April 3, 2009

Gender Studies exhibit explores campus co-eds from founding to present

[img id="77544" align="alignleft"] An exhibition exploring the role of women throughout the history of the University, titled On Equal Terms, opened last month at the Special Collections in the Regenstein Library.

Drawing on letters, photographs, and other materials from the Special Collection archives, the exhibition aims to uncover “hidden stories” in the history of the University and to investigate the meaning of co-education as it was imagined and practiced in its founding period, according to Monica Mercado, co-curator of the exhibit and a history graduate student.

“The stories that the U of C tells about itself don’t necessarily involve women or co-ed very prominently,” she said. “If you said to someone, ‘Did you know that the U of C had a very prominent Home Ec department until the ’50s?’, people would laugh.”

The exhibit is part of the four-year-old Experience of Women project spearheaded by the Center of Gender Studies. As an offshoot of the project, Mercado and co-curator Katie Turk taught an undergraduate seminar last fall titled “Alma Mater.” An exhibition of their students’ research is on display at the Center.