Life Story / Obituary


Sandra Lee Bartky (May 5, 1935- October 17, 2016) died peacefully at home in Douglas, Michigan following an intestinal operation . She was Professor Emerita of Philosophy and of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A renowned feminist thinker and pioneer in the development of feminist philosophy in the 1970s, her essays continue to be read and widely taught. Bartky’s main research was in feminism and phenomenology. She had her Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and also studied at the Universities of Bonn and Munich in Germany, and at UCLA. Bartky grew up in Chicago, where she spent most of her career, though in retirement she lived mostly in Douglas, Michigan. In the early 1970s, she was a founder of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bartky was also a co-founder of the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) and regular participant in SOFPHIA (Socialist Feminist Philosophers Association). Bartky’s essays are collected in two important volumes—Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression (1990) and “Sympathy and Solidarity” and Other Essays (2002). Her papers are held at Pembroke Center for Teaching and Writing on Women at Brown University. Bartky was honored for her teaching and was an important intellectual and political influence on those who knew her, were taught by her, and the many who read her groundbreaking work. We will miss her deeply and her inimitable, sardonic wit. Bartky leaves her husband Algirdas Vileisis, a brother Jeff Schwartz, and many friends throughout the U.S. and Europe. Her close companion, William (Teddy) Precht, died last month.