About Feminist Studies
Feminist Studies is the oldest feminist scholarly journal in the United States. It is a flagship publication in interdisciplinary women's studies and also a premier venue for discipline-specific feminist analysis. Each issue of the journal offers a distinctive mix of theory, commentary, creative writing, art, and critique. The journal is well known for publishing groundbreaking classics that have opened up new areas of research, creative expression, and speculation. With the highly selective acceptance rate of 7 percent, it is one of the few remaining autonomous nonprofit journals run by a collective of scholars located in multiple disciplines and institutions. Whether drawing on the complex past or the shifting present, the articles, art, and essays that appear in Feminist Studies reach readers across a range of fields and institutions around the world.
Feminist Studies first appeared in 1972, after more than
three years of discussion and planning. At that time, women from
Columbia University’s women’s liberation group, students
in a women’s studies course at Sarah Lawrence College, and
feminist activists from New York City brought together a wide network
of feminists committed to creating a scholarly journal with high
scholarly standards and community relevance. This feminist network
believed that the women’s movement needed an analytic forum
to engage the issues raised by the movement and to bring together
the contributions of feminist activists and scholars. The title,
Feminist Studies, was chosen to indicate that the content
of the journal would be both scholarly and political and would foreground
women as a social group and gender as a category of analysis.
The journal’s first editor, Ann Calderwood, ran the journal
as an out-of-pocket, out-of-apartment operation, publishing only
three volumes before 1977, several of which were Special Issues
drawing on papers first presented at the earliest conferences organized
by the Berkshire Conference in Women's History. It is sometimes
difficult to remember how rapidly feminism grew in the early 1970s.
In 1969 it was a radical notion to argue that women should be studied;
by 1977 women’s studies was beginning its phenomenal growth
inside the academy. In the fall of that year, the journal was restructured
and thereafter edited by a collective
of academics. It found its current home at the University of Maryland
at College Park under the guidance of Editorial Director, Claire
G. Moses, and a small paid staff.
Feminist Studies is still housed at the University of Maryland
and through the Department
of Women’s Studies enjoys office space and a small financial
stipend. Other than this assistance, Feminist Studies remains
self-publishing, self-supporting, and independent of the university
or with any other institution.
Over the years, Feminist Studies has been a reliable source
of significant writings on issues that are important to all classes
and races of women. Those familiar with the literature on women’s
studies are well aware of the importance and vitality of the journal
and the frequency with which articles first published in Feminist
Studies are cited and/or reprinted elsewhere. Indeed, no less
than four anthologies have been created from articles originally
published in Feminist Studies: Clio’s Consciousness Raised:
New Perspectives on the History of Women; Sex and Class in Women’s
History; U.S. Women in Struggle: A Feminist Studies Anthology; and
Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies Reader.
As we continue to grow and to engage new generations of feminist
scholars, activists, artists, and creative writers, we find ourselves
looking back to our history for inspiration. Always deeply committed
to interdisciplinary scholarship, Feminist Studies has been
well positioned to engage in global feminist dialogues. In addition
to publishing work by women around the world, we have created strong
ties with other journals through our membership in the international
group, Feminist Journals Network
(FJN). We have also in recent years published more work by feminist
activists, including commentaries, short reports, and interviews
and have strengthened our connection with contemporary artists by
publishing full color, high quality art reproductions in each issue.
As our history reflects, Feminist Studies has not remained
stagnant; we continue to seek out new ways to remain a vital forum
for scholars as well as activists involved in all aspects of feminist practice.