Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF)

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The Canadian Women’s Studies Association/Association des Etudes de la Femme (CWSA/ACEF) was formed in 1982, with Frances Early as its first President. In 1983, the Association held its first conference, jointly with the Canadian Studies Association and the Association of Adult Learners, at the University of British Columbia. From the beginning, CWSA/ACEF published newsletters, one in French and one in English, which merged in 1985 to become one fully bilingual newsletter.

In 1986, CWSA/ACEF was granted membership of the Social Science Federation of Canada (which later merged with the Canadian Humanities Federation to form the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences) and held its conference for the first time in conjunction with the Learned Societies Conference, now called the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. CWSA/ACEF’s growth was strong from the late 1980s through the mid -1990s, with membership increasing by 74% between 1988 and 1991. This period saw the establishment of a Lesbian Caucus (1988), a Women of Colour Caucus (1991), and a Student Caucus (1992), and the Association cemented a formal relationship with the feminist journal Resources for Feminist Research/Documentation sur la recherche féministe in 1991. In 1994, CWSA/ACEF assumed the administration of Atlantis, a feminist journal based in Atlantic Canada. Despite robust growth and member involvement, the organization also faced some financial challenges in this period, with its three-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada not being renewed in 1992.

1998 saw the establishment of a website for CWSA/ACEF, and a Cyber Committee was formed at that year’s AGM. In 2010, following years of debate and the renaming of many programs formerly named Women’s Studies, the association was renamed to reflect new currents in gender studies. At an open meeting at that year’s conference, the name Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes was selected.

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Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF)

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