Feeling Feminism examines the ways in which emotions such as anger, rage, joy, and hopefulness influenced second-wave feminist action and theorizing across Canada. From beauty pageant protests to fire bombings of pornographic stores, emotions are a powerful but often unexamined force in the actions underlying feminist history. They are at play in the experiences of injustice, exclusion, caring, and suffering that have fed women’s commitment to building and sustaining a new world.
The movement was at its height from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, but this groundbreaking study embraces the perspective of a long second wave, reaching back to the 1950s and forward into the early 1990s. Drawing explicitly on the history of emotions and affect theory to convey the passion, the sense of possibility, and the energizing collective political commitment that have characterized feminism, the contributors to this volume reveal its full impact on contemporary Canada and highlight the contested, sometimes exclusionary nature of the movement itself.
Insights from gender and women’s studies, cultural and literary theory, social psychology, and sociology infuse Feeling Feminism, as the contributors explore how emotions shaped and nourished feminist activism. More generally, they demonstrate the power of emotions, desires, and actions to transform the world.
Scholars and students of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies will want to own a copy of this engaging work, and it will also find a popular readership among those interested in feminist activism, women’s movements, and Canadian history.
...a fascinating collection of essays about second-wave feminist activism in Canada
To call this book thought-provoking is a profound understatement.
I learned a lot from this book! The focus on emotions was a great way to gain a better understanding of how personal experiences of inequity and injustice fueled feminist activism.
Feeling Feminism is an outstanding, vital book, providing not only an emotional history of second-wave feminism but also a superb overview of feminist activism in the years after the Second World War.
Lara Campbell is a professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. She has served on the Canadian Historical Association Council and as co-chair of the Canadian Committee on Women’s and Gender History. Among her many publications are A Great Revolutionary Wave: Women and the Vote in British Columbia and, with Tamara Myers and Adele Perry, the seventh edition of Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History.
Michael Dawson is a professor of history at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, where he has also chaired the department and served as associate vice-president (research). His publications include Selling Out or Buying In? Debating Consumerism in Vancouver and Victoria, 1945–1985 and, with Catherine Gidney and Donald Wright, Symbols of Canada.
Catherine Gidney is an adjunct research professor of history at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Her publications include Captive Audience: How Corporations Invaded Our Schools and Tending the Student Body: Youth, Health, and the Modern University. She is a former president of the Canadian History of Education Association and a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.
Contributors: Funké Aladejebi, Taylor Antoniazzi, Marin Beck, Josette Brun, Kevin Brushett, Lara Campbell, Michael Dawson, Sophie Doucet, Matthew Fesnak, Patrizia Gentile, Catherine Gidney, Laurie Laplanche, Margaret Little, Lynne Marks, Eryk Martin, Emma McKenna, Liz Millward, Sarah A. Nickel, Emma Paszat, Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, Whitney Wood
Introduction: Second-Wave Feminism and the History of Emotions / Lara Campbell, Michael Dawson, and Catherine Gidney
1 Pride, Shame, and Anger: Women’s Struggles to Achieve Natural Childbirth in Postwar Canada / Whitney Wood
2 The Good Mother of Science: Emotional Letters to Frances Oldham Kelsey during the Thalidomide Crisis / Cheryl Krasnick Warsh
3 Therapeutic Political Spaces: Collective Resistance among Indigenous Women in British Columbia / Sarah A. Nickel
4 “Feeling My Way”: Women’s Community Activism in the Company of Young Canadians / Kevin Brushett
5 Tears and Tiaras: Affect, Beauty Pageants, and Protests / Patrizia Gentile
6 “Jesus Is Not Part of This Collective”: Secular Passions and Religious Alienation among the Sisterhood / Lynne Marks, Margaret Little, Marin Beck, Emma Paszat, and Taylor Antoniazzi
7 Intense Times: Love, Fear, and Pride as Guides to Lesbian Feminist Organizing / Liz Millward
8 Resisting Red Hot Video: Feminism, Pornography, and the Political Utility of Emotion / Eryk Martin
9 An Assumption of Shared Fear: Feminism, Sex Work, and the Sex Wars in 1980s Kinesis / Emma McKenna
10 Emotional Scripts of Difference: Black Women Teachers and Feminist Mobilization / Funké Aladejebi
11 “Briser le mur du silence”: Emotions, Gender, and the 1981 Women Journalists’ Conference in Quebec / Josette Brun, Laurie Laplanche, and Sophie Doucet
12 Anger, Melancholia, and Hope: The Feminist Politics of Emotion and the Centre for Women and Trans People at Wilfrid Laurier University / Matthew Fesnak
Feminist History in Canada
New Essays on Women, Gender, Work, and Nation
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