Kramarae, Cheris 1938-
KRAMARAE, Cheris 1938-
PERSONAL: Born March 10, 1938, in Brookings, SD; married Dale Kramer (a professor), 1960; two children. Education: South Dakota State University, B.S., 1960; Ohio State University, M.S., 1963; University of Illinois, Urbana—Champaign, Ph.D., 1975.
ADDRESSES: Home—1670 Kona St., Eugene, OR 97403. Offıce—Center for the Study of Women in Society, 340 Hendricks Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. E-mail—[email protected] edu.
CAREER: Ohio University, Athens, instructor in English, 1963-65; University of Illinois, Urbana—Champaign, instructor in speech communication, 1965-78, associate professor, 1978-85, professor of sociology, linguistics, speech communications, and women's studies, 1985-1996, cofounder and co-organizer of Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship, Center for Advanced Study, 1991-96; University of Oregon, Eugene, Center for the Study of Women in Society, visiting professor, 1996—, now professor emerita. Consultant, American College Testing (ACT), 1995, 1998, 2002; Dean of Information Project, International Women's University 2000, Hannover, Germany.
MEMBER: Speech Communication Association, Modern Language Association, National Women's Studies Association, Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
AWARDS, HONORS: Special Undergraduate Instructional Award, University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign, 1971, for Black/white English project. Lambda Pi Eta Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1996.
(Editor) The Voices and Words of Women and Men, Pergamon Press (Oxford), 1980.
Women and Men Speaking: Frameworks for Analysis, Newbury House (Rowley, MA), 1981.
(Editor, with Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley) Language, Gender and Society, Newbury House Publishers (Rowley, MA), 1983.
(Editor, with Muriel Schulz and William O'Barr) Language and Power, Sage (Beverly Hills, CA), 1984.
(Editor, with Paula Treichler and Beth Stafford) ForAlma Mater: Feminist Scholarship in Theory and Practice, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1985.
(With Paula Treichler and with the assistance of Ann Russo) A Feminist Dictionary, Pandora Press/Unwin & Hyman/Harper Collins (New York, NY), 1986.
(Editor) Technology and Women's Voices, Routledge (New York, NY), 1988.
(With Lana Rakow) The Revolution in Words: Righting Women, 1868-1871, Routledge (London, England), 1990.
(With Ann Russo) Radical Press of the 1850s, Routledge (London, England), 1990.
(Editor, with Dale Spender) The Knowledge Explosion: Generations of Feminist Scholarship, Teachers College Press (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor, with H. Jeanie Taylor and Maureen Ebben) Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship, Center for Advanced Study at University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), 1993.
(Editor, with Dale Spender) Routledge InternationalEncyclopedia of Women: Women's Global Issues and Knowledge, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor, with Christiane Floyd, Govind Kelkar, Silvie Klein-Granke, and Cirilla Limpangog) Feminist Challenges in the Information Age, Leske-Budrich (Leverkusen, Germany), 2002.
Contributor to more than forty books and more than twenty academic journals. U.S. editor, Women's Studies International Quarterly, 1977.
SIDELIGHTS: Cheris Kramarae has had a long and distinguished career in academia, with a joint professorship in women's studies, speech communication, linguistics, and sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana, and with visiting appointments in England, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Germany. In addition to publishing numerous chapters in books and articles in scholarly journals, Kramarae has edited a number of volumes of feminist scholarship, which are marked, both as a virtue and a fault, by their very broad scope.
Kramarae brought together her training in speech communications with her interest in gender in her 1981 book Women and Men Speaking: Frameworks forAnalysis. In 1986 Kramarae and a colleague published a work which won considerable critical attention: A Feminist Dictionary. In a review for Globe and Mail, Linda Hossie explained: "As traditional dictionaries have drawn their word choice and definitions from the best authors, mostly men, so Kramarae and Treichler have drawn their definitions from writings by women," such as Aphra Behn, Mary Daly, Cicely Hamilton, Alice Walker, and Monique Wittig. The book makes room for neologisms like "supermom" and devotes considerable space to etymology; Hossie gives the example of the original meaning of a gossip: "'a woman's female friend invited to be present at a birth.' How did a word coined to denote a profound spiritual and emotional affinity come to mean its virtual opposite—all that is petty and superficial about women's relationships?" Patricia C. Nichols, in Signs, concluded that Kramarae and Treichler write with "wit and humor, and utter seriousness, throughout the book" and "present an alternative dictionary, forcing us to consider who assembles the dictionaries usually consulted and to ask how the words have been chosen and the illustrations of them selected."
Next Kramarae edited Technology and Women's Voices, published in 1988; in it, "washing machines, sewing machines, and dishwashers, automobiles and mass transit, microphones, and electricity are examined for their impact on women's ability to interact with each other and the world at large," explained Christine Kleinegger in Science. The book's project is broad, and Sarah Franklin, in the Women's Review of Books, remarked that "a stronger introduction would have helped an otherwise overstuffed, understructured anthology." But Kleinegger argued that Kramarae's introduction hits on an important common insight: women's social positions have not been improved by supposedly revolutionary technologies. Kramarae's own chapter, written with Anna Machung, presents "instances of technology narrowing women's social circle—the sewing machine edged out quilting bees, and intense data-entry on computers has curtailed office sociability," explained Kleinegger.
In 1990 Kramarae edited two volumes of excerpts from nineteenth-century feminist newspapers. One covers the 1850s, with selections from six newspapers, while the other focused on a single paper, The Revolution, in print from 1868 to 1871. Kramarae subsequently edited The Knowledge Explosion: Generations of Feminist Scholarship, which offered a summary of women's studies research over the previous twenty years and was dubbed "an exceptional resource" by J. L. Croissant in Choice.
More recently Kramarae coedited the Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Women's Global Issues and Knowledge, five volumes which eschew biographical entries and deemphasize theory in favor of organization around "ideas and actions," according to a reviewer in Choice. Ann Holder, in a review for Radical Teacher, pointed out weaknesses in its attempts at a global perspective but noted "each section did make an effort to display a human (and local) face by including a case study. For Development, the case study was Rural Women in China; for Environment, it was a South Asian case—Forests in India." Holder called the book "an especially daring endeavor due to the scope of its ambition"; with it, Kramarae can lay claim to producing both a dictionary and an encyclopedia focused on women.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2001, review of RoutledgeInternational Encyclopedia of Women: Women's Global Issues and Knowledge, p. 1421.
Choice, January, 1993, J. L. Croissant, review of TheKnowledge Explosion: Generations of Feminist Scholarship, p. 838; July-August, 2001, J. Ariel, review of Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, p. 1930
Globe and Mail, January 4, 1986, Linda Hossie, review of A Feminist Dictionary.
Media, Culture & Society, October, 1994, Valerie Frissen, review of Women, Information Technology and Scholarship, pp. 710-712.
New Statesman, January 3, 1986, Barbara Smith, review of A Feminist Dictionary, pp. 23-24.
Observer, October 27, 1985, Anthony Burgess, review of A Feminist Dictionary.
Radical Teacher, winter, 2001, Ann Holder, review of Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, pp. 44-49.
Science, November 18, 1998, review of Technology and Women's Voices, pp. 1064-1065.
Science, Technology, & Human Values, winter, 1995, Diana E. Forsythe, review of Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship, pp. 108-110.
Signs, spring, 1988, Patricia C. Nichols, review of AFeminist Dictionary, pp. 601-603, Janet S. Shibamoto, review of Language and Power, pp. 635-640.
Womens Review of Books, August, 1986, Julia Penelope, review of A Feminist Dictionary, pp. 9-10; May, 1989, Sarah Franklin, review of Technology and Women's Voices, pp. 23-24.*