You may never know all the personal changes as a result of
a student taking your course. Perhaps the students themselves may not realize
what changes in attitude or behavior are attributable to anyone particular
influence. The course made me consider what was happening in my own life on a
broader scale. Everything I studied could be applied to my work, my
relationship, or my personal life.
Since the 1960's, women's studies has provided a
forum for empowering women within academic settings by making them visible,
validating their perspectives and experiences, and providing them with a voice
for articulating their concerns. Women's studies has been a relative latecomer
to university campuses and is a recent addition to distance education
offerings. In fall, 1986, Memorial University of Newfoundland began such a long
distance credit course using a multi-media format. Our involvement with the
production and delivery has provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the
potential of such courses for reaching and empowering isolated women. We have
also become aware of the limitations of credit courses and long distance
delivery systems for feminist outreach.
Although our experience is with a specific course in a
particular region, we believe that what we've learned can be applied to similar
Women students and teachers have struggled for visibility
at universities. We have been greatly under-represented on faculties, absent
from the curriculum or defined from a masculine perspective. The isolation
engendered by this exclusion is intensified for women in remote areas beyond
the networks and support services of the feminist community. As one of the
When I first came here, it was really devastating to me.
No one understood me. I had no family here, no one to relate to. If there had
been a women's centre, I certainly could have used it then, but I've gotten a
lot stronger over the years; I've had to.1
Many thanks to the contributors to this issue.
Guest editors are Lillian Nakamura Maguire, Dorothy Robbins, and Janet
The writers are Lillian Nakamura Maguire, Joanne
Prindiville, Cathryn Boak, Jeanne Beaudoin, Ellen Hamilton, Janet Patterson,
Louise Profeit-Leblanc, Laura Jackson, Heather Menzies, the women of New
Experiences for Refugee Women, and Susan De Rosa.
The illustrators are L. Emily Elliott, Susan
Barsel, and . The photographers are John Bennett, Maria Facon,
Jaren McLeod, and others we have been unable to identify before press time.
Special thanks to Susan De Rosa of Montreal for
editorial assistance and to Portia Albrecht of Sechelt, B.C. for assistance
with production. We gratefully acknowledge the financial contribution of the
Women's Program, Secretary of State.
Our cover photograph, by John Bennett of Ottawa,
shows members of the Tunooniq Theatre of Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, performing
at Ottawa's Winterlude festival. Their story is inspiringly told by adult
educator, Ellen Hamilton, who, with her husband, Pakak Innuksuk, formed the
troupe as and educational project.