Nancy Weiss Malkiel
"Keep the Damned Women Out":
The Struggle for Coeducation
This event includes a book signing
October 6, 2016
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes NANCY WEISS MALKIEL, professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, for a discussion of her book "Keep the Damned Women Out": The Struggle for Coeducation.
About "Keep the Damned Women Out"
As the tumultuous decade of the 1960s ended, a number of very traditional, very conservative, highly prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and the United Kingdom decided to go coed, seemingly all at once, in a remarkably brief span of time. Coeducation met with fierce resistance. As one alumnus put it in a letter to his alma mater, "Keep the damned women out." Focusing on the complexities of institutional decision making, this book tells the story of this momentous era in higher education--revealing how coeducation was achieved not by organized efforts of women activists, but through strategic decisions made by powerful men.
In America, Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth began to admit women; in Britain, several of the men's colleges at Cambridge and Oxford did the same. What prompted such fundamental change? How was coeducation accomplished in the face of such strong opposition? How well was it implemented? Nancy Weiss Malkiel explains that elite institutions embarked on coeducation not as a moral imperative but as a self-interested means of maintaining a first-rate applicant pool. She explores the challenges of planning for the academic and non-academic lives of newly admitted women, and shows how, with the exception of Mary Ingraham Bunting at Radcliffe, every decision maker leading the charge for coeducation was male.
Drawing on unprecedented archival research, "Keep the Damned Women Out" is a breathtaking work of scholarship that is certain to be the definitive book on the subject.
"Nancy Weiss Malkiel describes the complex, sometimes troubled, amazingly rapid set of decisions that led to coeducation at several elite universities and colleges in the United States and the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. A thoroughly researched, gracefully written, unusually comprehensive account of an important historical transformation." —Nannerl O. Keohane, president emeritus of Wellesley College and Duke University
"In describing how single-sex colleges responded to the surge of interest in coeducation in the late 1960s, Nancy Weiss Malkiel has written an exceptionally thoughtful, balanced, and judicious account of a subject that aroused passionate feelings at the time on both sides of the issue." —Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard University
"Malkiel's book will serve as the foundational work on which all future considerations of the drive for coeducation, begun during the late 1960s, will be based. Its broad field of vision offers a wealth of information about the nature of academic administration and collegiate life." —Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, author of Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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