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Resources for Teaching about Second Wave Theories

This file contains suggested resources for teaching about second wave theories.
The discussion took place on WMST-L in March 2010.  For more WMST-L files
available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 12:58:32 -0700
From: Linda Garber <lgarber AT SCU.EDU>
Subject: second wave reading
This spring I will be teaching a feminist theory course for the first
time in quite awhile.  I'm having trouble coming up with a good
overview reading (or readings) on second wave theories (radical,
liberal, lesbian, socialist, etc. feminisms).  Seems I've spent too
much time working on certain things about the 1970s to have a sense of
an overview reading!  Please let me know what has worked well for you,
and I'll post a list of all the suggestions.  Thank you, Linda

Linda Garber
Associate Professor
Department of English
Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA  95053-0280
lgarber  AT  scu.edu
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 15:33:22 -0500
From: Judith Roy <Judith.Roy AT CENTURY.EDU>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
I highly recommend the latest edition of Judith Lorber's Gender
Inequality, 4th ed. Oxford UP. Her presentation of the various
theories and perspectives is accessible to a wide variety of students.

Judith M Roy
History, Women & Gender Studies
Coordinator, Women & Gender Studies Program
Century College
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
judith.roy  AT  century.edu
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 21:13:58 +0000
From: Jean Pfaelzer <pfaelzer AT UDEL.EDU>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
Thanks. Would appreciate update. I find it hard not to teach the early material
cause the later seems to be in conversation. Jeannie Pfaelzer
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 16:36:59 -0500
From: Hannah Miyamoto <hsmiyamoto AT MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
"Feminist Theory: A Reader" by Wendy Kolmar, Frances Bartkowski
3rd ed, Mc-Graw Hill.
has many important radical feminist and one socialist feminist reading.

Unfortunately, "Sisterhood is Powerful," a thick collection edited by
Robyn Morgan, is out of print.  However, you can also look for:
"Radical Feminism: A Documentary Reader," edited by Barbara Crow 
New York Univ. Press, 2000

Consider assigning "Personal Politics" by Sara Evans (1988, in print),
to place Radical Feminist texts in more context.

The NOW website has links to NOW's liberal feminist documents:



I also recommend:




I also just found a site of digitized versions of "Radical America,"
which was an academic journal originally founded through Students for
a Democratic Society, but outlasted SDS by about 20 years.  Starting
in 1970, RA printed entire issues on feminism, esp. thanks to Mari Jo
and Paul Buhle:



Hannah Miyamoto
Graduate Studies, Sociology
Univ. of Hawai'i at Manoa
hsmiyamoto  AT  msn.com
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 21:53:38 -0500
From: Mary Clare Carruth <carruth.mary AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
Perhaps because I have a humanities (literary) background, I prefer feminist
readers edited by philosophers and historians rather than sociologists. I
value Judith Lorber's work and have used her reader. While her presentations
of feminist theories are accessible, I find them reductive and even
inadvertently misleading to novices. Her selection of the excerpts she
includes to demonstrate the theories do not always make sense out of
context. Granted, these problems reflect the challenges of any anthology.

I second Kolmar and Bartkowski's reader. I'd like to recommend  Elizabeth
Hacker and Sally Haslanger's Theorizing Feminisms: A Reader
by Oxford University Press in 2006.  Even if you decide that this text is
too advanced for beginners, the way the editors conceptualize the theories
is very helpful and could be a model for conceptualizing your syllabus.
  Also, while I have not double-checked their exact titles and editors,
other readers include "Daring to be Bad" (radical); The Second Wave Reader;
Rory Dicker and her co-editor's second edition of their reader on the third
wave; and Layli Phillips' "The Womanist Reader."


Mary Carruth
Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies
University of Mississippi
Oxford, MS. 38655
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 22:56:31 -0500
From: Judith Roy <Judith.Roy AT CENTURY.EDU>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
I too recommend Kolmar and Bartowski's reader in addition to Lorber's
text. Both of these readers reflect a broad range of feminist
theory. However, if we really are an interdisciplinary field, we
should be careful about claiming primacy for theory based on a
specific disciplinary perspective. Literary theory is valuable, but so
too is the theoretical perspective of history, sociology,
anthropology, geography, economics, and multiple other disciplines. I
am concerned that "feminist theory" might be reduced to a much too
narrow perspective.

Judith M Roy
History, Women & Gender Studies
Coordinator, Women & Gender Studies Program
Century College
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
judith.roy  AT  century.edu
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 01:18:57 -0400
From: Nancy Gobatto <ngobatto AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
i strongly recommend mccan and kim's "feminist theory reader: local and
global perspectives".  the 2nd edition just came out last summer.

i used it for a senior level undergraduate feminist theory course and found
the range of articles to be excellent.  i also appreciated how the text is
divided up thematically/topically rather than by theoretical perspective.
also, if you email routledge at saleshss  AT  taylorandfrancis.com they will send
you a comprensive list of test or discussion questions for each reading.

one thing is the cost--it is not the cheapest text for students to buy but i
did a lot of searching and comparing of texts and felt strongly that the
pieces in this collection are very important texts that students in women's
studies will draw on repeatedly as senior undergrads.  in fact, multiple
students that too the course last fall have told me how glad they were that
they bought this text and that even though the course was finished in
december, they found they were continuing to take the reader to school
regularly because it was such a valuable resource for their work in women's
studies more generally.

you can see an overview and table of contents here:


you can also browse it via amazon.com's "look inside" feature:


hope this is helpful,


Nancy Gobatto
Sessional Instructor, Women's Studies
University of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario (Canada)
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 03:46:20 -0400
From: Mehmet Atif Ergun <mehmetaergun AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 1:18 AM, Nancy Gobatto <ngobatto  AT  gmail.com> wrote:
> i strongly recommend mccan and kim's "feminist theory reader: local and
> global perspectives". the 2nd edition just came out last summer.


Kim&McCann's reader is quite nice. I still use their *first* edition,
telling students to buy, if possible at all, used copies *and* online.
That way, the price ranges $6-$20 (+ recycling etc...).

I wish authors (whose articles frequent these readers) would release
some of their [canonical] work to the public domain (or at least with
creative commons licenses) so that our students would not have to
spend a fortune on basic readings.

By the way, while trying to find the contents page for Kolmar &
Bartowski (ouch, expensive!!) on google books, I also came across
another one that looks quite nice. In case someone else did not
recommend it yet: Nicholson's (ed) The Second Wave: A Reader in
Feminist Theory (used price ranges $15-25). Its contents (listed on
google books and amazon) looks nice (depending on how you define
second wave, of course).

In terms of the range of concepts and ideas, the best book I know of,
which I'd say exceeds any realistic expectations of substance-price
ratio, is Lorde's Sister Outsider (and students love it). If
complemented with considerable preparation and additional PDFs (of
people and ideas she inadvertently "talks with/to"), it can as well be
treated as a syllabus-organizing reader.

Mehmet Ergun
mehmetaergun  AT  gmail.com
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 08:59:29 -0400
From: Eloise Buker <bukerea AT SLU.EDU>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
I suggest Rosemarie Tong's work which is a nice overview especially for
undergraduates because it provides an analysis of the theories you
identified with policy examples for each one.  It also covers others as

Eloise Buker

Eloise A. Buker
Professor of Political Science, Emerita
Saint Louis University
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 09:18:17 -0400
From: JoAnne Myers <JA.Myers AT MARIST.EDU>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
Linda (et al) I also recommend Rosemarie Tong's book--it is a good
overview.  I  couple it with short primary source writings--The Personal is
Political, Women-Identified Woman, Combahee River Statement, etc.   (I also
preface everything with a little bit of "first wave"  Olympe de Gouges'
Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen, and The
Declaration of Sentiments delivered at Seneca Falls....).


JA.Myers  AT  Marist.edu
Political Science & Women's Studies
Women & Society Conference:
Chair, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at ValKill (www.ervk.org)
blogging-for-america.blogspot.com (applied political theory)

Fontaine 315, School of Liberal Arts
Marist College, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 09:57:29 -0500
From: Mary Clare Carruth <carruth.mary AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
I agree with Judith Roy's comment. I draw from different disciplines, but my
critique was not of using multiple disciplines, but of Lorber's reader,
which seems widely used. I do draw from Lorber's own sociological essays.

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 12:56:40 -0400
From: Judith Lorber <jlorber AT RCN.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
Judith Lorber, Gender Inequality: Feminist Theories and Politics, 4th
edition, Oxford University Press, discusses all the second wave
feminisms and includes third wave as well.


Judith Lorber, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, CUNY
jlorber  AT  rcn.com
Imagine a world without gender!
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 15:11:26 -0700
From: Voichita Nachescu <voikitza AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
Dear Colleague,

I would like to suggest, for this Feminist Theory class, some readings
that might question the framework that situates feminist theorists
into Marxist, liberal, radical etc.  Chela Sandoval's "U.S. Third
World Feminism" from Methodologies of the Oppressed might be a good
start--among others.  Also, the Feminist Philosophy Reader edited by
Allison Bailey and Chris Cuomo includes many very good and recent
texts, from a multicultural / transnational perspective, and is truly
interdisciplinary (and not that expensive to my surprise, $40 on

Best regards,
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 22:01:52 -0700
From: Bernadette Barker-Plummmer <barkerplum AT USFCA.EDU>
Subject: re second wave reading
I also use Rosemarie Tong's text (Feminist Thought) and supplement it with
original readings from online archives like the one at Duke and Chicago
Women's Lib archive and from edited collections that deal with specific
moments (Bridge Called my Back, Gender Queer, Listen Up, etc.) Though I have
become less convinced for myself over the years of the organizational format
she uses (Liberal Feminism, Radical, Marxist, etc.), my (senior UG) students
get a lot from the Tong reader as it is well written, thoughtful and
summarizes/synthesizes really well. It is especially good on radfem and I
like the new chapters on care feminism. It skips queer theory, though, and
does just a basic job on third wave. But it is inexpensive and a very
student friendly text.

Thanks for all the other recommendations.

Bernadette Barker-Plummer
Bernadette Barker-Plummer, Ph.D.,
Media Studies/Gender and Sexualities Studies,
University of San Francisco,
2130 Fulton Street,
San Francisco, CA 94117
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:32:25 -0400
From: karen bojar <kbojar1 AT VERIZON.NET>
Subject: Re: second wave reading
It's important to give students some sense of  recent work which complicates
the history of second wave feminism by focusing on role on the role of women
of color, working class women and on geographical locations outside the
epicenter of second wave feminism. For example,

Breines, Winifred. The Trouble Between Us. An Uneasy History of White and
Black Women in the Feminist Movement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006

Gilmore, Stephanie, Ed. Feminist Coalitions: Historical Perspectives on
Second-Wave Feminism in the United  States,  University of Illinois Press,

Enke, Anne. Finding the Movement: Sexuality, Contested Space, and Feminist
Activism.    Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

Ezekiel, Judith.  Feminism in the Heartland. Columbus: Ohio State University
Press, 2002.

Roth, Benita.  Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana and White
Feminists Movements in America's   Second Wave.  Cambridge University press,

Springer, Kimberly.  Living for the Revolution : Black Feminist
Organizations, 1968-1980. Duke University  Press, 2005.
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:14:35 -0400
From: "Christensen, Kim" <Kim.Christensen AT PURCHASE.EDU>
Subject: Re: WMST-L Digest - 23 Mar 2010 to 24 Mar 2010 (#2010-78)
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010
From: Kimberly Christensen, kim.christensen AT purchase.edu
Subject: Second wave reading
I'd also recommend: 
The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in
America, Dorothy Sue Cobble, Princeton University Press, 2005.

--Kim Christensen 
Assoc. Prof., Economics and Gender Studies 
SUNY/Purchase College 
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 10:20:55 -0400
From: laura kramer <lkramerphd AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Second wave reading
See also Elisabeth Armstrong (2002) The Retreat from Organization: U.S.
Feminism Reconceptualized. Albany: SUNY Press for a discussion of the
variety of political approaches, goals, and people that collectively
comprised the second wave.
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 11:34:20 -0500
From: Department of Women's Studies <ws AT D.UMN.EDU>
Subject: second wave reading
Hi, WMSTlisters,

This is a great text for class whole or in part:  Sisters in the
Brotherhoods: Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City, by
Jane LaTour, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. This is a book of historical analysis
and recorded oral history that documents the experiences of women - some who
called themselves feminist and some who did not - breaking into the trade
unions in NYC in the 70's and 80's. Jane's insights, plus the voices and
stories of the women themselves, are a powerful combination for
understanding this significant part of the second wave.

Jane is an awesome guest and speaker. I can highly recommend her! We just
had her here here at U Minnesota Duluth (the other UMD) for Women's History
Month. It was especially nice to have her talk to our WS classes. She is a
great resource for them. A visit to the Duluth labor temple was extremely
eye-opening about both the simultaneous openness and resistance to feminism
in organized labor. Jane can talk to anybody about women in the labor
movement and it was really something to watch her sincerely and powerfully
connect with our primarily male labor leaders on the issue of what women
have been able to do and should be able to do in labor unions. Jane is a
journalist and labor reform activist writing and living in NYC. She can be
reached at jlatour  AT  dc37.net. Also check out the section with parts of her
book at laborarts.org - also good course material. Float over the pics at
the bottom of the page about her book to see excerpts.

Laura Stolle Schmidt
WS staff

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