The University Record, March 28, 1994

Program in feminist practice brings psychologist Russo to campus

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

Nancy Felipe Russo, noted feminist, psychologist and educator, will visit the University April 4–8. She will speak on “Post-Abortion Responses: The Construction of a Syndrome” 4–6 p.m. April 6 in the Rackham Amphitheater. She also will discuss “Latinas and Mental Health” at a Women’s Studies brown bag at noon April 5 in Room 232D, West Engineering. Both events are free and open to the public.

Russo’s visit is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Program in Feminist Practice (IPFP), a new initiative launched last September.

A professor of psychology and women’s studies at Arizona State University, Russo was founder and director of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Women’s Programs Office. She also has served on a number of APA task forces, including those on non-sexist research, women and depression, abortion research and male violence against women.

Russo also co-edited the final report of the APA’s Women and Depression task force titled “Women and Depression: Treatment and Needs.” She is the incoming editor of The Psychology of Women Quarterly.

“Russo is IPFP’s first visiting scholar,” explains Jane A. Hassinger, lecturer in psychology and in women’s studies, “and she is a particularly good exemplar of feminist practice. She fuses education and research on gender, mental health and justice, and applies it to political and social policy.”

The program, launched by Hassinger and Marcia W. Plunkett and Susan Contratto, co-directors and lecturers in psychology, offers graduate seminars for students in the practice disciplines such as social work, law, public health, business, nursing, education and psychology. The seminars are designed to help students incorporate feminist principles and approaches into their professional lives.

“We discuss a range of issues that crop up in the practice of every discipline or profession. How and why is knowledge generated and controlled? What are the power arrangements implicit in practice? For instance, who are the subjects in a study or of a practice? Does the study include women and minority groups? How do we analyze access to services and equalize it if necessary? How do we empower our clients—students, consumers, patients—through education?

“We also might discuss how professionals base their methods and targets of interventions on particular assumptions about normality, pathology and worthiness,” Hassinger explains.

IPFP also will be conducting a faculty seminar series in feminist practice May 16–June 10. For more information, e-mail “femPracProj,” or call 747-3935.

IPFP is sponsored by the Center for the Education of Women, Department of Psychology, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, School of Business Administration, the Women’s Studies program, and the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.