By Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
Alma Mater: layout and adventure within the Women's faculties from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the Nineteen Thirties ASIN: 0870238698
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Additional info for Alma mater: design and experience in the women's colleges from their nineteenth-century beginnings to the 1930s
It is "a kind of psychological foot-binding" that girls undergo to keep them from feeling and from using their strengths. 2 Neither study is about college. Both look at the girl anticipating college. But both dramatically focus attention on the female experience and demonstrate that girls normally do not get their fair share in education. As girls begin to think about their college futures, the women's college takes on a different meaning. Perhaps there is something to be said for a place in which women are the focus of all attention.
Nor are women's colleges utopias for women. There are issues other than gender to face, for each student belongs to a religious or ethnic group and race, each student springs from an economic class. Students are divided by sexual orientation. Some seek partners among other women. Others miss the dailiness of male companionship or heterosexual fun. Real societies of women are not Herlands: they have pecking orders, exclusions as well as inclusions. Power still corrupts. Passion still roils. Yet to state this is only to remind us of what we already know: that women's colleges exist within a society of real human beings.
What has been the dynamic of college life as lived in women's colleges? How have relationships and ritual reshaped the land and its meanings? What happened when new definitions of women and their sexuality entered the college scene? After writing the book, I began to imagine three different ideal readers. The first and most elusive was the practitioner. I wanted to encourage architects to think more fully about the social and cultural contexts of buildings. I joined a chorus of voices determined to remind designers that structures arise from decisions made by women and men who think and work in a culture that shapes their choices and architectural language.
Alma mater: design and experience in the women's colleges from their nineteenth-century beginnings to the 1930s by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz