True Confessions: Feminist Professors Tell Stories Out of School

Volumes have been written--and careers built--on investigating the origins of feminism, but what of the origins of feminists? In True Confessions, groundbreaking academic feminist Susan Gubar presents essays from more than two dozen women's studies pioneers about the personal experiences that ground their theories and the professional repercussions of their feminist identities.

Nancy K. Miller and Jane Marcus identify ties between their fathers and their struggles against patriarchy, but Tania Modleski and Shirley Geok-lin Lim cite their mothers as the impetus for their pursuit of feminist sisterhood. Meanwhile, Dyan Elliott explores the relationship between feminism and religion, a recurring theme that touches on many disciplines of the humanities.

The intersection of race, class and gender looms large in these pieces, as it does in any Women's Studies curriculum. Among contributors who address sexual harassment in academia are Martha C. Nussbaum, who recalls crashing the gates of an all-male philosophy department, and Ann Douglas, whose male colleagues frequently interpreted her enthusiasm for their shared studies as sexual interest in them. Jane Gallop presents another side of the issue, asking what it means--and if it is even possible--to be a feminist accused of sexual harassment.

Frances Smith Foster and Tey Diana Rebolledo reflect on the tension between an individual's feminist and racial identities. Lillian Faderman explores links between feminism and lesbianism, and Nancy Chodorow synthesizes her remarkable career in feminist-oriented psychoanalysis into a stunning essay.

Intellectual giants who changed history fill these pages with remarkable stories of the personal liberations, sexual awakenings and professional challenges. True Confessions is a must-read for all feminists, a master class in the origins and evolution of women's studies and feminist activism. The contributors establish that the personal is still political; if we think feminism's work is done, we must think again. --Rebecca Joines Schinsky, blogger at The Book Lady’s Blog

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