Feminist Public Intellectuals Project
In keeping with the consistent mission of Signs to matter in the world, the Feminist Public Intellectuals Project seeks to engage feminist theorizing with pressing political and social issues via three open-access, online-first initiatives: Short Takes, Currents, and Ask a Feminist. Given the fragmentation of feminist activism and the persistent negative freighting of the moniker “feminist,” the Feminist Public Intellectuals Project seeks to genuinely reimagine the role a journal can play. This multipronged tack brings into conversation feminist public intellectuals with academic experts, activists with scholars in an effort to spark conversation, debate, and critical feminist discourse.
Short Takes: Provocations on Public Feminism is a new open-access, online-first feature of Signs that examines books that have shaped popular conversations about feminist issues. This new section will examine a book that has had wide-ranging impact and reach (for better or worse!) and solicit short commentaries from leading feminist public intellectuals and activists. Rather than traditional book reviews, commentators are asked to ponder broader questions of reach and resonance: Why this? Why now? And what does this say about the state of the feminist zeitgeist? Read more about the initiative in Suzanna Danuta Walters’s introduction to the inaugural Short Takes on Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist.
We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler. Commentaries from Soraya Chemaly, Susan J. Douglas, Sara Evans, Amy Richards, and Kimberly Springer, with a response from Zeisler.
All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister. Commentaries from Kate Bollick, Rebecca Carroll, Nancy F. Cott, Bella DePaulo, Barbara J. Risman, and Judith Stacey, with a response from Traister.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem and Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik. Commentaries from Khiara Bridges, Sady Doyle, Catharine R. Stimpson, Salamishah Tillet, and Susan Ware, with responses from Steinem and Carmon and Knizhnik.
Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter. Commentaries from Heather Boushey, Kimberly Freeman Brown, Stephanie Coontz, Nancy Folbre, Kathleen Geier, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Premilla Nadasen, Ai-jen Poo, and Joan C. Williams, with a response from Slaughter.
Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt. Commentaries from Michelle Kinsey Bruns, Jill Filipovic, Dani McClean, Eesha Pandit, Loretta Ross, and Rickie Solinger, with a response from Pollitt.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Commentaries from Jennifer Baumgardner, Brittney Cooper, Carla Kaplan, Patricia J. Williams, and Naomi Wolf.
Currents: Feminist Key Concepts and Controversies features essays by prominent feminist scholars engaging a key concept or debate. Most assuredly not designed as encyclopedia entries, these pieces instead are potentially controversial “white papers” that offer a nuanced and edgy take on a key issue circulating in the feminist definitional landscape. Currents will stir up as it elaborates. In addition, each Currents piece will be accompanied by an expansive multimedia Digital Archive that provides links and bibliographic information (including podcasts, filmographies, YouTube links, and TV clips, as well as more traditional books and articles) that speak to the concept in question.
Celebrity Feminism: Featuring “Celebrity Feminism: More Than a Gateway” by Janell Hobson and a digital archive on the subject.
Trigger Warnings: Featuring “Trigger Happy: From Content Warning to Censorship” by Jack Halberstam and a digital archive on the concept of trigger warnings.
Ask a Feminist features interviews with leading feminist thinkers on feminist issues raised by some aspect of current political life or social justice issue. This allows Signs to create an ongoing conversation between and among feminist scholars, media activists, and community leaders, enhancing the journal’s role as a transitive space, percolating in and between the space of intellectual production and activist engagement.