Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Announcing a new title from the Femspec press

Femspec is pleased to announce the upcoming release of a new title from Femspec Books and Publications!

Naomi Mercer’s Toward Utopia will offer readers a critical examination of the way in which feminist authors recognize the dangers of fundamentalism and its infusion into American politics in the 1980s and began to address those dangers through genre writing. Specifically, Mercer addresses how feminist authors critique religious fundamentalism, linked to the rise of the Religious Right in the United States, in four canonical texts that interrogate fundamentalist manifestations of Abrahamic religions: Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Marley’s The Terrorists of Irustan, Piercy’s He, She and It, and Tepper’s Raising the Stones.

In tracing the non-chronological thematic arc among these texts, Mercer argues that feminist dystopian writing transgresses not only genre but also the “master narratives” of Western culture through its examination of and warnings against religious fundamentalism and theocratic governance. She notes that such writers interrogate this fundamentalism to expose its inherent misogyny and oppression, activities that are frequently played out on women’s bodies, and further argues that these writings challenge the legitimacy of the very underpinnings of Western thought and culture in myriad ways.

When asked what prompted her to develop this text, Mercer told us that "While deployed to Iraq for a year, I read Louise Marley’s The Terrorists of Irustan as a way to combine my love of science fiction and think more about the challenges facing the Muslim women with whom I came into contact."

The full press release can be viewed below. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Congratulations in Order. . .

Editor Batya Weinbaum has had a poem accepted for publication in the upcoming issue 98 of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian journal of art and literary work.

Consider subscribing, donating, volunteering, or submitting to support a sister journal!

Free Access to Journal of Gender Studies Special Issue

Femspec is pleased to provide its readers with limited free access to a special issue from the Journal of Gender Studies in honor of Gina Wisker, a Femspec board member whose paper appears in the issue entitled "All in this together? Feminisms, academia, austerity." The issue can be read for free here for a limited time.

The introduction and six papers of "Feminisms, academia, austerity" address the impact that economic austerity policies have had on the academy, and more specifically on its feminist scholars, researches, and programs. One question the introduction raises in particular asks readers to consider "What is the future for women in higher education and feminist scholarship if the current age of austerity threatens to further hamper academic feminism?"

Wisker's paper, which provides a strong bookend to the discussion, discusses how teaching and learning can be used to resist the intellectual inadequacies perpetuated by this new system.
"Wisker argues that despite the damaging sociocultural and intellectual effects of austerity upon scholars and students in higher education, feminist scholars have the opportunity to counter the negativity of diminishment. Wisker calls on feminist scholars to use their influence on the higher education curriculum to show how feminist scholarship proactively engages the concepts of social justice, waste and self-worth that lie at the heart of austerity discourses and contexts. Using examples from her own literature studies background, Wisker demonstrates how austerities can be challenged through feminist speculative fictions by contemporary women writers, whose writing, she shows, offers creative, value-oriented and critically engaged ways of imagining self and society beyond austere constraints" (JGS 1-2)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Announcing 2016 Femspec Retreat

As the Great Age issue 14.2 is finalized, Femspec is also pleased to announce plans for its first retreat. 

Open to the public, this event can be attended in whole or in part and will feature opportunities for both personal and professional development as well as a chance to meet like-minded authors, artists, students, and scholars of feminist speculative fiction studies. 

Watch this page or like us on Facebook for more news!