Women's Studies List (WMST-L)

Reviewed by Kimberly J. Allison

Unless indicated, quoted material is taken from The WMST-L User's Guide

Intended Audience & Purpose

Hosted by the University of Maryland, WMST-L invites instructors, librarians, researchers, and program administrators to engage in dialogues concerning the instruction and development of Women's Studies courses and programs and the current research in the field. Among the many discussion topics encouraged by the listserv moderator are:

Also welcome are "announcements about relevant conference, calls for papers, job opportunities, publications, and the like."

Not allowed on WMST-L are discussions of gender, social, or political issues; thus, the User's Guide for WMST-L encourages participants to include their name and e-mail addresses at the end of each posting so that such discussions can be carried on privately. Participants who disregard the intended focus of the list can expect a request to end any unrelated discussions from the list moderator, Joan Korenman.

Korenman devotes a great deal of time and effort to monitoring discussions, and makes a habit of posting sections of the WMST-L User'sGuide to the list each month. The following excerpt from one of such postings illustrates the type of information she draws from the WMST-L User's Guide each month.

To find out what files are available, send LISTSERV@UMDD.UMD.EDU (or, on Bitnet, LISTSERV@UMDD) the same command mentioned in the previous section: INDEX WMST-L. The list you'll receive from LISTSERV includes files as well as logs. To obtain the file(s) you want, send LISTSERV the following command: GET [filename] WMST-L where [filename] is the two-word name. . . .

These postings often address participants' queries but as Korenman explains, the posted sections are devised to "remind subscriber's of the list's resources and procedures" (4/9/96).

Resources & Procedures

The WMST-L User's Guide outlines the procedures for posting messages as well as obtaining the many resource files. WMST-L offers its subscribers a collection of course syllabi, feminist film reviews, and brief book reviews, which are listed in INDEX WMST-L. Also indexed are documents such as Professor Rosa Maria Peguero's essay, "Barbara Jordan, E. Bradford Burns and Me: Coming Out in Public Life."

Along with these useful documents, WMST-L archives past messages in the Women's Studies archive on the University of Maryland's Online Information System, InforM. The archives can be accessed through the World-Wide Web link: "Absolutely Best W.S. Online Archive (InforM)".

List Membership

WMST-L membership consists primarily of educators; however, a number of librarians, researchers, and editors also subscribe and post to the list. Both men and women are welcome to the list, and subscribers of both genders actively post to the list. And although the list is primarily focused on American Women's Studies programs and research sources, many subscribers from Canada, Puerto Rico, Africa, South America, Europe, and other nations post to the list.

With its ever increasing membership, WMST-L's mail is consistently high volume, resulting in 100+ messages each week. For this reason, WMST-L is available in an EDITED DIGEST format.

A Week In the Life

WMST-L subscribers can expect the majority of postings during any particular day to include queries and answers concerning resources for teaching or curriculum development. For instance, one of the major topics of discussion on May 7, 1996, involved an inquiry for resources to be used in developing a course discussion on women's use of technology and the World-Wide web. On this particular day, five responses from participants directed the initial inquirer to specific texts that would aid her in developing this topic for study by undergraduates.

Again on May 10, 1996, a query for novels that might be included in a course on women's health resulted in ten insightful responses listing novels that might be considered for inclusion, with many responses outlining the particular significance of each novel to the course. Other topics discussed throughout this week included resources for feminist theory, white slavery, etc.

Amidst these postings, a subscriber will find a few scattered announcements of job postings, of calls for papers, and of upcoming conferences. Occasionally, the moderator will announce new files available through the INDEX WMST-L or editors from publishing companies will announce new books on the list.


If you are a professional or academic involved with Women's Studies, WMST-L may be the list for you. WMST-L is a great place for networking with experts in the field of Women's Studies, and the active subscribers of WMST-L appear to be a very helpful and well informed bunch. They offer participants a wealth of resources and insights significant to Women's Studies instructors and researchers. WMST-L also offers subscribers an opportunity to share syllabi, read a variety of reviews, and access other documents relevant to Women's Studies.

Although the volume of mail is high, the use of headings encouraged in WMST-L's User's Guide will allow you to pick and choose which messages and discussion topics are of interest to you. Public information messages will appear without a subheading, so you might want to check these out. They often include postings from the moderator or information posted for non-subscribers. And for those times when you are too busy to read each message, you can request the digested format of discussions. Furthermore, personal and irrelevant messages are rarely posted to the list so that your mailbox is not cluttered with such annoyances.

Clearly, WMST-L is an asset for any academic or professional in the field of Women's Studies, and more particularly for instructors developing and teaching Women's Studies courses. Nevertheless, the focus of WMST-L is rather narrow, so undergraduates and graduate students may find the list inappropriate for their needs.

Membership Information

--To Subscribe to WMST-L: Send a message in the form of "subscribe WMST-L " to listserv@umdd.umd.edu.
--To Access the Archives, use the following: http://www-unix.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/links.html

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