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Telling feminist stories

Hemmings, Clare (2005) Telling feminist stories. Feminist Theory, 6 (2). pp. 115-139. ISSN 1464-7001

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1464700105053690


This article identifies and analyses the dominant stories that academics tell about the development of Western second wave feminist theory. Through an examination of recent production of interdisciplinary feminist and cultural theory journals, I suggest that despite a rhetorical insistence on multiple feminisms, Western feminist trajectories emerge as startlingly singular. In particular, I am critical of an insistent narrative that sees the development of feminist thought as a relentless march of progress or loss. This dominant approach oversimplifies the complex history of Western feminisms, fixes writers and perspectives within a particular decade, and repeatedly (and erroneously) positions poststructuralist feminists as ‘the first’ to challenge the category ‘woman’ as the subject and object of feminist knowledge. Rather than provide a corrective history of Western feminist theory, the article interrogates the techniques through which this dominant story is secured, despite the fact that we (feminist theorists) know better. My focus, therefore, is on citation patterns, discursive framings and some of their textual, theoretical and political effects. As an alternative, I suggest a realignment of key theorists purported to provide a critical break in feminist theory with their feminist citational traces, to force a concomitant re-imagining of our historical legacy and our place within it.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: Copyright © 2005 by SAGE Publications
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 06:42

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