Fundamental Feminism : Radical Feminist History for the Future book cover
2nd Edition

Fundamental Feminism
Radical Feminist History for the Future

ISBN 9781138960466
Published July 22, 2020 by Routledge
290 Pages

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Book Description

In this updated classic, Judith Grant provides a new introduction and postscript that frame her original work as part of a larger argument about the importance of structuralism in radical feminist ideas of patriarchy. Forewords by esteemed feminist theorists Kathi Weeks and Cristina Beltrán reintroduce the new edition to the latest generation of feminist students and scholars.

In Fundamental Feminism, Judith Grant explores the evolution of feminist theory in the context of today's feminist thought. In the original work, Grant analyzed three core concepts in feminist theory – "woman," "experience," and "personal politics" – from their origins in pamphlets and writings from the early women's liberation movement to their later constructions in feminist thought. In this second edition, she argues for the pivotal role of early radical feminism and the longstanding influence of these core assumptions on current theories including intersectional theory, queer theory, structuralism and poststructuralism, and ongoing discussions about the sexuality debates of the 1980s.

Fundamental Feminism is provocative reading for anyone interested in the history and future of feminist theory and the power of feminist politics.

Table of Contents


Kathi Weeks


Cristina Beltrán 

1. Introduction

2. Inventing Feminist Theory

3. Feminist Strategies: From Core Concepts to Feminist Theory

4. Feminism and Epistemology

5. Feminism and Postmodernism

6. Solutions: A Basic Outline of the Issues and Some Suggestion

Postscript. Feminist Structuralism: Patriarchy, Humanism, and Consciousness

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Judith Grant is professor of political science at Ohio University.


"In this brave and astute reckoning with ideas central to feminist theory, Judith Grant demonstrates the importance of critical thinking to the continuing struggle for social justice."

Mary Hawkesworth, author of Embodied Power: Demystifying Disembodied Politics

"At a time when radical feminism has migrated so far from its beginnings, Judith Grant’s Fundamental Feminism is now, more than ever, a crucial book. Grant shows us why radical feminism was so generative ... and so problematic. A must-read for students of feminism!"

Alice Echols, Professor of History, University of Southern California

"Judith Grant’s Fundamental Feminism celebrates diversity, though not as tick-box bureaucratic categories. Rather it conceives feminism as a diversity of activisms, struggles and confrontations, within which theories arise as praxis in relation to power. This is the way that I want my students to understand feminisms, and we will all welcome the updating contributions to the new edition."

Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory, University of Bristol, UK

"Making the case that feminist theory needs some new tools, this reissue of Judith Grant’s Fundamental Feminism comes just at the right moment. One crucial tool is the feminist lens. Grant skillfully focuses her lens to chart a political path to a feminist future."

Lori Marso, Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Literary and Historical Studies, Union College

"This new edition of Judith Grant’s trailblazing intervention provocatively recuperates feminist theory for, and works alongside, a feminist politics aimed at liberation from gender and other structures of domination. Grant’s stirring intellectual history extricates feminist theory from the "misogynist canon" of political thought while inciting contemporary feminist scholars to confront the value of our own "canonic" building blocks as tools of/for resistance in the present. Fundamental Feminisms calls us back to this unremitting work of dismantling the world we cannot live within as we reconstitute the world we desire."

Alix Olson, Emory University

"Judith Grant shows us the value of cultivating our curiosity about earlier feminist conversations, rather than simply leaving them behind. She leads us through a partially forgotten set of arguments to advocate for a feminist path that moves beyond gender to a different vision of the human."

Kathy Ferguson, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

"Judith Grant remains at the forefront of contemporary feminist theory thanks to her critical examination of feminism’s core concepts. In this updated version of her seminal 1993 text, Fundamental Feminism, she re-engages topics that are central to both feminist theory and feminist politics in the 21st century as she probes the latter’s ability to make real social change. This re-issued version of her book rekindles conversations about the importance of feminism today, and is essential reading for anyone interested in 21st century sexual politics."

Mary Caputi, California State University, Long Beach

“Judith Grant’s Fundamental Feminism was a watershed publication when it was fi rst published, at once an intellectual history of postwar feminism as well as a challenge to that history. At its core, Grant confronts feminism’s fundamentalisms and its implicit (and at times explicit) commitment to the Aristotelian conceit that any species must have an essence. Her response: abolish gender – not just philosophically but politically too. The urgency of Grant’s political theorizing, and of her political provocation, is as contemporary today as it was on initial publication. Fundamental Feminism is a foundational work of political theory.”

Davide Panagia, University of California, Los Angeles