I’ve been a little out of touch the last few days, as there is one of the two major annual conferences for my field going on, and my days have been full of sessions and roundtables and happy hours and such. I’ve seen good stuff and less-good stuff, and been privy to a lot of fun, smart, weird and/or rigorous conversations, including discussions of the early films of the Marx Brothers, the meaning of Nadya Suleman, the interplay of human rights and emergent technologies, and the uses and abuses of nostalgia, among other things. Mixed in with all of this was a really big helping of feminist scholarship.
While I enjoyed all–okay, most–of the topics, what really made the conference for me was the amazing presence of women in all aspects. Conference planners, senior scholars, student presenters, editors, mentors, etc. My best and most productive conversations were with other women, making connections across schools, positions and sub-disciplines, to help each other out, offering CV counselling, publication opportunities, and a warm atmosphere.
Academia in general, and even my pretty progressive field, is not yet one of gender parity, but the balance is tipping in that direction. Neither do I mean to imply that the rise of women in academia will make it a cuddly, everybody wins! GIRL POWAH! atmosphere–I don’t wanna sing Kum By Yah, I wanna get my blah blah Foucault on. But it is heartening to see so many women at so many different stages of their careers coming together to create female networks, if not an Ol’ Girls Club. And these networks are, counter to “ivory tower” stereotypes, very invested in real people and the real world, where women and men are going about their lives.
Anyway, though I doubt that many of you will run out to your local research library, I wanted to put in a plug for feminist academic journals, of which there are many, in most fields of the social sciences and humanities as well as the professions. (I couldn’t speak to the math/science stuff). Whatever you’re interested in: languages, literatures, fine arts, the media, history, education, religion, sociology, anthro, cultural studies, national studies, race/ethnicity, law, medicine…there will likely be a journal–or two– that will have a feminist bent. Some will be heavy-duty theoretical stuff, like Duke’s differences, but there is a whole range, including the very accessible. For any of our readers currently in school, I recommend you take a little while to search around JSTOR or Project Muse. A short list:
Gender Place and Culture
Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Feminism & Psychology
Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
Women’s Studies International
Feminist Law Journal
I could go on and on. And I haven’t even mentioned Queer Studies, which would add a whole bunch more. It’s not all gold, but it’s good, stimulating reading, a great resource to learn more–and more deeply–about whatever it is you’re interested in, whether you’re currently in an academic setting or not (although undergrads? whip some of this stuff out if you wanna really impress your profs). For those of you longing for a little good news, here it is: a lot of women–and some men–are deeply invested, both professionally and personally, in the feminist enterprise. It’s good to know.