LIVING IDEAS: THE TUMULTUOUS FOUNDING OF BERKELEY WOMEN'S STUDIESIn 1973, a graduate student at Berkeley began to organize women to lobby for a  major in a new field, women's studies.

LIVING IDEAS interweaves this story of academic change with the struggle to bring new feminist ideas into the personal realm; sex, love and relationships are central to the tale. It tells the story of a writer who needs solitude to write but is also devoted to change in the university.

The book traces the coming to feminism by a group of women full of great expectations. They also confront competition and jealousy.  They must deeply examine their own beliefs about women. The strife is especially severe when power is at stake.


Gloria Bowles picture





Theories of Women’s Studies
[with Renate Klein, 1983]

Strategies for Women’s Studies in the Eighties
[Editor, 1984]

Louise Bogan’s Aesthetic of Limitation

“A Quiet Struggle: Women’s Studies at Berkeley,”
Chronicle of the University of California [2002]

New Black Feminist Criticism, 1985–2000
by Barbara Christian [ed. Gloria Bowles, M. Giulia Fabi, and Arlene R. Keizer, [2007]

"... I know of no other sustained work like this. Grounded in selections from Bowles’s journals, it draws the reader back into an exciting era often mistakenly reduced to a few political slogans. This is a work rich with detail about the real life of a well-known feminist scholar as she struggled to integrate her personal, political and professional interests."

MARILYN JACOBY BOXER, Professor Emerita, History, San Francisco State University, author of When Women Ask the Questions: Creating Women’s Studies in America

"Living Ideas is a book with transformative power; it writes seamlessly a woman’s personal and professional experience in becoming a feminist and creating the women’s studies program at UC Berkeley..."

ROBIN LAKOFF, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

"For feminists who have worked on the frontiers of education, the wrenching issues investigated in Living Ideas are all too familiar. We all know the experience of energies drained from having to contend with treacheries, jealousies and power plays. Where, however, do we turn for a professional conversation to confirm what we suspect, that this experience is widespread rather than personal and private? Bowles’s book is the opening chapter in a necessary discourse among veteran pioneers and the new generation of “believers” to achieve perspective as we discuss strategies to enable the survival of creative, visionary people and the powerful programs they birth."

SUSAN GROVES, Founding Administrator, Women’s Studies, Berkeley High School; Teacher of History, 1962–98

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