Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 3, Issue 1
fall 2012
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Kimberly Goff-Crews: A Course that Mattered

by Yanan Wang, ‘15 and Suzanna Fritzberg, ‘14

When newly hired Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews first arrived at Yale as an undergraduate in 1983, the campus was going through a period of upheaval and civic change. “It was the tail end of the 60’s, 70’s feminist movements,” Goff-Crews recalls. “There was an overlap of conversations on many college campuses about not only the women’s movement but also the black feminist movement.” She vividly remembers when luminaries like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker first stepped into the public sphere, when Yale hosted the first conference on black feminist writers and when the first black women’s group was created at the University.

“The canon was changing,” Goff-Crews remarked. “There were all sorts of questions about our sense of self as women and as feminists.” This sense of self was one that Goff-Crews cultivated in Professor Margaret Homans’ feminist literature class. She said this was the first time she seriously read books written by women and paid attention to them as literature. The ideas imbibed and internalized in that seminar have stuck with her, and Goff-Crews notes that Homans’ class was an intellectual space in which female students felt comfortable. The significance of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Goff-Crews said, is “as a woman, it’s important to understand your place in history—it’s a way of understanding yourself.”

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