Not Waving but Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning....
Not Drowning But Waving: Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts Conference
Stollery Executive Development Centre
University of Alberta
October 12-14, 2006
"Not Drowning But Waving: Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts" has two objectives: to celebrate the career and achievements of Dr. Patricia Clements, the first female Dean of Arts at the University of Alberta, and to provide the first sustained opportunity to evaluate the achievements of feminism in relation to liberal arts scholarship, teaching, and administration over the last twenty-five years. The liberal arts are here understood to encompass the humanities, the social sciences, and the fine arts, and the conference features speakers from a broad range of disciplines including literary studies, sociology, nursing, philosophy, women's studies, drama, political science, religious studies, art, and anthropology. The papers that will be presented at the conference can be grouped into six broad categories or themes: women in academic administration; feminist pedagogy; feminist scholarship and research; the history of feminism; women and new digital technologies; and the relations between academic feminism and the broader community. Each of these themes is interdisciplinary in nature, and each panel has representatives from more than one discipline.
In spite of the increasing role of women in the university, a key conference objective is to ask whether feminist work has had sufficient impact on the academic culture generally and on the culture of the liberal arts in particular. While great advances have been made in feminist scholarship (in recovering women's history and literature, in theorizing women's citizenship in an era of globalization, etc), recent debates about the number of Canada Research Chairs apportioned to women, about the "corporatiziation" of the university, about the numbers of women in senior administrative roles and in the senior professorial ranks suggest that much work remains to be done in improving what used to be called the "climate" for women academics and students.
This will be the first sustained opportunity to evaluate the achievements of feminism in relation to the liberal arts, especially in Canada.