At many universities, women's studies programs have achieved department status, establishing tenure-track appointments, graduate programs, and consistent course enrollments. Yet, as Joan Wallach Scott notes in her introduction to this collection, in the wake of its institutional successes, women's studies has begun to lose its critical purchase. Feminism, the driving political force behind women's studies, is often regarded as an outmoded political position by many of today's students, and activism is no longer central to women's studies programs on many campuses. In Women's Studies on the Edge, leading feminist scholars tackle the critical, political, and institutional challenges that women's studies has faced since its widespread integration into university curricula.
The contributors to Women's Studies on the Edge embrace feminism not as a set of prescriptions but as a critical stance, one that seeks to interrogate and disrupt prevailing systems of gender. Refusing to perpetuate and protect orthodoxies, they ask tough questions about the impact of institutionalization on the once radical field of women's studies; about the ongoing difficulties of articulating women's studies with ethnic, queer, and race studies; and about the limits of liberal concepts of emancipation for understanding non-Western women. They also question the viability of continuing to ground women's studies in identity politics authorized by personal experience. The multiple interpretations in Women's Studies on the Edge sometimes overlap and sometimes stand in opposition to one another. The result is a collection that embodies the best aspects of critique: the intellectual and political stance that the contributors take to be feminism's ethos and its aim.Contributors
Evelynn M. Hammonds
Joan Wallach Scott
Joan Wallach Scott is the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. Her many books include The Politics of the Veil, Gender and the Politics of History, and Feminists Theorize the Political (co-edited with Judith Butler).
Introduction: Feminism's Critical Edge / Joan Wallach Scott 1 I. Over the Edge The Impossibility of Women's Studies / Wendy Brown 17 Feminism, Institutionalism, and the Idiom of Failure / Robyn Wiegman 39 II. Edged Out Teaching and Research in Unavailable Intersections / Afsaneh Najmabadi 69 Feminism, Democracy, and Empire: Islam and the War of Terror / Saba Mahmood 81 Transfeminism and the Future of Gender / Gayle Salamon 115 III. Edging In Discipline and Vanish: Feminism, the Resistance to Theory, and the Politics of Cultural Studies / Ellen Rooney 139 Whither Black Women's Studies: Interview / Beverly Guy-Sheftall with Evelynn M. Hammonds 155 Success and Its Failures / Biddy Martin 169 Works Cited 199 Contributors 211 Index 215