The first collection of its kind, Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought is historically organized and transnational in scope, highlighting key ideas, transformative moments, and feminist conversations across national and cultural borders. Emphasizing feminist cross-talk, transnational collaborations and influences, and cultural differences in context, this anthology heralds a new approach to studying feminist history.
Provocations includes engaging, historically significant primary sources by writers of many nationalities in numerous genres—from political manifestos to theoretical and cultural analysis to poetry and fiction. These texts range from those of classical antiquity to others composed during the Arab Spring and represent Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Western Europe, and the United States. Each section begins with an introductory essay that presents central ideas and explores connections among readings, placing them in historical, national, and intellectual contexts and concluding with questions for discussion and reflection.
Foreword: The Challenges of Constructing a Transnational History
PART 1. CHALLENGING MALE DOMINANCE: ANTIQUITY TO 1800
1. Amy Richlin: Feminist Thought before the Renaissance
2. Susan Bordo: Christine de Pizan and the Querelle des femmes
3. Mónica Díaz: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Early Feminism in the Americas or the Right of Every Woman to Study
4. Ruth Perry: Radical Doubt and the Liberation of Women
PART 2. ACTIVISM ON THREE CONTINENTS: NINETEENTH TO EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
5. Ellen Rosenman: Sexual Politics in England and India: The Case of Prostitution
6. Ellen Rosenman, Jill Abney, and Kathi Kern: Women’s Suffrage: Transnational Connections
PART 3. TALKING BACK TO SEXISM BEFORE “WOMEN’S LIBERATION”: NINETEENTH TO MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY
7. Jacqueline Couti: The Mythology of the Doudou: Sexualizing Black Female Bodies, Constructing Culture in the French Caribbean
8. Pramila Venkateswaran: Locating the Feminist Spirit in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries in India: Tarabai Shinde and Lalitambika Antarjanam
9. Liang Luo: Problems of Translation and Transnational Feminisms: On Gu Ruopu and Li Ruzhen
10. Ellen Rosenman, A Room of One’s Own in Transracial Perspective
11. Susan Bordo: Simone de Beauvoir: The Feminist Philosopher as Other
PART 4. DISCOVERING GENDER AND REMAPPING FEMINISM: 1955–1975
12. Karen W. Tice: The “Personal Politics” of Class
13. Susan Bordo: Feminists Reimagine the Body
14. Cheryl R. Hopson: The U.S. Women’s Liberation Movement and Black Feminist “Sisterhood”
15. Maylei Blackwell: Triple Jeopardy: The Third World Women’s Alliance and the Transnational Roots of Women-of-Color Feminisms
16. Ann M. Ciasullo: Strained Sisterhood: Lesbianism, Feminism, and the U.S. Women’s Liberation Movement
17. Norma Mogrovejo: The Latin American Lesbian Movement: Its Shaping and its Search for Autonomy
18. Paula Gunn Allen: Who Is Your Mother? Red Roots of White Feminism
19. Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant: Suffering Like an African Girl: Trauma Embodied in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions
20. Fatima Mernissi: The Meaning of Spatial Boundaries
PART 5. BEYOND “THE DECADE OF THE WOMAN”: 1975 TO THE PRESENT
21. M. Cristina Alcalde: Mothers, Guerrillas, and Revolutionaries: Women’s Mobilization and Activism in Latin America
22. M. Cristina Alcalde, Srimati Basu, and Emily Burrill: Feminist Organizing around Violence against Women in Mali, Peru, and India?
23. Bernadette Barton: Freedom from Sexism versus Sexual Freedom: A Short History of the Feminist Sex Wars
24. Diane E. King: Two Generations of Feminist Activism: Snapshots from the Middle East and North Africa since 1970
25. Michael Kimmel: Men and Women’s Studies: Promise, Pitfalls, and Possibility
26. Ashley Bourgeois: Identity, Activism, and Third Wave Feminism in the United States
27. Obioma Nnaemeka: Captured in Translation: Africa and Feminisms in the Age of Globalization
28. Nadje Al-Ali: Gendering the Arab Spring
List of Contributors
List of Credits
Susan Bordo is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and holds the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at the University of Kentucky. Her publications include Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body; The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private; and The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen.
M. Cristina Alcalde is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is author of The Woman in the Violence: Gender, Poverty, and Resistance in Peru and numerous articles on migration, gender violence, race, and masculinities.
Ellen Rosenman is Provost’s Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Kentucky . She is author of The Invisible Presence: Virginia Woolf and the Mother-Daughter Relationship and Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience, as well as coeditor of Other Mothers: Beyond the Maternal Ideal.
"A stimulating new collection . . . I am glad to have read this volume. . . . The book will occupy a place of distinction on my office shelf."—Valerie M. Hudson H-Diplo
is an ambitious, pioneering, interdisciplinary anthology that promises to disrupt hegemonic narratives of the complex histories of feminisms that permeate women’s studies classrooms in the U.S. academy. From the ancient world to the recent Arab Spring, Provocations
engages some of the most compelling and contentious debates in the centuries old ‘woman question.’”—Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and Founding Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College
“Ever-mindful of historical and cultural context, the authors present essays that cross borders of time and space to reveal women’s emerging consciousness of self, sexuality, and intellect through the centuries. The result is a collection of proto-feminist and feminist thought stunning in its breadth and depth.”—Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos
“A wide-ranging collection of essays by recognized critics in the field, which begins with antiquity and closes with the twenty-first century—a reader that proves yet again, if proof were still needed, that feminism is a transnational (transhistorical and transcultural) movement.”—Domna C. Stanton, Distinguished Professor of French, Graduate Center CUNY
“Coupling contextualizing analytical essays with the voices of women from all regions of the world, from antiquity to the present, Provocations
affords new insights into women’s self-understandings, aspirations, and resistance, as well as the expansive precursors, origins, and scope of feminist activism.”—Mary Hawkesworth, author of Political Worlds of Women: Activism, Advocacy and Governance in the 21st Century
“Feminist thought is a rich terrain and has a rich history. That it also has a transnational reach is evident in this carefully curated and comprehensive collection of writings. Bordo, Alcalde, and Rosenman and their collaborators offer engaging introductions to the selected works. Seasoned feminists will be gratified to see this collection, and younger ones will have the pleasure of discovering brilliant writings that continue to inspire us.”—Florence E. Babb, Harrington Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill