Genes and Gender Collective. Records of the Genes and Gender Collective, 1974-1999:
A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Edward, Frances
and Shirley B. Daniels Fund.
Call No.: MC 526
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Genes and Gender Collective
Title: Records of the Genes and Gender Collective, 1974-1999
Quantity: 1.88 linear feet (4 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 2 audiotapes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: The Genes and Gender Collective was formed in 1977. Members included faculty, students,
and researchers in fields as diverse as literature, anthropology, biology, psychology,
physiology, medicine, and women's studies, who were concerned with how theories of
genetic determinism were used to promote racism and sexism.
Accession numbers: 99-M116
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Betty Rosoff and Ethel Tobach in August 1999.
Processed: June 2005
By: Susan Earle
Access. Unrestricted, except that folders #4.12-5.3 are closed until January 1, 2025.
An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Copyright. Copyright in the records of the Genes and Gender Collective is held by
the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright
in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Genes and Gender Collective. Records, 1974-1999; item description, dates. MC 526,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge,
On January 29, 1977, 350 women from scientific institutions and neighborhood organizations
met at the American Museum of Natural History in New York to discuss the increasingly
prevalent theories of genetic determinism and sociobiology. (These theories argued
that human traits and behavior were determined solely by our genes, making efforts
to change behavior or moral nature pointless.) At this meeting, it was determined
that further discussions on this topic would be welcome and the Genes and Gender Collective
was established, with members including faculty, students, and researchers in fields
ranging from literature and women's studies to biology and physiology. The Collective's
goal was to challenge the theory of genetic determinism and to provide alternate theories
The proceedings of the Collective's first meeting were published as Genes and Gender I. Members of the Collective then co-chaired a symposium on pitfalls in researching
sex and gender at a 1978 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, and the papers from this symposium were published as Genes and Gender II: Pitfalls in Research on Sex and Gender. Between 1979 and 1986, the Collective organized four more conferences focusing in
turn on children, health, changing technology in the workplace, and attitudes towards
peace and war. The proceedings of these conferences were published as the third, fourth,
fifth, and sixth volumes in the Genes and Gender series.
The Collective also organized symposiums at meetings of the Eastern Psychological
Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. One such
symposium was held in 1989 in honor of Eleanor Leacock, an anthropologist and founding
member of the Collective, while two others were prompted by lectures given by proponents
of genetic determinism. Thus, in 1984 the Collective organized a symposium challenging
the presumptions of sociobiologists in regard to rape. (This topic was inspired by
a 1983 lecture theorizing that rape was a reproductive strategy which was selected
for in evolution.) An expanded version of the papers presented was published as a
monograph entitled Violence against Women: A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape. An additional symposium, held in 1990, was entitled "Evolutionary Biology and Human
Behavior: Contributions to Race/Gender Concepts," and was a response to a paper arguing
that genes determine differences among Asians, Africans, and Europeans in regard to
their socioeconomic status, intelligence, brain size, genital size, and sexual behavior.
Biologists, anthropologists, educators, science historians, and psychologists all
addressed the topic from the perspective of their particular disciplines. These papers,
along with other writings on the same topic, were published as Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations (Genes and Gender,
Volume VII). The Collective disbanded after this book was published.
The collection is arranged in four series:
- Series I. Genes and Gender conferences
- Series II. Publications
- Series III. Other conferences
- Series IV. Correspondence and minutes
The bulk of the collection pertains to the conferences held by the Collective and
the conference proceedings the Collective subsequently published. Some material concerning
the Collective's involvement in other meetings is also included. The folder titles
were created by the Collective and some documents were annotated in preparation for
transfer to the Schlesinger Library. The Collective numbered the majority of their
folders, leaving some significant gaps in the numbering sequence; the processor kept
these numbers on the folders. The processor also added dates and some additional information
to the folder titles, placing these additions within square brackets.
Series I, Genes and Gender conferences (#1.1-2.3, T-318.1-318.2), documents the planning
and organizing of the Collective's conferences. Located here are registration forms,
statements of conference purpose, and ideas for the structure of the conference, such
as that events last only one day, in order to allow students, working women, and out-of-towners
to participate fully. Also included are meeting minutes, paper topics, suggested speakers,
speakers' curricula vitae, correspondence, post-conference questionnaires, meeting
programs, and talk abstracts. (Material on Conference II is not included.)
Series II, Publications (#2.4-3.15), concerns the publication of conference and symposium
proceedings. (Some material concerning the conferences and symposiums themselves is
also included.) Included is correspondence with authors, publishers, and prospective
reviewers, drafts of articles, editorial comments from publishers and members of the
Collective, publicity and promotional materials, authors' contracts, biographies,
and curricula vitae. The series also documents Choichiro Yatani's difficulties with
U.S. Immigration Authorities, who had placed him on a list of undesirable aliens.
(Yatani, a native of Japan, was a contributor to the sixth Genes and Gender volume,
which addressed the topic of racism.)
Series III, Other conferences (#3.16-4.11, F+D.1), documents events at which Ethel
Tobach, a founding member of the Collective, gave presentations. Also included here
is material on the American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium honoring
Series IV, Correspondence and minutes (#4.12-5.3), consists of correspondence with
Collective members, concerning prospective presentations at the symposium honoring
Eleanor Leacock, and the issues of racism and eugenics. (#5.2 includes Barry Mehler's
testimony as an expert witness in a libel case concerning physicist William Shockley's
theories.) In addition, the series documents issues which arose within the Collective
concerning the inclusion of a paper in the seventh volume in the Genes and Gender
series: Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations. Minutes from meetings of the Collective are also located here.
- Series I. GENES AND GENDER CONFERENCES
- 1.1. Conference I, 1976-1977
- 1.2. Conference III [Genetic Determinism: Women and Children]: organizing, 1974, 1977-1978
- 1.3. Conference III: correspondence, 1978-1979
- 1.4. Conference III: events, conference call, program, etc., 1978-1979
- 1.5. Conference III: financial, 1978-1979; includes registration forms.
- 1.6. Conference III: speakers' curricula vitae, 1980, n.d.
- 1.7. Conference IV [Health: The Family, Workplace and Society]: organizing [material] and
- 1.8. Conference IV: event, 1980-1981
- 1.9. Conference IV: post conference questionnaire survey (responses), 1981
- 1.10. Conference V [Women's Work and Changing Technology]: organizing [material] and correspondence,
- 1.11. Conference V: event, 1985, 1989; includes conference attendees.
- 1.12. Conference VI [The Social Origins of Peace and War: A Challenge to Genetic Determinism]:
background and organizing [material], 1985; annotated in 1999.
- 1.13. Conference VI: event; 1986; includes attendance and registration forms.
- 1.14. Conference VII [Evolutionary Biology and Human Behavior: Contributions to Concepts
of Race and Gender]: organizing [material], correspondence, 1986-1990
- 2.1. Conference VII (AAAS Symposium): event and abstracts, 1990
- 2.2. Conference VII, Casey/Williams' paper (not published); presented by R. Williams at
AAAS, 1988-1991, n.d.; annotated in 1996.
- 2.3. Conference VII (AAAS Symposium) audio tape [order form], 1990
- T-318.1. Evolutionary Biology and Human Behavior: Contributions to Race and Gender Concepts,
part 1, 1990.
Request as T-318 reel 1.
- T-318.2. Evolutionary Biology and Human Behavior: Contributions to Race and Gender Concepts,
part 2, 1990.
Request as T-318 reel 2.
- Series II. PUBLICATIONS
- 2.4. Genes and Gender I, 1978-1981; includes Lillian Hellman.
- 2.5. Genes and Gender II: Pitfalls in Research on Sex and Gender, Ruth Hubbard, et al. correspondence, 1977-1982
- 2.6. Genes and Gender II: Pitfalls in Research on Sex and Gender, Ruth Hubbard and Marian Lowe drafts of introduction and article, 1978, n.d.
- 2.7. Genetic Determinism and Children, (Genes and Gender III), 1979-1984, 1995, n.d.
- 2.8. The Second X and Women's Health, (Genes and Gender IV), writing and editing, 1981-1984, n.d.
- 2.9. The Second X and Women's Health, promotion, 1982-1987, n.d.
- 2.10. Monograph: Violence against Women: A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape, symposium on sociobiology and violence against women, held at Eastern Psychological
Association [in] 1984, 1981-1984, n.d.
- 2.11. Monograph: Violence against Women: A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape, writing and publishing, 1984-1987, 1990
- 2.12. Monograph: Violence against Women: A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape, authors' curricula vitae, n.d.
- 2.13. Monograph: Violence against Women: A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape, correspondence relating to EPA [Eastern Psychological Association] reaction to APA
[American Psychological Association] meeting, 1983-1987, 1994
- 2.14. Women at Work: Socialization toward Inequality, (Genes and Gender V), correspondence and notes, 1985-1989
- 3.1. On Peace, War, and Gender: A Challenge to Genetic Explanations, (Genes and Gender VI), correspondence with authors, 1986-1991, n.d.
- 3.2. On Peace, War, and Gender: A Challenge to Genetic Explanations, correspondence with Feminist Press, 1988-1995
- 3.3. On Peace, War, and Gender: A Challenge to Genetic Explanations, authors' contracts, 1990, n.d.
- 3.4. On Peace, War, and Gender: A Challenge to Genetic Explanations, promotion, 1989-1994, n.d.
- 3.5. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, (Genes and Gender VII), general correspondence and notes, 1991-1992
- 3.6. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, correspondence with authors (except for Blustein and Kaplan/Rogers papers), 1988-1994,
- 3.7. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, correspondence with authors--Bonnie [Blustein], 1990-1991
- 3.8. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, correspondence with authors--Kaplan and Kaplan/Rogers papers, 1991-1993
- 3.9. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, correspondence with Feminist Press, 1992-1994
- 3.10. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, promotional [material] and reviewing, 1994-1995, n.d.
- 3.11. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, book party: October 5, 1994
- 3.12. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, contributors' biographies, 1993
- 3.13. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, Simona Sharoni personal material, 1991-1992
- 3.14. Challenging Racism and Sexism: Alternatives to Genetic Explanations, Choichiro Yatani personal material (U.S. Immigration Service case), 1986-1992; includes
Congressman Ted Weiss.
- 3.15. Proposed monograph on sexuality, 1984-1987; annotated in July 1999.
- Series III. OTHER CONFERENCES
- 3.16. Presentation by Ethel Tobach, University of Rhode Island, November 8, 1984; annotated
October 7, 1996.
- 3.17. Genes and Gender panel: Association for Women in Psychology, March 8, 1985, 1984-1985
- 3.18. Eleanor Leacock symposium held at the 1989 AAAS meeting in San Francisco: general,
1988-1989; annotated in 1996.
- 4.1. Eleanor Leacock symposium held at the 1989 AAAS meeting in San Francisco: correspondence,
- 4.2. Eleanor Leacock symposium held at the 1989 AAAS meeting in San Francisco: proposals
and abstracts, 1988, n.d.
- 4.3. Invited presentation: Yale symposium on Science and the Concepts of Race and Gender,
April 6, 1990
- 4.4. Presentation by Ethel Tobach: Women and War conference held in Austin, Texas, October
- 4.5. Panel discussion. WILPF [Women's International League for Peace and Freedom] symposium,
October 5, 1991
- 4.6. Panel discussion: American Psychological Association, Division 35, symposium on sexism
and racism [held in] Washington D.C., August 17, 1992, 1991-1992
- 4.7. Invited panel: Otelia Cromwell Day Symposium at Smith College, November 2, 1994
- 4.8. Panel discussion: CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences Seminar on Racism and
Sexism in Science, December 6, 1994.
See also #F+D.1.
- F+D.1. [Removed from #4.8: flyer.]
- 4.9. Participation by Genes and Gender: Petition/Ad Campaign against biological determinism
and racism, Spring 1995, 1994-1995, n.d.
- 4.10. Co-sponsorship by Genes and Gender: Howard University Race and Inequity Conference,
October 6-7, 1995
- 4.11. Conferences considered for Genes and Gender participation, 1987-1990, 1994-1995
- Series IV. CORRESPONDENCE AND MINUTES
Genes and Gender Conference
Manuscripts for publication
Sex determination, Genetic
Sex differences (Psychology)
Sex role in the work environment--United States
Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984
Hubbard, Ruth, 1924-2016
Tobach, Ethel, 1921-2015