Traveling from feminism to mainstream sociology and back: One woman's tale of tenure and the politics of backlash

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Abstract

Within disciplines, the 1980s were an especially heady intellectual time for feminist graduate students. Not only did second wave scholarship prove to be inspirational for dissertation projects, but new books and articles published by women of color, lesbian feminists, postcolonial theorists and poststructuralists posed serious challenges to the ethnocentric assumptions of white, middle-class and Western feminism. Yet, despite over a decade of social movement activism and the creation of feminist institutions and organizations, this generation of feminist scholars worked against a cultural backdrop marked by a dramatic move to the political right. My personal narrative begins in this historical moment charting my political and intellectual trajectory from graduate school to the present. My positioning as a queer feminist between the second and third waves of feminist scholarship carried with it a rewarding intellectual legacy as well as a number of painful contradictions.1 Further, I argue that these contradictions arose as a consequence of the uneven diffusion and reception of feminist scholarship, particularly the politics of backlash, within institutions and academic departments across the country from the 1980s to the present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-396
Number of pages28
JournalQualitative Sociology
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

Keywords

  • Feminism
  • Personal narratives
  • Tenure

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