Newsletter Fall, 2003

Volume 9, Number 1

President’s Report

Miriam Bailin

In preparation for writing these remarks, I looked at the former AWF Newsletters available on our website and found there a record of commitment and hard work on the part of previous presidents, members of the executive board, and other participating members that I hadn’t been sufficiently aware of. As a member of the organization since its inception, I have paid my dues, gone to the Fall Teas, attended a few of the Brown Bag Lunches and participated in the work of one of the committees. Yet, I scarcely thought of how those rooms were booked and panels organized; how the newsletters were produced; how the committees operated and how they were staffed. I thank those who have spent years making sure that AWF continues to be a significant presence in the life of our institution.

Voluntary organizations cannot always depend on the same levels of energy and commitment year after year, but I hope that we don’t lose sight of the essential work the organization is doing. The Mentoring Task Force, the Report on the Status of Women, the Lecturer Policy, the Family Leave Policy were all AWF initiatives. We have time and again prodded the administration into taking steps that have changed institutional norms to accommodate the changes in society that have been taking place for decades. It is my feeling that these initiatives should not be left to a voluntary body of concerned and self-motivated women faculty. We should, as a university of distinction, be vigorously pursuing means of responding to the different needs and perspectives of the diverse faculty that it is our stated intention to recruit and retain. Until that happens, or is more fully implemented, the Association of Women Faculty has an important role to perform, and I encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way she can.

I am very glad to have the opportunity to serve as president of AWF this year. Perhaps all of us who have filled this position have felt a certain amount of trepidation at taking on added responsibilities, but aside from catering arrangements, my activities as president have brought me into productive and pleasurable contact with people I might never have met, forms of action I would never have engaged in, and a sense of accomplishment (or at least accomplishment-in-process) that augments my work in teaching, writing and family life in very satisfying ways.

Committee Reports

Executive Board Report

Miriam Bailin

The AWF Executive Board has met twice this year. At the meetings, we drafted letters to Mark Wrighton and Ed Macias outlining our plans for the investigation into the retention and satisfaction of women faculty. The board also discussed ideas for our Brown Bag Forums. We decided to put the membership directory online rather than produce the hard copy in order to save time and expense. The website is currently under reconstruction; we are employing a graduate student in computer science to make the site more usable and attractive. When that work is complete, we encourage our members to bookmark the website and to refer to it for events information, important links to policies and other sites of interest, for former issues of the AWF Newsletter and for an up-to-date membership directory.

Workplace Issues Committee

Miriam Bailin

As Fatemeh Keshavarz reports below, we have held two panel discussions this fall, the first of which inaugurated a new AWF committee on workplace issues. There are currently 10 members of this committee from the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Art, Law, Social Work, and Medicine. We have met as a committee three times and once with Dean Macias. The committee has been collecting information on the policies of other universities regarding workplace issues and the retention of faculty. We have been in touch with both Chancellor Wrighton and Executive Vice-Chancellor Macias, who have offered their support for our efforts. We are engaged in the process of developing a survey for both current and former faculty members that will address issues of retention and workplace satisfaction. When I reported on our committee at the AWF/AWN Fall Dinner and at the AWN Board Meeting, I was assured of the support of AWN in this endeavor.

Brown Bag Forums

Fatemeh Keshavarz

On Friday, September 26, AWF held its first Brown Bag of the year. In light of the fact that a number of women faculty left the university this year, the discussion focused on the retention of women faculty. The discussion was led by Linda Nicholson (Women and Gender Studies) and Susan Appleton (School of Law). Linda explained that institutions of higher education are trying to adjust to the fact that academic women no longer consider their career secondary to that of their partner. Susan stressed the importance of an effective spousal hiring policy and the impact it has had on retention of faculty in the School of Law. The more women present on the faculty, she observed, the easier it is to retain other women. Childcare and leave policies, work environment, spousal hiring, compensation, research support, opportunity hire funds and other policies were considered vital for retaining women faculty. At the end of the session, a new AWF committee—the Workplace Issues Committee—was formed. The committee, chaired by current AWF President Miriam Bailin, is comprised of women faculty from all schools on the Hilltop Campus. It plans to conduct interviews with women faculty who have left Washington University in the past ten years. Members will also review policies adopted by other institutions to retain women faculty. The committee is planning to make recommendations for retention of women faculty to the university.

The Second AWF Brown Bag on November 14 was well-attended. The topic was “Issues Facing Women in the Administration.” Four women administrators—Elzbieta Sklodowska (Chair, Romance Languages & Literatures), Cynthia Weese (Dean, School of Architecture), Gerhild Williams (Chair, German; Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs), and Barbara Schaal (Former Chair, Biology)—discussed their wide-ranging experience in administrative positions. All addressed the following: the appropriate time for accepting administrative responsibility, the need for new chairs to receive some form of training, issues in mentoring junior faculty, learning to be effective leaders, negotiating with the administration, and department-specific matters. Other topics were: support received from other women, the impact of gender on issues facing women in the administration, and the need for the presence of more women in higher administrative roles.

Member News

Lisa Baldez (formerly in Political Science) recently accepted a position at Dartmouth College. She is now Associate Professor (with tenure) in Government and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies. Her new email address is .

Lara Bovilsky (English) published her article “Black Beauties, White Devils: The English Italian in Milton and Webster,” in the Fall 2003 volume of ELH. In 2002, Lara chaired two panels, and presented papers in each, at the annual meetings of the Shakespeare Association and the Modern Language Association: “Renaissance Animalities” and “Beastly Measures: Animal Work in Early Modern Texts.”

Elizabeth Childs (Art History & Archaeology) has been involved with various observances of the centenary of Paul Gauguin, who died in Polynesia in 2003. Four of her articles on Gauguin have appeared in fall 2003: one on Gauguin’s manuscript “L’esprit moderne et le catholicisme” (for the exhibition catalogue “Gauguin: Tahiti, l’atelier des Tropiques” at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris); an essay on Gauguin and colonial photography (proceedings of the symposium “Héritage et Confrontations” held at the University of French Polynesia, Papeete); “Gauguin as author: Writing the Studio of the Tropics” for the Journal of the Van Gogh Museum; and an essay on Gauguin and the ethnographic grotesque for the Anthology Modern Art and the Grotesque (Cambridge University Press). In addition, she lectured this fall on “The Lure of Provence: Van Gogh and the Studio of the South” at St. Louis University; on “Interpreting Daumier” at the Block Museum at Northwestern University; and she will give a paper “Absence et illusion: le réinvention de Tahiti” at the international Gauguin symposium at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in December.

Mary Ann Dzuback (Education) published her article”Gender and the Politics of Knowledge” in the summer 2003 issue of The History of Education Quarterly. Mary Ann presented a paper entitled “Social Science in the Colleges” at the Social Science History Association meeting in Baltimore in November 2003.

Marilyn Friedman (Philosophy) has just had her edited volume of conference proceedings, “Women and Citizenship,” accepted for publication by Oxford University Press. This volume was based on a conference of the same name held at Washington University in April 2002 and features papers by Joan Scott, Iris Young, Alison Jaggar, Joan Tronto, Martha Ackelsberg, Amina Wadud, Suad Joseph, Martha Nussbaum, Sandra Bartky and Aida Hurtado.

Sally Goldman (Computer Science and Engineering) has received a three-year, $314,999 grant from the National Science Foundation for her study, “Applying Multiple-Instance Learning to Content-Based Image Retrieval.”

Cindy Grimm (Computer Science and Engineering) and Bobby Boddenheimer (Computer Science, Vanderbilt University) co-hosted the first Mid-west Computer Graphics Conference, attended by 42 people from 8 universities in November. The goal of the workshop was to build a sense of community among Computer Graphics research groups in universities located in the Midwest, most of which are only one to four years old. More information can be found at

Emma Kafalenos (Comparative Literature) spoke on “Effects of Sequence, Embedding and Ekphrasis in Poe’s ‘The Oval Portrait'” at a conference in October at Ohio State University. The conference, Contemporary Narrative Theory: The State of the Field, brought together invited contributors to a forthcoming volume in the Blackwell Companion Series on narrative theory and provided a forum for interchange and suggestions prior to finalizing drafts of essays. Emma has also recently contributed entries on “Indeterminacy” and “Photography” for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory to be published in 2004.

Cathy Keane (Classics) gave two talks this year on her current research focus, the Roman satirist Juvenal: “Making Satire in Juvenal 15” for Yale University’s Department of Classics in February and “Unraveling Philosophy in Juvenal’s Fifth Book” for the University of Missouri’s Department of Classics in November. A third paper, titled “Theatre, Spectacle and the Satirist in Juvenal,” was accepted for publication in the journal Phoenix. She has been nominated for a Harrington Fellowship at the University of Texas for the academic year 2004-2005.

Bonnie Kruger (Performing Arts) was the Assistant Costume Designer for a $25,000,000 feature period soccer film, “Game of Their Lives,” shot in St. Louis and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over the summer. The film is based on the novel by Geoffrey Davis that recounts the true story of the hastily assembled American soccer team (many of whom grew up on the Hill) that pulled off one of the sporting world’s most stunning upsets, defeating the powerhouse English in the 1950’s World Cup. It is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2004.

Rebecca Messbarger (Romance Languages and Literatures) spoke about her book The Century of Women: Representations of Women in Eighteenth-Century Italian Public Discourse (U. Toronto Press, 2002) at Washington University’s Celebrating Our Authors event in December. She presented “Inter-sections: Anatomist Anna Morandi Manzolini’s Network of Patronage” at the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies at UCLA in August 2003, and published “Re-membering a Body of Work: Anatomist and Anatomical Designer Anna Morandi Manzolini” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 2002.

Rebecca Rogers (Education) will be awarded the Edward Fry Book Award at the National Reading Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in December for her book A Critical Discourse Analysis of Family Literacy Practices: Power In and Out of Print (Erlbaum, 2003). The national award is given to research that makes an outstanding contribution to literacy research. Rogers’ new book, An Introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis in Education, is due out in December (Erlbaum, 2003).

Amy Shen (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) established her lab this summer, named “Soft Matter Lab,” where she conducts research interfacing complex fluids with materials science and microbiology. The lab is capable of fabricating microfluidic devices to study droplet formation, plant cell/protein motion and cell deformation. Amy was awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, May 2003, and the Gallery of Fluid Motion video award, American Physical Society, Fluid Dynamics Division, Nov. 2003. She published “Granular wave patterns and aeolian ripple formations” in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.

Susan Stiritz (Women and Gender Studies) presented three papers at the spring meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in Boston, June, 2003: “A New Psychology of the Clitoris,””Artemisia Gentileschi’s Narratives: Reflections of Maternal Contributions to Creativity;” and “Transforming Feminine Categories: Genealogies of Virginity and Sainthood,” (Honorable Mention, Affiliate Council Scientific Paper Prize, co-authored by Britt-Marie Schiller, Webster University).


Women & Gender Studies

Linda Nicholson

Last spring, the Program in Women and Gender Studies hosted its annual end-of-school year panel and reception. The topic of the panel was “Beauty and the Body” and the speakers were Barbara Baumgartner, Jennifer Grusby and Rebecca Lester.

This fall, Women and Gender Studies, the Olin Fellowship Program and the Sesquicentennial Committee hosted a panel on “The History of Women at Washington University.” The panel participants were students who had taken a course with Mary Ann Dzuback during the spring of 2003 on “Women in Higher Education and the Professions.” For that course, students did research on some aspect of the history of women at Washington University and presented the results of that research at the panel. The students who made the presentations were: Carmen Brooks, Elizabeth DelCarmen, Hannah Grossman, Craig Pirner and Justine Preston.

During April 2004, Women and Gender Studies will co-sponsor a production of “My Left Breast,” a play about one woman’s struggle with breast cancer. The play is being produced by City Theater of St. Louis and will be performed at Fontbonne University’s black box theater on April 2nd and 3rd at 8 p.m. and on April 4th at 2 p.m.

New Hire

Jere Confrey recently joined the faculty as Professor of Education. She was last at the University of Texas at Austin, and her work on research design focuses on mathematics teaching and learning.

AWF Website

We are in the process of redesigning the AWF Web site to make it more aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable. The AWF Directory has also been added. Any suggestions for improvements or URLs of valuable websites should be sent to Sally Goldman at

A Book of Interest to AWF Members

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever (Princeton University Press 2003).

Excerpt from the book…

A few years ago, when Linda was serving as the director of the Ph.D. program at her school, a delegation of women graduate students came to her office. Many of the male graduate students were teaching courses of their own, the women explained, while most of the female graduate students had been assigned to work as teaching assistants to regular faculty. Linda agreed that this didn’t sound fair, and that afternoon she asked the associate dean who handled teaching assignments about the women’s complaint. She received a simple answer: “I try to find teaching opportunities for any student who approaches me with a good idea for a course, the ability to teach, and a reasonable offer about what it will cost,” he explained. “More men ask. The women just don’t ask.”