Fighting with the Sky

Women's Studies On Its Own [Women's Studies Wednesday]

Posted on: September 16, 2009

Women’s Studies On Its Own is a compilation of essays edited by Robyn Wiegman.  I read many of these essays and articles for my my senior seminar in Women’s and Gender Studies, specifically looking at articles related to the role that activism plays in women’s studies.

From the back cover:

Since the 1970s, Women’s Studies has grown from a volunteerist political project to a full-scale academic enterprise.  Women’s Stuides On Its Own asseses the present and future of the field, demonstrating how institutionalization has extended a vital, ongoing intellectual project for a new generation of scholars and students.

Women’s Stuides On Its Own considers histoyr, pedagogy, and curricula of Women’s Stuides programs, as well as the field’s relation to the manage university.  Both theoretically and insitutionally grounded, the essays examine the pedagogical implications of various divisions of knowledge – racial, sexual, disciplinary, geopolitical, and economic.  They look at the institutional practices that challenge and enable Women’s Studies – including interdisciplinarity, governance, administration, faculty review, professionalism, corporatism, fiscal autonomy, and fiscal constraint.  Whether thinking about issues of academic labor, the impact of postcolonialism on Women’s Studies curricula, or the relation between education and the state, the contributors bring insight and wit to their theoretical deliberations on the shape of a transforming field.

I really liked this book because of the wide variety of viewpoints that it offered.  For some purposes, I really like these kinds of anthologies.  It was great to see all of these essays on the role of Women’s Studies in the university/college and the impact that it has on students.

The essays are definitely academic.  It’s not always an easy read.  The essays are four categories: histories of the present; institutional pedagogies; in the shadow of capital; and critical classrooms.  Some of my favorite essays were in the “critical classrooms” section because they covered some of the intersections of feminism and racism, classism, and other -isms, as well how women’s studies as a discipline approaches these issues.

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