Papers of Pat Caplan

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of:

* Women's Studies National Conference papers 1976

* Various papers from seminars and workshops on women's studies

Administrative / Biographical History

Pat Caplan (fl.1970-) studied Swahili and anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She became an ethnographic expert on Mafia, an island off the coast of Tanzania, and also worked in Nepal, Madras and Britain. Pat Caplan was one of the founding members of the Anthropology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, which she joined as a lecturer in 1977. She became Professor of Anthropology in 1989 and continued to teach until 2003. She is now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology. She was also Director of the University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies 1998-2000 and Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth 1997-2001. Her interests have included gender and social inequality; sexuality; kinship; food, health and risk; reflexivity and anthropological ethics; social justice and human rights. She has carried out fieldwork on Mafia Island, Tanzania since 1965, Chennai (Madras) since 1974, and West Wales since 1992. She has authored five books and edited or co-edited six others, as well as writing numerous articles, both academic and non-academic; she has also produced a video and website (both about Mafia Island), a digital data archive about food and health, and an archive on her Nepal research. Caplan became involved in the Women's Liberation Movement in the early 1970s, being a member of several local reading and consciousness-raising groups in north London. She also worked as a volunteer for two days a week at the Women's Research and Resources Centre (WRRC) in the mid 1970s, when it was still located in its first home at the Richardson Institute in Gower Street. Pat was a member of the (General) Collective and of the Publications Collective. Like many women academics at the time, Pat initially found it difficult to obtain a full-time university job. Many female academics held only part-time or temporary posts and this was often the experience of members of the WRRC. Pat attended the National Women's conferences held throughout the 1970s, and also conferences in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s concerning the teaching of women's studies (mainly in universities). As an academic she has remained active in feminism, and has taught a number of courses on women and gender as well as carrying out research in this area. She is currently a Trustee of the development charity Action Aid, and has responsibility on the Board for women's rights.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 2004 as an outright gift. Material relating to Women's Research and Resources Centre was transferred to 5WRR in Jun 2008

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds: the records of the Women's Research and Resources Centre (5WRR); records of the London Feminist History Group (5LFH); records of the Feminist & Women's Studies Association (5FWS). The Women's Library Printed Collections holds three publications by or edited by Pat Caplan. It also holds a number of Women's Liberation periodicals and press cuttings.