History and Overview

FCWSRC promo image

The Five College Women’s Studies Research Center was founded in 1991 as a site for international scholarly activity on issues relating to women and gender. Located at 79 and 83 College Street on the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts, it 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 cooporation and innovation in higher education and boast one of the largest concentrations of women’s and gender studies scholars anywhere in the world.

Located in an area with the largest concentration of scholars dedicated to feminist scholarship and teaching in the world, the Center encourages engaged, critical feminist scholarship from diverse perspectives. To this end, it hosts up to fifteen scholars and activists each year for three to eight months. Research Associates have come from over thirty countries. The Center also provides a forum in which women's and gender studies faculty from the five institutions can present and discuss their work and interact with Associates through faculty seminars, workshops and conferences.

While at the Center, Research Associates have access to Five College archival and other library resources and have various opportunities to present their work to a broad activist and scholarly community. The Center is committed to ensuring that visiting scholars include some who have international interests and backgrounds and some who will study and engage in community activism. Dedicated to supporting research on all aspects of women’s and gender studies, the Center welcomes inquiries from local, US-based and international scholars, teachers, writers, artists, community organizers and political activists.

The Center is located in two gracious buildings, adjacent to one another on the Mount Holyoke campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Facilities include a large seminar room, kitchen, dining room, outdoor deck, gardens, and thirteen offices. Area resources include a wide range of cultural venues, faculty seminars on diverse topics, five academic libraries, a number of teaching museums, 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.