Speaking on "The State of Feminism and Women's Studies Today" is so very ambitious that I blush to imagine just how to do it. Luckily I only open up our discussion together, so most of the talk will necessarily come from you all. ::I wipe my face in relief::
Every bit of this ambitious title is so very massively singular: "the," "state," "feminism," "Women's Studies."
We all know and many of us teach that these are multiplicities even as they are also not additive! In other words, their interactions are considerably greater than the sum of their parts! Given that, I've reshuffled them here on this talksite as "Feminisms, Women's Studies Multiplicities, 'States.'"
And notice how all such interacting takes place as lively dissensus, not consensus. These titles are a dive right into overlaps, disagreements, political and institutional contexts, uneven privilege and power -- multiple now just in order even to "state" what is at stake! (Grebowicz 2005, 2013)
What's a good visual for multiple but not additive? Something fun that also gets at just how we CAN mean something that BOTH • connects robustly and organically across communities that sometimes know and often don't know what their own assumptions are? Yet also • something that is so plastic and jelly-like that each community can birth, tend, and activate its own version of its particulars and practices?
Here you have it! My jelly-fish watercolor to think with about communities of practice, knowledge worlds and feminisms, as well as which shared somethings we grow to translate and to differentiate, a way of wondering about what feminist theorist Leigh Star called "boundary objects." (Star 2010; Bowker et al. 2016; King 2012)