Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives
Diane L. Fowlkes has been a leader in women's advocacy and helped to develop the Women's Studies Institute at Georgia State University. Fowlkes received her B.A. in French language and literature from Southwestern at Memphis, her M.A. in political science from Georgia State University and her Ph.D. in political science from Emory University. The recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, Fowlkes attended the Open University in the United Kingdom, 1985-1986. She worked at Georgia State University for over 25 years, and was instrumental in establishing the women's studies program. During the 1990s, when dedicated women's rights activists approached GSU with a detailed plan to create a women's archives (which became the Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives), Fowlkes represented the Women's Studies Institute in supporting their endeavors. Fowlkes's book, White Political Women: Paths from Privilege to Empowerment, was nominated for the Victoria Schuck Award for the best book on women and politics of the American Political Science Association, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Award, the Elliott Rudwick Prize of the Organization of American Historians, and the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women's History of the American Historical Association (1992). In addition to producing many papers, publications, and presentations, Fowlkes also has participated in various professional associations: She was active with the American Political Science Association, the Southern Political Science Association, the Women's Caucus for Political Science (nationally and regionally), as well as the acting as co-chair of the Program Committee and coordinator of the NWSA '87 Quilt Project for the National Women's Studies Association. Fowlkes has served as consultant for various groups, including the Cave Springs Georgia Housing Authority (1994) and the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women (1982-1985), as well as acting as reviewer of books and board member for a variety of journals, and magazines. She is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Women's Caucus for Political Science, the National Women's Studies Association, and the Southeastern Women's Studies Association. At Georgia State University, Fowlkes served on a variety of panels including the University Senate (1995-1998) and the Committee on Faculty Women's Concerns (1989-1992). Her research and teaching interests include feminist theory, women and politics, and the scope of women's studies. In 1998, the year she retired from Georgia State, Fowlkes was appointed Professor Emerita, and during the spring commencement of that year, she was honored with the University's Exceptional Service Award.
Abstract of the full interview
Fowlkes recounts her childhood, her education, and the events that triggered her interest in the Women's Movement. She describes the Civil Rights Movement as the model for the Women's Rights Movement and discusses how it influenced women to work toward changing laws in order to further integrate society. Fowlkes was involved in the Strike for Women's Equality, the Feminist Action Alliance, the socialist-feminist movement, as well as the schism within the campaign for ERA Georgia. She discusses some of the major influential figures in the Women's Movement in Georgia including Margaret Curtis, Joyce Parker, and Sherry Sutton. Fowlkes also discusses her work to establish the Women's Studies Institute at Georgia State University which, she thinks, reflects not only the personal interests of different women, but also the accomplishments of the Women's Movement.
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