of the Union of Radical Political Economists, a group whose membership included men and women. According to Susan Tracy, while the Union was cognizant of race, women experienced hostility from the male membership who were not interested in connections between women’s economic and social lives. The women economists sidelined at professional conferences because of their politics and concerns.

The Marxist-Feminist Group reflected the radical politics and increasingly radical feminism of its founders, many of whom were friends. The majority were young white Marxist economist academics, graduate students or junior faculty, as well as some historians, who met to exchange papers and discuss recent publications, while supporting each other as Marxist feminists. Known to themselves as M-F 1, M-F 2 and M-F 3 (the New Haven, Boston and New York City groups, respectively), fearing red-baiting, the group's public name was the Northeastern Feminist Women's Conference. According to historian Sara Evans, "the membership lists of the Marxist-feminist discussion groups reads like a who's who of feminist scholarship," including Linda Gordon, Alice Kessler-Harris, Blanche Wiesen Cook, and Joan Kelly ("Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century's End,"p. 165), Julie Matthaei (Wellesley), Nan Wiegersma (formerly Fitchburg), Laurie Nisonoff (graduate student at Yale, eventually Hampshire), Roz Feldberg (historian, and a graduate student at that time), Heidi Hartmann (Capitalism and Patriarchy.)

According to Tracy, who entered the group in late 1980s through Laurie Nisonoff at Hampshire, the original group started meeting regularly as graduate students at Yale, reading and sharing various texts to educate themselves. In mid-1970s, as they began getting hired and dispersed to other institutions, they wanted to continue these conversations, and began meeting 1-2 times per year for that purpose. They began finding other like-minded people at their respective institutions, and the group grew. At the beginning of their careers, they were “trying to figure out capitalism, sexism and racism.” While there were many existing intellectual traditions around capitalism, women’s history had been obscured and although writing and reading had been done on race, the leftist analysis favored class over other categories. The group wanted to work toward a more intersectional analysis.

The meeting structure evolved over time. By the 1990s, the group would decide on topics and volunteers would present in facilitated meetings. Between meetings, readings or article suggestions would go out and members communicated between meetings by letter and phone calls. Membership evolved as well. Early on they decided that they needed to include historians and anthropologists among the economists. They actively recruited women of color and added several women from the Middle East. By the time Tarcy joined in 1988 there were “probably 15 people who attended regularly,” but they maintained a much larger mailing list.

For first 15-20 years the group “operated a bit in the shadows,” according to Tracy, because of the scholars' anxiety about their careers, especially around tenure. They were hestitant to advertise themselves as Marxists. Many joined this group because of a desire to be politically active and members played a role in transforming institutions of higher education in various ways. Group members were also involved in union drives, in establishing women’s studies centers and programs, influencing curriculum based on leftist/feminist/anti-racist values, and arguing for the hiring and admission of faculty and students of color.

Extent

0.438 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Founded in the early 1970s by several women dissatisfied with the sexist treatment they received as members of the Union of Radical Political Economists, the Marxist-Feminist Group reflected the radical politics and increasingly radical feminism of its founders. The collection contains Marxist-Feminist Group biographies and meeting materials, including notes, presentations, publications, articles, and mailing lists.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Susan Tracy, 2017.

Accruals

Periodic accruals may be added to the collection.

Related Materials

Linda Gordon Papers, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy Papers, Tucker Pamela Farley papers

Title
Finding aid to the Marxist-Feminist Group records.
Status
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-02-07: Updated to conform to current standards

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063