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A Chronology of the Development of Women's Studies in Canada: the 1970's

[ 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 ]

    bullet At the University of British Columbia, the Women's Office Collective, with a few faculty and key community organizers, obtains an Opportunities for Youth grant which funds the planning and implementation of a non-credit Women's Studies course entitled "The Canadian Woman: Our Story."
    bullet At the University of Toronto, the first Women’s Studies course is "Women: Oppression and Liberation," first taught in 1970-71 by a collective of 13 women's liberation activists.
    bullet At Sir George Williams (later Concordia) University, Greta Hoffman Nemirof and Christine Allen (now Sister Prudence Allen) offered the first Women’s Studies course in a Canadian University in the fall of 1970. It was an inter-disciplinary course ( Nemiroff was in the English Department and Allen was in the Philosophy Department), drawing on the disciplines of the teachers, but also on the scant available literature in other disciplines. While it started as a critique of patriarchal knowledge, within the next 2 or 3 years, more woman-centered written material was becoming available, and the course proceeded more in the mode of formulating feminist knowledge. Shortly after, other discipline-based Women’s Studies courses were offered at Sir George Williams.
    bullet At McGill University, the first Women’s Studies course is taught by Marlene Dixon.
    bullet At the University of Waterloo, the Department of Sociology hires Margrit Eichler; amongst the courses she develops is the Department’s first course in sex roles, offered in 1970-71.
    bullet Université de Montréal - Cours sur la criminalité féminine et l’image de la femme (offert au niveau maîtrise et doctorat) au Dépt. De criminologie. La Service d’education permanente a organisé une série de cours intitulée "Les femmes quant elles écrivent” qui a débuté en Sept. 70.
    bullet At the University of Guelph, Joanna Boehnert begins teaching a "Psychology of Women” course in September 1970.

    bullet A Women’s Studies Program is initiated at University of British Columbia in 1971-72, reportedly "by students.” It is attended by approximately 200 women and men. A list of courses in the Faculty of Arts covering different aspects of Women’s Studies is handed out to students at registration. The Daytime Program of the Centre for Continuing Education instituted a Women’s Resource Centre to assist with entry into education or the labour market.
    bullet Loyola College offers a Women’s Studies Program in 1971-72, comprising courses in Social English, Comparative Literature, History, and Interdisciplinary Studies. One of the faculty involved in Margret Anderson, who teaches French and Women’s Studies.
    bullet The Student Union of the University of Manitoba, in co-operation with the "Winnipeg Women’s Lib.,” organized evening classes in 71-72 on the theme of Women’s Studies, through the Free University program.
    bullet An early University of Toronto course (1971-72) is FSW 200, "Women and Society," taught by a collective comprised of "graduate students, community activists, various stripes of feminists, and one faculty member. There were about 200 attending in the first year; when it was opened to the public a few years later, about 500 attended per week.”
    bullet A history course entitled "The History of Women" (HIS 348) is taught by Jill Ker Conway and Natalie Zemon Davis at New College, St. George Campus, University of Toronto.
    bullet A credit course called "The Geography of Gender," is offered at Simon Fraser University in 1971.
    bullet University of Victoria, through its Division of Continuing Education, offers a non-credit course entitled "A Woman’s Place: The Role of Women in Canadian Society.”
    bullet The Department of History, St. Patrick’s College (originally a liberal arts college, joined Carleton University in 1979) offers "Women and Society in Britain and North America 1750 to the present. The Psychology Department offers a half course on "Psychology of Women.”
    bullet Two curses are offered in 1971 in the Sociology Department, Brandon University, Manitoba, on "Women in Society” and on social issues.
    bullet On the Sydney Campus of St. Francis Xavier University, an experimental course entitled "Women Today” is given in 1971.
    bullet Laurentian University offers two courses in 1971-72: "Women in Literature” (English) and "Women in Society (Sociology).

    bullet L’UQAM offre le premier cours en études féministes dans le réseau francophone canadien. Intitulé « Histoire de la condition féminine » , le cours est dispensé en « team teaching » par près d'une vingtaine de professeurs-es et de chargées de cours. Le cours est suivi par plus de 200 étudiantes et étudiants. D’emblée, ce cours instaurait une tradition d’interdisciplinarité et d’innovation pédagogique qui caractérisera le développement des études féministes à l’UQAM.
    bullet A proposal is put forward for an interdisciplinary program in Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia, and is initially met with considerable animosity.
    bullet York University offers its first Women's Studies course, "Concepts of the Male and Female in the West," taught by Johanna Stuckey.
    bullet Humber College offers a Women’s Studies course in 1972.
    bullet McMaster University in 1971-72 offers "Sex Roles and Social Structure,” through the Faculty of Social Science.
    bullet The Canadian Newsletter of Research on Women/Recherches sur la Femme-Bulletin d'Information Canadien begins publishing. The founding editors are: Margrit Eichler, Sociology, University of Waterloo; Marylee Stephenson, Sociology, Windsor University. The first newsletter came out with a subsidy of $50 [sic] from the department of Sociology to cover mailing costs. The rest of the work, including all the secretarial work, was done by volunteers. The publication later receives funding from the Honourable Marc Lalonde in his capacity as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in Canada and the Secretary of State, Women's Programmes. When Margrit Eichler moves to OISE in 1975, she brings the newsletter along with her; it is still located at OISE (2002), now under the name of Resources for Feminist Research/ Documentation sur la recherche féministe.
    bullet University of Alberta, Department of Sociology, institutes a new course "Sociology of Women.”
    bullet Two courses focusing on women are taught at Sir George Williams University: Nature of Women--Historic Attitudes, and Nature of Women--Recent Approaches.
    bullet A non-credit course on "Women in Literature” is offered in the fall at Simon Fraser University.
    bullet A non-credit course entitled "Women Today” is given in 1972 at Xavier College, NS.
    bullet St. Thomas University offers a non-credit course on women as part of a Winter Workshop program.The six sessions cover (1) Roles Women Play (Kate Stroud, Sociology); (2) Images of Women: Literature, Media and Advertising (Jacqui Good, English); (3) Sexuality; (4) The Economics of Women’s Position (Joan McFarland, Economics); (5) Women and the Law; (6) Equal to What? Women’s Liberation and Beyond (Jane Likely, History).
    bullet Senate at University of Manitoba "recently” (i.e. 1972-73 academic year) approved two interdisciplinary 3-credit-hour courses in the Faculty of Arts in Women’s Studies, as well as 6-credit-hour courses in "Psychology of Oppression,” and in Religious Studies "Ethics and Sexuality” and "Gods and Goddesses.” The Faculty of Home Economics offers courses in "Family Studies,” and the Dean of Women organized a non-credit series of lectures.
    bullet Université de Montréal, programme de cours consacrés aux différents aspects des questions féminines prévu pour 1972.
    bullet University of Saskatchewan offers a non-degree course "Women in Literature” through the Extension Department.

    bullet Five undergraduate courses in Women’s Studies are approved and offered at the University of British Columbia, thus making it the “first academically credited women’s studies program in Canada.” In the academic year 1973-74, 80 students enroll in the interdisciplinary lecture series developed by Annette Kolodny (English), Meredith Kimball (Psychology), Dorothy Smith (Sociology), and Helga Jacobson (Anthropology). Guest lecturers include Jean Elder (History) and Marvin Lazerson (Education).
    bullet Drawing on its history as a women's college and in line with its primary mission--the education of women--Mount Saint Vincent University offers its first interdisciplinary Women's Studies course, at the 300-level. (Its Senate approves a Major in Women's Studies apparently in the following decade, 1984.) The course, 360 "Perspectives on Women," taught by Sr. Catherine Wallace, Department of Psychology, is "An interdisciplinary study of women in the modern world using the resources of the following departments: English, history, home economics, political studies, psychology, religious studies, and sociology. One source claims that in this year a Department of Women's Studies was set up at MSVU, thus making it the first such department in a Canadian university.
    bullet Lois Vallely and Lorette Woosley Toews are instrumental in establishing the first interdisciplinary Women’s Studies course at Acadia University. It is entitled “Women in the Modern World.”
    bullet The University of Toronto, Department of Sociology offers "Women in Society” and a non-credit course "The Second Sex” is offered through Continuing Education-Extension. The Dept. of Sociology offers a specialization in sex roles for PhD Comprehensives. At the Scarborough Campus, "Images of Women in French Literature” and "Women’s Consciousness in French Literature” are offered.
    bullet Université Laval sets up a Women’s Studies program and also creates the GREMF (le Groupe de recherche multidisciplinaire féministe).
    bullet The first for credit Women's Studies course at St. Thomas University, entitled "Women in Society--a Socio-Economic Perspective," is co-taught by Joan McFarland, Economics, and Kathleen Driscoll, Sociology. Other "founding mothers" of Women's Studies include: Nela Rio (Spanish), Jill Valery (French), Claudia Whalen (Psychology), Tish Thornton (English), Peter Weeks (Sociology), Marilee Reimer (Sociology), Sylvia Hale (Sociology), JoAnne Elder (French), and Sheila Andrew (History).
    bullet The University of Waterloo offers six courses in Humanities and Social Sciences which pertain to women: Women in Anthropology; Women in Literature; Men, Women and Families in Modern History; Sociology of Women; Seminar in Sociology of Women; The Behavioural Development of Women.
    bullet University of Windsor offers one course in the Sociology of Women.
    bullet York University (Downsview) offers one social science course on Women and Society and (Glendon) a course on Women in History.


    bullet Women’s Studies Minor Program is approved by the University Senate of Simon Fraser University.
    bullet Laurentian University offers two courses “Women and Literature” and “Women and Religion” which probably date to 1975.
    bullet Carleton University establishes an Interfaculty Committee on Women's Studies.
    bullet At OISE, Margrit Eichler teaches the first course on women.

    bullet Création du Groupe interdisciplinaire d’enseignement et de recherche sur la condition des femmes (GIERF). À sa fondation, le GIERF réunissait une quinzaine d’enseignantes en provenance de divers champs disciplinaires et départements. Conçu à l’origine comme un groupe de travail, son mandat au fil des ans s’est précisé autour des trois objectifs suivants : 1. assurer le développement d’une banque de cours dans les différentes disciplines représentées ; 2. promouvoir la recherche interdisciplinaire sur la situation des femmes et les rapports de sexe ; 3. favoriser les rapports de collaboration avec les groupes de femmes.
    bullet In January, Simon Fraser University, the first course in Women’s Studies, WS 101 - introduction to Women’s Studies, is offered. Forty students enroll.

    bullet At Laurentian University, a new course “Women in Society” (later changed to Introduction to Women’s Studies) is offered for the first time.

    bullet Trent University offers a third-year Sociology course entitled Women, Men, and Society, taught by Alena Heitlinger.
    bullet The Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University is founded "to promote the understanding of the historical and contemporary situation of women in society." The Institute's Women's Studies program is thus "the oldest in Québec and one of the oldest in Canada."
    bullet Jeanne Sabourin, Coordinator of the Women's Centre at the University of Ottawa, publishes the university's first Women's Studies booklet. It outlines courses in disciplines such as English, history, Lettres françaises, philosophy, religious studies, psychology, linguistics, common law, and sociology. The "foremothers" of Ottawa's Women's Studies Program, who are teaching courses during the 1970s, include: Caroline Andrew, Marie Couillard, Ann B. Denis, Marie-Laure Girou-Swiderski, Naomi Goldenberg, Danielle Juteau-Lee, Andrée Lévesque, Monique Lortie-Lussier, Susan Mann, and Lorraine McMullen.