BC Participates in Chinese Women's Studies Project

BC Participates in Chinese Women's Studies Project

By Kathleen Sullivan
Staff Writer

Prof. Sharlene Hesse-Biber (Sociology) and graduate assistant Patricia Arend crossed borders literally and figuratively when they traveled with other Boston-based women's studies scholars to meet their Chinese counterparts last July.

"We were gathering information and ideas from them as much as they were from us," said Hesse-Biber, describing the workshop on teaching methodology and interdisciplinary gender studies held at Fudan University in Shanghai.

"When you cross disciplines, you have to give up your way of thinking and be more open to others' concept and ideas. It is an intellectual risk, but it is so invigorating. The workshop was a wonderful experience with a truly collaborative spirit."

Hesse-Biber attended the workshop as a member of the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies of Radcliffe College, a collaborative offering workshops and interdisciplinary graduate courses taught by faculty from Boston College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brandeis, Harvard, Northeastern and Tufts universities.

Last month at Radcliffe, Hesse-Biber and the other GCWS faculty members who traveled to China discussed the workshop experience and their work to build stronger, more internationally oriented women's studies programs.

The nearly 50 Chinese participants who attended the July workshop included faculty, deans and high-ranking administrators from universities throughout the country, said Hesse-Biber. Few of the Chinese scholars had ever met each other before, she noted.

The American and Chinese scholars discussed such topics as gender issues in Chinese society, K-12 education, labor issues and graduate student research. The Chinese delegates also expressed great interest in learning about American teaching styles, added Hesse-Biber.

A book of women's studies readings in Chinese will be published for the Chinese faculty members and an interactive World Wide Web site on the workshop has been established, she said.


Return to December 13 menu

Return to Chronicle home page