Update/Correction to Those Feminists Over There

I put this on the bottom of the original post when I was made aware of my mistake. However, I liked the way that post ended and I did not like having an addendum shifting that final sentence. I also liked the proximity of the book cover with the King Kong image and the McCain ape “joke” in the post that followed. So, I’ve moved the addendum here to a new post even tho it disconnects some of the criticism from the positive action, and lists of feminist presses, I suggest in the original post.

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It’s just been brought to my attention that the post in question did not say “feminist bookstore” but rather “feminist bookshelf” and there in lies the rub. While you can likely go to a bookstore or an online list and find diversity, some people’s bookshelves really are populated by a single publisher and they are unabashed about that publisher’s history b/c they are not the ones largely excluded. If what you read, where it comes from, and who you interact with are all largely the same insular group of people . . . then how can the failings of feminism ever be transformed into the triumphs? And how will all of the actual triumphs be documented in a sea of sameness that sprinkles us in like pepper flakes in a bowl of milk?

So I went to one of my shelves . . . these are the publishers represented on a single level of a three shelf bookshelf: Southend Press, Routledge, Cleis Press, Red Bone, Arte Publico Press, UT Pr, Duke Pr, Penguin, and Aunt Lute. Of these 4 are feminist Presses, their editorial board make up is as follows: 2 multiculti, 1 Af-Am (she is a one woman publisher), and 1 white, 2 are queer and 2 are mixed straight and queer. One of these presses is unique in having survived 30 years of publishing queer and sexual exploration texts when its contemporaries have all shut down; tho it is still caught in the black-white binary of racially diversity (publishing far too little on, about, or by, other racial groups). One is filling a void in queer and feminist publishing all by herself and has proven time and again to be open, available, and impactful. And another is always there to fill my course book orders no matter how much they get screwed up or how many times they have to refill my desk copy order b/c they care that much about the success of women’s studies. Four of the other presses

are academic presses one with a longstanding, tho waning, reputation of publishing both feminist and queer texts (and of course the overlap) about people around the world. Another of the three is making a huge name for itself lately in the publishing of critical cultural theory texts by women of color, provocative queer texts, feminist and gender theory, and publishing several of the cutting edge queer and cultural journals. While yet another has one of the most eclectic and interesting array of books on women and cultural texts I’ve seen because of its commitment to regional publishing as well as hemispheric publishing. The last has a focus on Chican@s with a decent spread of authors by gender as well as a Chican@ literature recovery project. At least one of these academic presses has also recently made a huge personal effort to work with me in filling my book orders and desk copy orders despite screw ups and to help me to identify books in their collection that are more reasonably priced for my students but cover the same ground as their *really expensive textbooks* again, b/c they care that much about WS and Queer Studies. Penguin, of course, publishes widely and is a trade paperback publisher.

Perhaps what is most telling about this experience is the fundamental difference in how and who we read and what it means for how we define and embody feminism. My grad student and I are working on an intro course where we will be focusing on teaching critical reading and research skills in WS, writing this post and reading the other one (b/c one of you just had to go and link my blog over there – feel free to link the “feminists over there” post would ya) has made me think that the question of what it means to read widely and diversely (in this case meaning specifically identity and not just methods/theories/ideas) has also got to be central and not just a given. I have been guilty in the not so recent past of thinking “well I teach all of these [identity] diverse authors, so I don’t have to tell them that when they look for sources all the authors should not be from the same racial or ethnic group” . . . and many have gotten it but maybe actually spelling it out along with all the other ways that diversity of thought is spelled out in their projects will help prevent myopia like that of the feminist web.

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images
  • cover Caughfield True Women and Westward Expansion
  • cover Trask From a Native Daughter
  • cover Romero y Harris Feminism, Nation, and Myth
  • cover hooks Feminism is for Everybody

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