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Women at ODU : Builders of Communities & Dreams

Excerpt from:

Oral History Interview with Dr. Dorothy Johnson

Norfolk, Virginia
September 29, 1980 (page 3)
by Vicky Sanderlin, Old Dominion University

Sanderlin: In the capacity of organizer and advisor for the Women's Studies Program, what have been the successful endeavors of this program?

Johnson: I am an organizer, not the organizer because Carolyn Rhodes is the prime person in getting the Women's Studies Program going. We did get a grant from the National Endowment of Humanities to launch the program. It is a success. We have a speakers' program going that attracts good audiences. I think our presence on campus, like the presence of the Faculty Women's Caucus, makes the campus itself more aware of women and the need to recognize women equally with men. We still have problems, of course. One of our big problems is trying to get people to incorporate women into their regular classes. We haven't found a way to do this yet because there is a problem of getting them to do this voluntarily. You can't interfere with academic freedom.

Sanderlin: Do you think Women's Studies is a fad?

Johnson: No - but maybe there is a question of how you define a fad. As long as women are not adequately treated in regular courses, then there will be a demand for Women's Studies courses. Even after they are more adequately treated in regular courses, I think there will still be room for the program. For example, a course in women's history will give a better understanding of the whole complex of women's history. Women are more conscious of themselves now and not so ready just to find their identity through courses that almost entirely consider men.

See full interview.

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