Katherine Side



This paper considers the future of the Ph.D. in women’s studies in Canada. It argues that it is important to continue to develop and to offer the existing doctorate in women’s studies in Canada because it contributes in significant ways to the scholarly environment for students and faculty in universities. However, it cautions against developing and offering additional Ph.D. programmes in women’s studies without simultaneously considering and challenging the current, lean fiscal climate, for post-secondary education and the implications of this context for women’s studies. After briefly mapping out this climate, this paper offers, for the explicit purpose of further discussion and debate, some recommendations to advance women’s studies as a vibrant, scholarly discipline. It makes specific recommendations to strengthen the institutional bases of women’s studies. These include bolstering institutional structures and a sustained commitment to strengthen women’s studies from outside the walls of any single institution. It argues that women’s studies needs what Howe has termed a “long-term, strategic institutional imagination” with which to approach the future (Howe 1997, 416). Responsibility for these recommendations rests primarily with those who teach and who hold administrative positions in Canadian universities, and also includes those who hold decision-making positions in research bodies such as the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). It is within a framework of a more clearly articulated vision for women’s studies, one that is solid enough on which to build, and yet flexible enough to respond to changing needs and circumstances, that the Ph.D. in women’s studies will thrive.

Author Biography

Katherine Side, Department of Women’s Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University