"Why Don't I Know About These Women?" The Integration of Early Women Sociologists in Classical Theory Courses
In recent years, early women sociologists such as Harriet Martineau, Ida B. Wells, and Jane Addams have begun to appear in some introductory textbooks and theory books. Usually, they appear in a box, as a sidebar, or as selected “others.” So why do we not know more about these women? Our research seeks to answer this question. Given the availability of books by and about these women, we hypothesized that one explanation might lie in the training of theory instructors. If graduate students were not exposed to the work of early women sociologists, then it seemed unlikely they would incorporate them into their own teaching, research, and analyses. To assess this theory, we collected theory syllabi from 40 graduate schools. Since we were most interested in early women sociologists, we focused our analysis on “classical” theory syllabi. Our findings indicate that Marx, Weber, and Durkheim still dominate classical theory syllabi. The writings of women were assigned on 17 percent of the syllabi in our sample. We believe this indicates a weak but visible indication that the diffusion of their work has begun.