The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study celebrated its 10th anniversary with a symposium last week (Oct. 8-9), and many former Radcliffe Fellows returned. Those from the class of RI ’09 included the expert on arthropod communication (Sheila Patek ’94), the Martha Graham protégé (Christine Dakin), the scholar of insect flight (Jane Wang), and the Nigerian defense lawyer (Hauwa Ibrahim).
Also returning was journalist Susan Faludi ’81, RI ’09, author of the celebrated feminist classic “Backlash” (1991), but she didn’t have far to travel. “I had such a great time here that I really didn’t want to leave — so I didn’t,” said Faludi of her new home in Cambridge, where Radcliffe is still her main haunt. “Now they can’t get rid of me. I’m like the Bartleby of Byerly Hall.”
On a panel titled “Gendered Choices in the Public and Private Spheres,” Faludi read from a story she wrote for the Harvard Crimson as a freshman, when “we were still covering meetings of women’s groups like the Harvard Dames.” (The long-departed Dames were the wives of graduate students.)
How have times changed? Faludi shared a few lines. “Members last night ate 12 kinds of cookies, drank pink punch from the club’s engraved silver punch bowl, and signed up for … cosmopolitan evenings of armchair world travel.”