read — and also noted that the numbersnof women authors had recentlynbegun to increase in all courses. Shenwas not complaining about, certainlynnot berating, her professors, whom shenobviously very much admired (andnwhose syllabi she had kept), but she didnhope that things might be different innthe future. “If inspiration can take thenform of a charge or revelation,” shenwrote in conclusion, “then my evaluationsnand this paper will have succeedednin creating a personal impact fornme. While the insights that I havengained and the advances of any onenwoman do not make up for the countlessnand often unjustified exclusion ofnwomen and minorities from the canonntoday, it lessens the probability thatnsuch a reality will mark the canon ofnthe future.”nThis year, I was invited to give thenaddress at the annual honors ceremonynfor Emory graduates. I owed the invitationnto my having directed the honorsnthesis of one of the best students in thengraduating class, a white man who hadnwritten on Kate Chopin and modernism.nMy student had never taken anynwomen’s studies courses, although annumber of men do, but the merenpresence of the program had broadenednhis interests. Imperceptibly, as Inwatched the parade of accomplishednstudents pass by to collect their prizes,nI began to register that I was recognizingnmany more than I should havenexpected given the small number ofnstudents I have taught during my fewnyears at Emory. The introductorynwomen’s studies courses that I hadntaught reconstructed themselves innfront of my eyes. There they were: thenyoung women, and the few men, whonhad braved those first courses. I havendone no statistical count, but it is mynstrong impression that the students innthose courses were represented amongnthe honors group out of all proportionnto their numbers. If my impression isncorrect, women’s studies at Emory isnaccomplishing its most serious missionnof strengthening young women in selfconfidencenand achievement.nWomen’s studies at Emory has, duringnfour short years, emerged as annimportant and respected part of thenuniversity and it enjoys the active supportnof some of our most conservative,nas well as liberal, departments andnfaculty members. Its success owesn52/CHRONICLESnmuch to its political openness — to itsncommitment to the inclusion of anynwho chose to participate, regardless ofnideology or politics. The program hasnno “line.” The women’s studies facultynhave debated the policy, withnsome adopting the embattled view thatnwomen have suffered so much and arenso systematically devalued that wenshould maintain vigilance aboutnwould-be participants’ commitment tonfeminism. But the inclusive positionnhas prevailed over the exclusive, withnthe welcome result of an invigoratingnsense of academic freedom thatnstrengthens our ability to provide anmuch needed sense of respect andnsupport for our students.nThe truth is that women’s studiesnhas, during the past two decades,nemerged as an academic specializationnthat boasts an impressive body of scholarship.nNot for nothing do publishersnwring their hands at the “women’snmafia.” Scholars and students innwomen’s studies buy and write largennumbers of books, many of them good.nThey have assuredly uncoyered a vastnbody of new information and developednan impressive range of interpretationsnof problems that many hadnthought were essentially resolved.nWomen’s studies, in short, constitutesnone of the most dynamic and livelyndisciplines, and no amount of denialorncontempt will diminish its vigor. Butnwomen’s studies scholarship, likenwomen’s studies programs, has tendednto fall to the preserve of committednfeminists. Heated debates among feministsnthemselves assure that no singlenline prevails unchallenged, but thengeneral tenor is set by the left, whichnhas proved more receptive than thenright to the academic discipline as wellnas to feminism. Yet as the Republicansnare learning about a range of politicalnissues, there is no reason to grant thenleft a monopoly of women’s concernsnby default. Women, like men, differnsignificantly in their religious, political,nand cultural values.nUnfortunately, the original wornen’snstudies agenda of offering young womennan education with which they couldnin some measure identify, met withnoutraged and bigoted opposition fromnmany on the right, who establishednthemselves as the defenders of theneducational status quo. Those shortsightednopponents of modest changennnnow have a good deal to answer for.nIgnoring the wisdom of Giuseppe dinLampedusa, “If things are to remainnthe same, things must change,” theynhave stumbled into the role of thensorcerer’s apprentice, conjuring upndangers much worse than the legitimatenrequests they were opposing.nTheir unyielding opposition hasnstrengthened many proponents ofnwomen’s studies in their bunker mentalitynand left those of us who opposenthe politicization of all academic programsnin a dangerously exposed position.nIncreasingly, the dominant presencenin women’s studies is advocating war tonthe death with established (male) valuesnand spearheading an alarming erosionnof confidence in our inheritednculture. But the self-proclaimed defendersnof that inherited culture havenbeen retreating into a rigid adherencento the time-honored status quo. Neithernposition will serve. Our inheritednculture and values contain much thatnmany feminists cherish — that many ofnus do, as have innumerable womennbefore us. Yet we cannot hope to preparenyoung women to deal confidentlynwith the world if we offer them a visionnof themselves as dependent upon mennfor everything from material support tonphysical protection to a sense of theirnidentities. Nor can we hope to preserventhe essence of our tradition if weneffectively insist that women of aspirationnand modest innovation must bencondemned as its enemies.nWomen’s studies can be no betternthan we make it. Unilateral oppositionnwill only drive it further down the roadnof stiffening opposition to Western culturenas a whole. And the losers will benthose who seek to preserve that culturenwith the measure of flexible adaptationnupon which its survival has alwaysndepended.nElizabeth Fox-Genovese is EleonorenRaoul Professor of the Humanitiesnand director of women’s studies atnEmory University. Her most recentnbook is Within the PlantationnHousehold: Black and WhitenWomen of the Old South, and hernFeminism Without Illusions: AnCritique of Individualism will benpublished by the Universitynof North Carolina Press in thenspring of 1991.n