Elizabeth Fox-Genovese: Unorthodox scholar (AJC obit)





As a historian, scholar and self-described complex conservative, Dr. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese took comfortable orthodoxy and turned it inside out, generating vitriolic criticism and devoted followers in the process.

Emory University recruited Dr. Fox-Genovese in 1986 as founding director of its Institute for Women's Studies, where she established the nation's first doctoral program in the field, said Dr. Virginia Shadron of Atlanta, assistant dean of Emory's graduate school of arts and sciences.

Through her scholarship, Dr. Fox-Genovese alienated doctrinaire feminists and attracted conservatives, especially on women's issues.

"She probably did more for the conservative women's movement than anyone," said Dr. Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University history professor. "Betsey's voice came from inside the academy and updated the ideas of the conservative women's movement. She was one of their most influential intellectual forces."

The memorial Mass for Dr. Fox-Genovese, 65, of Atlanta is at 10 a.m. Friday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. She died Tuesday at Emory University Hospital of complications from surgery in October. The body was cremated. H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill, is in charge of arrangements.

"She established herself as an academic leader and a scholar of international significance," said Emory President Dr. James W. Wagner.

Dr. Fox-Genovese's 1988 book, "Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South" was her most courageous book, Dr. Shadron said, and established her as an independent scholar of women in the South.

Her 1996 book "Feminism is Not the Story of My Life: How the Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch With the Real Concerns of Women," published in 1996, and her 1991 "Feminism Without Illusions" critique the women's movement.

Commenting on Dr. Fox-Genovese's 1996 book, Mary Ellen Bork of McLean, Va., said, "I thought it had a very realistic view of the limitations of modern feminism." Mrs. Bork is the wife of the former judge and onetime U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork...



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