BY CHRISTINE OVERALL
In this paper, I want to talk about women's studies in the university setting, their values and goals, their place in the university curriculum, and what they offer to students. I shall approach these topics by discussing the transition now under way (partial and incomplete though it is) from men's studies to women's studies, and the essential connection of women's studies with feminism.
What are men's studies? One is unlikely to see them offered, under that label, in a syllabus. But men's studies are what we have all been learning for most of our lives. Knowledge created by men, about men, and for men is the staple diet of education at all levels. Although generally referred to by such neutral, innocuous, and misleading labels as "knowledge", "learning", "education", and "scholarship", men's studies have nevertheless both a specific subject matter and a definitive point of view.
For example, in history we hear about men's decisions and exploits, about what men have been creating and destroying throughout our human past. In literature we read fiction, drama, and poetry written by men, with a majority of male personae, and imbued with themes of interest to men. In psychology and sociology we study male motivation, attitudes and behaviour. In philosophy we examine male-defined issues within the context of theories created by men. In politics we analyze men's political participation within male-dominated and male-oriented political institutions. And in science we observe, classify, and theorize about the natural world from the confines of male paradigms. In short, men's studies are defined by male attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, and research.