Cynthia Enloe

Professor of Political Science, Clark University; feminist author; specializes in gender and militarism

I offered a new course called Women and Comparative Politics which meant looking at women in revolutions and women in elections and women in social movements around the world. And that would all be 1975/76, but what also happened is that we formed a women’s faculty group and the women’s faculty group became—we loved each other, we learned from each other, we taught each other.  How do you know that your chair is crazy? We have to learn these things. How do you know whether your tenure, your promotion experience is fair or not? And women faculty all got together and they compared notes. This is what a fair department looks like, this is what a crazy department looks like.  Is your workplace crazy or is it normal? And sometimes you have to get together with other people saying, “Woah, we didn’t want to do it like that. That’s not fair.” And then we thought there must be faculty members around Worcester that we should get together with and we formed the Women’s Studies Faculty Consortium and that’s when we all got to know Theresa McBride and Karen Turner right at Holy Cross. And then we joined with Kris Waters at Worcester State who’s a philosopher and so we formed this fabulous group and we would have dinners every fall, they were the best thing ever. So we really began to trade ideas with each other, we began to think of each other as feminists, that was new, we began to tell each other what kind of research we were doing and we all got excited about everybody else’s research. So that kind of brings you up to where we are now. But it was all new. 1970s were so exciting.

Cynthia Enloe was born in New York City, New York in 1938. She grew up in Manhasset, Long Island.  After studying at Connecticut College, Enloe went on to further her studies in political science at University of California, Berkeley. After beginning her teaching career at University of Miami in Ohio, Enloe was offered a job at Clark University, where she taught for several years. Although she does not teach full-time at Clark anymore, she still travels, lectures, and conducts research. Her celebrated work is in militarism, race and ethnicity, and gender.  Enloe’s life story encapsulates a person who leads her life by always questioning the world around her.

Interview
Interview Date: 
March 16, 2017
Transcript: