Founded in 1991, the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center is a vibrant site of local, national, and international engaged, critical feminist scholarship, cultural production and activism from diverse perspectives. With an emphasis on emerging fields in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies in all disciplines, the Center also provides a forum in which faculty and graduate students in the Five Colleges, visiting scholars at all ranks from around the world, and partner organizations can present their work.
The Center is supported by the Five College consortium of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Since 1966, the five institutions have been noted for their cooperation and innovation in higher education and boast one of the largest concentrations of women’s and gender studies scholars anywhere in the world.
Each year, the Center hosts a cohort of local and international scholars and activists for three to eight months, providing office space, access to Five College resources, and cultivating a community in which feminist work can flourish through interdisciplinary conversations, writing accountability groups, and opportunities to share and receive feedback on work-in-progress. The Center is also a site for members of diverse Five College feminist communities to present and discuss their work, coordinate reading groups, and host seminars, workshops and conferences.
In Fall 2021, the Center relocated from its 29-year home on the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts to Hampshire College in Amherst. Facilities include spacious offices for Research Associates, a large seminar room, and expansive outdoor campus space. Area resources include five academic libraries, including extensive archival and special collections, a number of teaching museums, a wide range of cultural venues, the Emily Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, the papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony at the University of Massachusetts, and archives at Mount Holyoke College on the history of women’s education.