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The Women's History Caucus, a group of graduate students, plans to circulate a petition asking the History Department to integrate more material on women into its curriculum at a reception to be held today designed to increase the visibility and solidarity of women in the department.
The group will also present a slide show at the meeting compiled by the Schlesinger Library which traces the role of women in American history from 1820 to 1970 by illustrating such events as the suffrage movement.
"We're viewing this as a good way to dramatize there's a lot of material on women that hasn't found its way into the History Department," Carol Lasser, a History graduate student helping to organize the reception, said yesterday.
"It's pretty isolating to be a woman in the History Department," because only one-fourth of the graduate students and two of the professors are women, Susan Ware, another History graduate student, said yesterday.
The petition also asks the department to consider scholars interested in women's history to fill some of the six tenured positions that are now, or will soon be open in the department, Mary E. Stokes '78, a member of the Committee on Women's Studies, which is co-sponsoring the meeting, said yesterday.
Ernest May, chairman of the History Department, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Stephen Thernstrom, professor of History, whose course, Social Sciences 3, "Central Themes in American History," includes material and a section o women, said yesterday most history courses do not deal with women because they have not been active in public events with which conventional courses deal.
There are few women faculty members in the department because there are currently few "major women scholars" in the field, he said, adding that this situation will probably change rapidly.
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