Feminisms and Womanisms
A Women's Studies Reader
Feminisms and Womanisms brings together theory and practical application, so that feminist discourse interacts as a partner with the lived experience of women’s social action. The selections combine classics in feminist thought with work from modern theorists and offer a solid foundation in international feminism.
The conceptual understanding embedded in the terms feminism and womanism contributes to feminist discourse, a carefully differentiated focus on the ideological uses of language to define relationships that have been historically mired in domination. The terms also define the way gender often has been used to signify and support domination. Given that feminism and womanism are interpretive concepts, there is always a sense that knowledge-making is in progress; for there is nothing static or stagnant about feminism, feminist theory and feminist action.
The formative nature of the feminist movement has, of necessity, a parallel interpretive theory. This reader embraces both the formative nature of the movement and the accompanying interpretive theories. It also pays attention to the chronological, cultural, geopolitical, racial and ethnic landscapes and sites where women live, carry out social action and theorize issues of equality. For both the general and academic reader, this book will be edifying while providing exposure to the feminist, womanist voices that inform the scholarship.
Feminisms and Womanisms is an ideal text for teaching undergraduate courses. Its key strengths are that it includes the foremothers of feminism, has a nice mix of Canadian and international discourse, and covers the central issues underlying the history of feminism - it is thus a good foundation text. It strikes a great balance between the 'must-read' feminist foremothers and Third Wave feminists, while being inclusive of a diverse set of feminist voices, and, importantly, the voice of First Nations feminists. This reader offers students a balanced approach to the study of the history of feminist discourse, theory, and action.
Dr. Andrea O’Reilly, Director of the Association for Research on Mothering (A.R.M.) and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, York University