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feminist generations and waves

feminist generations and waves

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Published by Katie King

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Published by: Katie King on Nov 15, 2012
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MLA Roundtable: Feminist Futures, Future FeminismsHandout: Alternative models of "feminist generations":
• As mother-daughter relationships; as student-teacher relationships:
these are two ubiquitous models of generational difference used by feminists; theyrender generational differences as diadic, pedagogical, age-stratified, successive, mutually exclusive;power differences as relatively benign and "familial", generational control as pedagogical and inevitable.
• The Third Wave from 1963-1973:
Third Wave Agenda's 1997 model is age-stratified, defining the Third Wave as feminists born between1963-1973.
• Entry into activism: Whittier's 1995 model with micro-cohorts:
Whittier's model challenges age-stratification or stage in life cycle as definitions of generations, ratherinitial politicization during the same era define generations, which are internally volatile and divergent inmicro-cohorts. Two large generations: the Second Wave and the Third Wave.
Second Wave micro-cohorts
=initiators (1969-1971) [years refer esp. to study in Columbus OH]=founders (1972-1973)=joiners (1974-1978)=sustainers (1979-1984)
Third Wave micro-cohorts
(don't have names just descriptions): (AKA post feminist); understoodby Whittier to redefine meanings of "feminism" by conflict with Second Wave building new collectiveidentities (mid 1980s and later):= micro-cohort 1: reluctant to use term "feminist" because of media associations and initial belief thatfeminism had completed its political tasks; rethinks these assumptions over next ten years and becomesoutspoken and pro-feminist= micro-cohort 2: establishes earlier continuity with Second Wave & esp. with radical forms, disruptivesocial and cultural action.
• Other micro-cohorts: multiple identities working in multiple social movements:
Extending Whittier's model to conceive of other micro-cohorts: for example, those with multiple identitiesworking in multiple social movements, with different social & historical time lines: eg. various women ofcolor, or queer activists. Cf. Sandoval's "differential consciousness": "enough strength to confidentlycommit to a well-defined structure of identity for one hour, day, week, month, year; enough flexibility toself-consciously transform that identity according to the requisites of another oppositional tactic if readingsof power's formation require it; enough grace to recognize alliance with others committed to egalitariansocial relations and race, gender, sex, class, and social justice, when their readings of power call foralternative oppositional stands."
• Other micro-cohorts: Activist ages of different disciplines & interdisciplines:
Extending Whittier's model to conceive of different disciplines and interdisciplines politicized by women'sstudies at different time periods and to varying degrees in particular institutions and departments and bydiverse cohorts of feminists with a range of activist histories, generations and visions. In other words,some fields may have different feminist "activist ages" than others, and some fields may be dominated bydifferent feminist generations and cohorts than others.

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