Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies re-examines the field’s foundational assumptions by identifying and critically analyzing eighteen of its key terms. Each essay investigates a single term (e.g., feminism, interdisciplinarity, intersectionality) by asking how it has come to be understood and mobilized in Women’s and Gender Studies and then explicates the roles it plays in both producing and shutting down possible versions of the field. The goal of the book is to trace and expose critical paradoxes, ironies, and contradictions embedded in the language of Women’s and Gender Studies—from its high theory to its casual conversations—that relies on these key terms. Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies offers a fresh approach to structuring Feminist Theory, Senior Capstone, and introductory graduate-level courses in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgements INTRODUCTION: Why Rethink: Critical Genealogies in the Discipline Part 1: Foundational Assumptions Section Introduction 1. Feminism, Layli Maparyan 2. Interdisciplinarity, Diane Lichtenstein 3. Methods, Katherine Side 4. Pedagogy, Susanne Luhmann 5. Points to Ponder Part 2: Ubiquitous Descriptions Section Introduction 6. Activism, Catherine M. Orr 6. Waves, Astrid Henry 7. Besiegement, Alison Piepmeier 8. Community, Martha McCaughey Points to Ponder Part 3: Epistemologies Rethought Section Introduction 9. Intersectionality, Vivian May 10. Identity (Politics), Scott Morgensen 11. Queer, Jennifer Purvis Points to Ponder Part 4: Silences and Disavowals Section Introduction 12. Discipline, Ann Braithwaite 13.History, Wendy Kolmar 14. Secularity, Karlyn Crowley 15. Sexuality, Merri Lisa Johnson Points to Ponder Part 5: Establishment Challenges Section Introduction 15. Trans, Bobby Noble 16. Institutionalization, Aimee Carrillo-Rowe 17. Transnational, Laura Parisi Points to Ponder CONCLUSION: Continuing the Conversation Web Resources Reference List About the Contributors Index
CATHERINE M. ORR is Professor and Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at Beloit College. Her work has been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Hypatia, NWSA Journal, and Feminist Collections. She served as National Conference Chair for the National Women’s Studies Association (2006-08).
ANN BRAITHWAITE is Associate Professor and Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. She is co-author of Troubling Women’s Studies (2004), co-editor of Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal, and former President of the Canadian Women’s Studies Association.
DIANE LICHTENSTEIN is Professor of English and former Chair of Women’s Studies as well as of Interdisciplinary Studies at Beloit College. She co-edited: a special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly (1999) focused on feminist activism and Women’s Studies; and a cluster of essays on "locations" in the NWSA Journal (2005).
"This thoughtful new book takes up and interrogates anew a range of terms that have been central to Women’s and Gender Studies, which the authors argue have sometimes been adopted without adequate reflection on their meaning. Contributing authors offer focused meditations on particular concepts—from "foundational assumptions" like "feminism" to more recently contested concepts like "transnational"—with the editors including provocative questions throughout the volume to open up conversation about the possibilities these terms evoke or foreclose. The result is a critical addition to the bookshelf of anyone seriously considering the current state and future course of Women’s and Gender Studies....Blending history, reflection, and analysis, the volume invites and even impels readers to engage with the vocabulary of Women’s and Gender Studies in new and refreshing ways—an activity sure to be of great value to new students and seasoned practitioners alike." - On Campus with Women
"In Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies, Orr, Braithwaite, and Lichtenstein have overseen the publication of a stylish, informative volume, characterized by a wonderfully simple structure. […] The result is a fresh and lively work that never feels overly didactic or prescriptive. So much thought has gone into making this an accessible and readable text that even the table of contents is a delight." - Emma L. E. Rees, University of Chester, UK, in Women’s Studies Quarterly
"The anthology [...] offers an up-to-date examination of the central concepts of self-/attribution in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) in the context of the current restructuring of universities – such as, methods, pedagogy, community, discipline, and institutionalization." - Jennifer Bühner, querelles-net
"Rethinking Women's and Gender Studies takes the reader beyond an introduction to the major issues--and even beyond the dirty laundry--in the field. [...] [T]he collection serves as a way to navigate through the eclectiv web of scholarship, activism(s), tensions, and debates that collectively we know as women's and gender studies. [...] [T]his kind of tension is necessary for a thought-provoking conversation. I highly recommend Rethinking Women and Gender Studies as a companion to theoretical texts and as a guide that will continue to shape the future of the field." -Glenda Jones, University of Wisconsin-- Stout, Feminist Collections, 2014
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