Archives: Record Groups. Women's Studies

RG 37Extent: 42 cm

Access: Restricted


The Women’s Studies Program at Trent University was established in 1987. The first Chair was Prof. Christl Verduyn. As an interdisciplinary program, Women's Studies draws on the insights and methodologies from a wide variety of disciplines such as history, literature, psychology, sociology, politics and anthropology.

Box 1

Records Relating to the Committee on the Status of Women

The Committee on the Status of Women was a Presidential advisory committee, and was set up in 1974 by President Nind.  The committee makes recommendations to the President and focuses on ensuring that all women members of the university receive equitable and non-discriminatory treatment in every aspect of the university’s operations.

The records of the Committee on the Status of Women are comprised of minutes, correspondence, and reports, and cover the dates 1974-1986.


1: Minutes, 1974-76 and 1984-85

2: Articles

3: Correspondence and Reports, 1974

4: Correspondence and Reports, 1975

5: Correspondence and Reports, 1976

6: Correspondence and Reports, 1977

7: Correspondence and Reports, 1978

8: Correspondence and Reports, 1980-86

Box 2

Records Relating to the Margaret Laurence Lecture Series

Background – The Annual Margaret Laurence Lecture.

The Margaret Laurence Lecture is an annual lecture in honour of Margaret Laurence, Organized by the Women’s Studies Program, funded by a combination of a generous endowment from the Bennett Family Foundation and matching funds from the Canadian Studies Directorate, Heritage Canada (formerly the Canadian Studies Programs, Secretary of State). The founding Chair of the Women’s Studies Program, Prof. Christl Verduyn was instrumental in helping to raise the matching funds which now constitutes the funding base for the lectures. This annual lecture honours Trent’s fourth chancellor, and acknowledges her contributions to literature, feminism, ecology, and the peace movement. Margaret Laurence lived in nearby Lakefield.

The establishment of this lecture funding was announced by former President Donald Theall in a memo to the University’s Senate on 14th May 1987. The first lecture was held in the 1987/88 academic year. The inaugural Margaret Laurence Lecture was delivered on Thursday, 10 March 1988 at 8:00pm by writer Adele Wiseman, long time friend and colleague of Margaret Laurence to open the “Tribute to Margaret” which was organized by the Chair of English Department (Prof. Orm Mitchell) and Chair of Canadian Studies Program (Prof. John Wadland) to honour her memory. The Canadian Studies Program at Trent generously offered to assume the expenses involved in bringing the first Margaret Laurence speaker to Trent as the funds proceeding from the Bennett foundation were not operational before 1988-89.  The original poster for the tribute and  the lectures was designed by the famous Canadian artist, Harold Town who was a friend of Margaret Laurence. This lecture is intended to bring a distinguished speaker to Trent to address women’s involvement in peace, ecology, literature or feminism, all concerns which were important to Margaret Laurence. Traditionally, a  fellow’s dinner (invited guests only) precedes the lecture, and a free public reception follows. 

The Margaret Laurence Lecture Committee is responsible for advertising for nominations selecting and inviting the speaker, and for making all necessary arrangements for the speaker’s visit including arranging accommodation and advertising the lecture, dinner and reception arrangements to name a few. The Committee originally consisted of the Chairs (or delegates) of Women’s Studies  (Chair of the Committee), Canadian Studies, Environmental Resource Studies, English, Project Ploughshares and Trent Student Pugwash.

The first meeting of the Margaret Laurence Lecture Committee is usually held in early Fall each year to begin the selection process for the following year’s speaker. Submissions for nominations are invited in the Faculty and Student newspapers (which are distributed community wide). Once the nominations are in, the selection process will take place and the invitation to deliver the lecture will go out to the selected speaker. Once the speaker has accepted the offer, the organizational work leading up to the lecture in the Fall of each academic year begins.

[A brief  history compiled  on 1 December 2003]

1) Adele Wiseman - 1987/88

Thursday, 10  March 1988, 8:00 pm

Topic: Burgeoning of Women Writers in Canada.         

2) Ursula Franklin - 1988/89

Thursday,  20 October 1988, 8 pm

Topic: Reflections on Insiders and Outsiders.

The Role and Perception of Science within

Society, and the Existence of Distinct Groups of

Scientists and Lay-people.

3) June Callwood - 1989/90

Wednesday, November 1, 1989, 8 pm

Topic: The human Tribe and Its Shared Responsibilities.

4) Rosemary Brown - 1990/91

Wednesday, 23 January, 1991, 8 pm

Topic: Women: A Global Perspective.

Canadian Development Aid and Its Effects on Women in those Countries Receiving the Aid.

5) Rosemarie Kuptana - 1991/92  CANCELLED

Wednesday, 11 March 1992

Topic: Inuit Rights to Self-Government.

Cancelled : Rosemarie Kuptana was called for an urgent meeting of Native Leaders in Ottawa.

6) Lois Wilson - Fall - 1992

Wednesday, October 14, 1992, CC LH

Topic: Covenanting For Social Justice

7) Peggy Antrobus - Fall - 1993

Thursday, October 14, 1993, Wenjack Theatre

Topic: Women, Gender And Sustainable Development:  A New

Paradigm For The 21st Century.

8) Nicole Brossard - Fall 1994

Wednesday, November 2, 1994, CC Council Chambers (moved to CC LH)

Topic: She Would Be The First Sentence In My Next Novel

9) Alice Williams Fall - 1995

Tuesday, November 7, 1995, 8:00 pm, CC Lecture Hall

Topic: Piecing Together:  No Stranger In The House.

10) Nourbese Philip Fall - 1996

Tuesday, November 5, 1996, 8:00 pm, Wenjack Theatre

Topic: Taming Our Tomorrows

11) Marlene Brant Castellano

Tuesday, November 11, 1997, 8:00 pm, Wenjack Theatre

Topic: A contradiction at the Heart of Canada

12) Mary Walsh - Fall 1998

Monday, November 2, 1998, 8:00 pm, Wenjack Theatre

Topic: No Title

Mary Walsh talked about growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland, and commented on a number of subjects including Canadian politics, the Canadian Identity, Newfoundland history, Newfie Jokes, distinct society and the CBC!

13)  Julie Johnston

Monday, November 15, 1999, 8:00 pm, CC Lecture Hall

Topic: The Truth About Fiction

A celebrated author of children's literature from Peterborough

14) Stevie Cameron

Tuesday, December 5, 2000, 8:00 pm, Wenjack Theatre

Topic: A Writer=s Life: A Practical Guide

A celebrated journalist, former host of CBC=s The Fifth Estate, and Editor-in-Chief of Elm Street.  Winner of two awards in 1995 for her expose of government corruption in  ON the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years.

15) Bernice Morgan - CANCELLED

Tuesday, October 30 , 2001, 8:00 pm, CC LH

Topic: was not confirmed

Bernice Morgan is the author of Random Passage and Waiting for Time, Novels based on Newfoundland history from the period of settlement to the 1992 cod moratorium.

16) Shirley Douglas

Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 8:00 pm, CC LH (CC S307)

Topic: Health Care in Crisis: You Have the Power to Save It

An accomplished film and television actor, matriarch May Bailey of A Wind at My Back& fame, Shirley Douglas is also an activist. She has embraced many social causes but the one dearest to her heart is the state of our health care sytem.  She is national spokeswoman for the Canadian Health Coalition.

17) Naomi Klein

Thursday, October 30, 2003, 8:00 pm  Wenjack Theatre (OCA W101.2)

Topic: “Economic Terror, Deep Democracy: Reports from Communities of Resistance”

Naomi Klein is a journalist, activist and author of the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. Translated into 27 languages, it is widely read by many engaged in the corporate globalization debate.  No Logo won the Canadian National Business Book Award in 2001.

18) Budge Wilson

Thursday, 21 October 2004, 8:00pm Champlain College LH (CC S307)

The title of the lecture, “MARGARET: DARKNESS AND LIGHT”

Budge Wilson, award-winning author of 28 books of children's, adolescent and adult fiction, and recently named a Member of the Order of Canada, was a close friend of Margaret Laurence.  In Trent’s 40th anniversary year, Wilson will revisit the life and work of Laurence.  She will reflect on a re-reading of Laurence’s work, her memories of the friendship they shared, and what Laurence’s work tells us about this important figure in Trent’s history.

19) Janice Boddy,

 Thursday, 2 February 2006, 8:00pm Location TBA

This year's speaker is Professor Janice Boddy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has written about the complex issue of female circumcision in Africa. Her book - Aman:The Story of a Somali Girl - is one of the first widely-read books dealing with the issue. It has been published in at least 16 languages. Her more academic book on the subject – Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan – was short-listed for Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. Currently, she is the president of the American Anthropological Association’s Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

20) Audio Tapes of Lectures and CD of Transcipts:

Audio Tapes:

M. Nourbise Philip

Marlene Castellano

Lois Wilson

Julia Johnston

Ursula Franklin

CD of Transcripts:

Castellano 1997

Franklin 1988

Johnston 1999

Philip 1996

Wilson 2004

Wilson 1992

Materials received from Professor Heitlinger in 2014

Box 3

Correspondence and reports re the establishment of the Women's Studies program, 1986-1988 (2 folders)