Russian Department sponsors "Women on the Faculty" conference

Women on the Faculty:  A Dartmouth Centennial
Friday, November 8, 2019

Background

The Russian Department and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program have organized a conference for November 8,  2019. Our subject: the history of women faculty at Dartmouth.

Why is the conference proposal coming, in part, from Russian? The first woman on the College faculty was Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood (1894–1974), who taught Russian at Dartmouth in 1918-19 – and as the first to do so, founded the department. Following her husband’s appointment as ambassador to Denmark, Hapgood left Dartmouth. In the 1920s they moved to the Soviet Union, where she befriended Konstantin Stanislavski, founder of the Moscow Art Theater and inventor of the system of theatrical training now known as “method acting.” Hapgood went on to translate his major works into English, and wrote her reminiscences of him. The conference celebrates the centennial of Hapgood’s history-making presence on the Dartmouth Faculty, and the roles played by women faculty in the hundred years since. The conference coincides with the 250th anniversary of the founding of the College.

We recognize that it is impossible to do justice to a topic as important – and as broad – as the inclusion of women on the Dartmouth faculty in one day. However, we believe that such a moment will occasion celebration and reflection at this moment in Dartmouth’s history. To our knowledge, it is the only such event dedicated to women on the faculty in all of the 250th anniversary activities. We hope to coordinate our program with some of the planned activities for the Sestercentennial, and have scheduled the conference on a weekday to maximize attendance by faculty, staff, and students. 

                                                                                        Conference Schedule
                                                                                 Occom Commons, Goldstein Hall

                                                                                            Dartmouth College
Conference Opening                                                     9:30 a.m.
Sienna Craig (Anthropology) introduces Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty

Panel 1                         The Pioneer Decades                            9:45–11:15 a.m.
Moderator:
Silvia Spitta (Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature)

Panelists:

  • Jay Satterfield (RAUNER) & Barry Scherr (RUSS, Provost emeritus) (speaking about Elizabeth Hapgood, Nadezhda Koroton, and Marie Morosoff, RUSS)
  • Celia Chen ‘78 (BIOL) and Caroline Cook ‘21 (both speaking about Hannah Croasdale, BIOL)
  • Barbara Will (ENGL, Dean) (speaking about Elizabeth Lyding Will, CLAS)

Panel 2                         Early Years of Coeducation                   11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Moderator:
Nancy Frankenberry (Religion)

Panelists:

  • Brenda Silver (English) and Lynn Higgins (French and Italian, Comparative Literature, Dean emerita)
  • Mary Hudson (Physics)
  • Deborah King (Sociology)

Panel 3             Contemporary Faculty Experiences       2:00–3:30 p.m.
Moderator:
Bethany Moreton (HIST)

Panelists:

  • Zaneta Thayer (Anthropology)
  • Yui Hashimoto (Society of Fellows, Geography)
  • Mary Lou Guerinot (Biology)
  • Desiree Garcia (Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies, Film and Media Studies)                                          

Presentation in Rauner Library                                      3:30-4:30 p.m.                                   

  • the life of Evelyn Stefansson Nef, Arctic explorer and scientist, curated and hosted by Jay Satterfield (Director of Special Collections), and Caroline Cook ‘21.

Keynote Conversation                                                  4:30–6:00 p.m.
Moderator:
Ivy Schweitzer (English, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Keynote Speakers:

  • Judith Byfield ’80 (History, Cornell)
  • Mary Kelley (History, Univ. of Michigan)

Concurrent / Related Events
A banner exhibit in the Berry Library Brickway, highlighting women faculty.

Panel Description

Panel 1: The Pioneer Decades
After brief opening remarks by Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith, Panel 1 will look at Hapgood’s career and those of other women faculty in the Russian Department. Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature John Kopper will open the panel with some remarks about Hapgood’s time at Dartmouth and her friendship with Konstantin Stanislavski. Director of Special Collections Jay Satterfield will speak about Hapgood’s work and legacy as revealed through the Dartmouth archives, and Professor of Russian Barry Scherr will discuss Nadezhda Koroton, who joined the Russian Department in the 1950s and became a pillar of the program, although she experienced continuing discrimination from the administration: she taught for five years as a lecturer, then was promoted to assistant professor, a position she held until retirement, when she became perhaps the College’s only “assistant professor emerita.”

The second half of this panel will explore the pre-co-educational experiences of two other women faculty.  For nearly twenty years after Hapgood’s hire, no more women were taken on by the College, and until the 1950s their numbers remained tiny. An exception is Hannah Croasdale, hired by Biology in 1935.  Celia Chen, Research Professor of Biology and one of Croasdale’s last undergraduate protégées, will give her reminiscences of this remarkable biologist. She will be joined by Rauner intern Caroline Cook ’21, who has researched Croasdale in Dartmouth’s archives. Associate Dean of the Humanities and A. and R. Newbury Professor of English, Barbara Will, is going to speak about the experience of her mother, who taught in Classics at Dartmouth beginning in 1953.  Current undergraduate student Caroline Cook will present on the work she has done with Rauner Special Collections to curate an exhibit on the career of Evelyn Stefansson Nef, an instructor of northern studies at Dartmouth from 1958 to 1963, wife of Vilhjálmur Stefansson and an arctic explorer in her own right.

Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature, Silvia Spitta, will serve as a moderator and respondent for this session.

Panel 2: Early Years of Coeducation
The small cluster of women faculty that arrived at Dartmouth in the 1950s, including Koroton, served as something of a bridge to the large class of women faculty recruited in the 1970s in response to co-education.  Panel 2 will be devoted to the rich legacies of women faculty at the College during this seminal transition.  Hired at Dartmouth in 1968, Marysa Navarro, the Charles A. and Elfriede A. Collis Professor Emerita in History, will talk about the difficulties she encountered at Dartmouth balancing teaching and research. Lynn Higgins, Edward Tuck Professor of French, Comparative Literature and Film Studies, and Brenda Silver, Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor Emerita of English and Creative Writing, will speak about the early years of women’s studies at the college, when they founded and co-taught the feminist inquiry seminar. Silver may also speak about her relationship with notable alumna, teacher, and parent, the writer Louise Erdrich. Mary Hudson, Eleanor and Kelvin Smith Distinguished Professor of Physics Emerita, will address the key presence of women in science, a field where they remain a distinct minority. Deborah King, Associate Professor of Sociology (TBC) will speak about her experiences as a faculty member, in part addressing entrenched issues regarding the recruitment and retention of faculty of color at Dartmouth.

Emerita Professor of Religion Nancy Frankenberry will serve as a moderator and respondent for this session.

Panel 3: Contemporary Faculty Experiences
This panel will focus on contemporary faculty of different backgrounds, disciplines, and ranks, who can speak about their experiences as scholar-teachers at Dartmouth, as women faculty but also in relation to the growth of the WGSS Program, and in recognition of the many dimensions of faculty diversity. This panel will include Mary Lou Guerinot, Ronald and Deborah Harris Professor in the Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences; Desiree Garcia, Associate Professor of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies and Film and Media Studies; Assistant Professor of Anthropology (and Dartmouth ’08), Zaneta Thayer; feminist economic geographer and Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Fellow, Yui Hashimoto. We recognize the challenge in being fully representational in a 90-minute session, but we hope that these panelists will seed rich discussions about the intersections of scholarship, identity, and institutional culture. 

Bethany Moreton, Professor of History, will serve as a moderator and respondent for this session.

Keynotes and Final Discussions
After a break, the day will close with a collaborative keynote session with two esteemed former faculty in the History Department: Judith Byfield and Mary Kelley. Each keynote speaker will deliver a 20-minute address, followed by a session that will be moderated by Professor of English Ivy Schweitzer.

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