Reprint Permission granted by Center for Genetics and Society and Rajani Bhatia. Rajani Bhatia, PhD is a visiting Assistant Professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. The Center for Genetics and Society [http://www.gene ticsandsociety.org/] is a public interest organization working to encourage responsible uses and effective societal governance of human genetic and reproductive technologies.
Maxey, Ian. “Beyond boundaries? Activism, academia, reflexivity and research”. Wiley and Sons, 5 July 2005. Reprint Permission granted by Wiley and Sons.
In this excerpted article by Ian Maxey, he draws upon his own experiences to question some of the boundaries constructed around notions of activism and academia. Firstly, activism is introduced as a discursively produced concept with potential both to challenge and to support social exclusion. An inclusive, reflexive view of activism is proposed that places all people as ‘activists’. Using this understanding of activism and the work of feminist and other critical geographers, the author considers the role of reflexivity within research and other activist projects. Drawing on his own experiences of activism, he then explore some of the boundaries that reproduce the academic-activist binary. The author suggests such boundaries are actively constructed and may compromise the liberatory potential of academic research. The conclusion of this article suggests that a reflexivity grounded in the contingency of our lives can support activism within the academy and beyond.
Aguilar, Delia D. “From Triple Jeopardy to Intersectionality: The Feminist Perplex.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 32.2 (2012): 415-428. Reprint Permission granted by Duke University Press.
This excerpted essay by Delia D. Aguilar focuses on the contradictory state of feminism today, showing how the transformations feminism has undergone since the inception of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s have manifested accommodations to changes in the broader political arena. To illustrate this, Aguilar’s article traces the evolution of “intersectionality,” a central concept in feminism, from the “triple jeopardy” slogan of the second wave. It makes evident that while intersectionality recounts and mimics the triple jeopardy motif propounded by US third world women it has, in fact, successfully been emptied of its revolutionary content. This essay argues that such evisceration characterizes contemporary US feminism. To resolve this quandary, Aguilar proposes that sharper analytical tools be deployed to comprehend a larger social totality than what prevailing discourse offers and that creative energies be channeled into the building of a revolutionary social movement.
Chowdhury, Elora. “Locating Global Feminisms Elsewhere: Braiding U.S. Women of Color and Transnational Feminisms.” Cultural Dynamics 21.1 (2009): 51-78. Reprint Permission granted by Elora Chowdhury.
This excerpted article by Elora Halim Chowdhury explores the trajectory of global feminism from the vantage point of the U.S., and its treatment of “Other Women” in the service of its own hegemonic (re)construction and simultaneous occlusion of multiple feminisms both within and beyond the U.S. The author critiques global feminism in two ways: through how the discipline of the women’s studies is organized, and how global feminism are to be found in US anti-racist feminism and transnational feminism, shifting the politics of feminism.
Stephenson-Abetz, Jenna. “Everyday Activism as a Dialogic Practice: Narratives of Feminist Daughters". Women’s Studies in Communication 35 (2012): 96-117. Reprint Permission granted by Taylor & Francis.
This summarized study by Jenna Stephenson-Abetz investigates the experiences of young women raised by feminist activist mothers. Given the relatively small number of women who embrace a feminist identity, investigating their stories represents a unique opportunity to understand the development of a political and social-justice consciousness as a communicative process that grows and evolves over time. Overwhelmingly, daughters report that everyday activism captures both how they came to feminist consciousness as young children and how they see their role in creating change as college students. The daughters’ stories underscore the epistemic value of everyday activism, as the interactions with their mothers generated the language that allowed them to know the importance of voice, the consequences of silence, the pain of invisibility, and the political nature of personal experience.
Gulbrandsen, Cari L. and Christine A. Walsh. “It Starts with Me: Women Mediate Power Within Feminist Activism.” Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work 27.3 (2012): 275-288. Reprint Permission granted by Sage Publications.
This excerpted article by Cari L. Gulbrandsen and Christine A. Walsh reports on a study of the lived experiences of 10 women who participated in feminist activism within a grassroots feminist organization. The study analyzed the women’s narratives to determine how power shapes their subjective experiences in feminist activism. Their narratives were categorized into two broad themes: the intrapersonal locus of power and the relational locus of power. The themes refer to how women mediate power in practice and how their experiences with power are interconnected with relationships in the collective. The women in the study elaborated on the role of power in their own agency and in tensions, such as privilege and oppression.
Piven, Frances. “Reflections on Scholarship and Activism.” Antipode 42.4 (2010): 806-810. Reprint Permission granted by Frances Piven.
Many people enter the academic world determined to become scholars because of their desire to be both scholars and activists, a trend that became especially evident in the aftermath of the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The motivating idea is that academic work can be useful in ameliorating the big problems of our society, such as inequality and insecurity, or militarism and imperial overreach. As this excerpted article by Dr. Frances Piven indicates, many good academics try to use their scholarship to work on these problems and influence policy solutions.
Eisenstein, Hester. “A Dangerous Liaison? Feminism and Corporate Globalization.” Science and Society 60.3 (2005): 487-518. Reprint Permission granted by Science & Society.
The profound “restructuring” of the U. S. and world economy since the 1970s parallels the rise of the women’s movement during the same period, and reveals some ideological and practical uses of this movement for capitalist interests at home and abroad. In particular, the decline of the family wage and the abolition of welfare “as we know it” in the United States, and the use of microcredit and female labor in export processing zones in the “developing” world, both can draw upon feminist ideas, as can the U. S. government as it pursues its “war on terrorism.” There is a kernel of truth in U. S. propaganda: feminism acts as a cultural solvent, as globalization erodes the traditions of patriarchy. This excerpted article by Hester Eisenstein examines how the left must take on board the crucial contribution of feminist ideas and activism, as we contemplate a world where alternatives to capitalism have become devalued and de-legitimized.
Peters, Joan K. “Gender Remembered: The Ghost of ‘Unisex’ Past, Present, and Future.” Women’s Studies 34.1 (2005): 67-83. Reprint Permission granted by Taylor & Francis.
For a brief time during the second wave of the U.S. women’s movement, the goal of gender bending was twinned to that of sexual equality; however, this challenging ideal soon faded from consciousness as 1970s austerity replaced the economic prosperity of the earlier decade. This excerpted essay by John Peters reflects on why that was so and how the present conflict between traditional gender roles, particularly motherhood and sexual equality, can only be resolved by accepting the inevitability of blending genders.
Beloso, Brooke Meredith. “Sex, Work, and the Feminist Erasure of Class.” Signs 38.1 (2012): 47-70. Reprint Permission granted by University of Chicago Press.
In this excerpted essay by Dr. Brooke Meredith Beloso, she seeks to scrutinize the fallout of a period characterized as one in which “mainstream, white, middle-class feminists of the 1960s and 1970s dominated the discussions on feminism and defined the feminist issues of the era. As a result, sex work was primarily viewed as something that objectified and dehumanized women.” The author subjects this period to close scrutiny also in the interest of defusing the present day political minefield on this topic—wherein “the public discussion on prostitution has become an ideological brawl in which both sides bend research to promote political agendas and to slander opponents.”
Connell, Raewyn. “Transsexual Women and Feminist Thought: Toward New Understanding and New Politics.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 37.4 (2012): 857-881. Reprint Permission granted by University of Chicago Press.
This excerpt from an article written by Dr. Raewyn Connell examines feminist perspectives on transsexuality. The author outlines feminism’s encounters with transsexual women and the concept of gender change, then looks critically at assumptions within this debate and the impact of transgender ideas, arguing for a stronger input from feminist social science. The author offers an account of transition as a gender project, of the nature of transsexual embodiment, and of transsexual women’s practice in the making and remaking of a gender order; she connects this analysis with recognition struggles and material inequalities and suggests a reworked relationship of transsexual women and feminism within a politics of care and social justice.
Despite the impressive gains of the feminist movement and the acceptance of equality for women in developed countries such as the United States, gender equality has still not be achieved. For example, many working women earn less than men, violence against women is still common, and women are still primarily responsible for the care of children...These issues have led to the mass movement of women today, dispersed into small movements of its members, who are employed and paid thousands of small organizations advocating women's equality. Examining the various events, social origin and cultural, and the feminist perspective allows us to view the current feminist movement and understand them better.