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Professing Feminism

Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies

Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge

Feminists have often called Women's Studies the 'academic arm of the women's movement.' But Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge charge that the attempt to make Women's Studies serve a political agenda has led to deeply problematic results: dubious scholarship, pedagogical practices that resemble indoctrination more than education, and the alienation of countless potential supporters. In this new and expanded edition of their controversial 1994 book, the authors update their analysis of what's gone wrong with Women's Studies programs. Original chapters feature interviews with professors, students, and staffers who invested much time and effort in Women's Studies, and new chapters look primarily at documents recently generated from within Women's Studies itself. Through critiques of actual program mission statements, course descriptions, newsletters, and e-mail lists devoted to feminist pedagogy and Women's Studies, and, not least, the writings of well-known feminist scholars, Patai and Koertge provide a detailed and devastating examination of the routine practices found in feminist teaching and research. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 456Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-0-7391-0454-5 • Hardback • February 2003 • $126.00 • (£85.00)
978-0-7391-0455-2 • Paperback • January 2003 • $50.99 • (£34.95)
978-0-7391-5963-7 • eBook • February 2003 • $49.99 • (£32.95)
Subjects: Education / Higher
Daphne Patai's most recent book is Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism. She is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Noretta Koertge, the author of A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science, is Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University.
Chapter 1 Introduction to the New Expanded Edition
Part 2 Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies
Chapter 3 Prologue: On Airing Dirty Linen
Chapter 4 Introduction to the World of Women's Studies
Chapter 5 Cautionary Tales from Women Who Walked Away
Chapter 6 Ideology and Identity: Playing the Oppression Sweepstakes
Chapter 7 Proselytizing and Policing in the Feminist Classroom
Chapter 8 Semantic Sorcery: Rhetoric Overtakes Reality
Chapter 9 BIODENIAL and Other Subversive Stratagems
Chapter 10 "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall": Feminist Self-Scrutiny
Chapter 11 Cults, Communes, and Clicks
Chapter 12 From Dogma to Dialogue: The Importance of Liberal Values
Part 13 Women's Studies in the New Millennium
Chapter 14 Rhetoric and Reality in Women's Studies
Chapter 15 Policing the Academy
Chapter 16 Feminists Take on Science: Tilting with the Evil Empire
Chapter 17 Conclusion
This unsparing account of the troubles that beset Women's Studies programs should incite vigorous debate.
Publishers Weekly

Feminists should read this book seriously and debate it vigorously. In this way they would be engaging in the self-reflection and self-criticism that are necessary to strengthen feminism.
Joan Mandle, Former Director of the Women's Studies Program, Colgate University, and author of Can We Wear Our Pearls and Still Be Feminists?

The answer that emerges from Professing Feminism is clear: Whatever Women's Studies in its present form may be, a scholarly or intellectual enterprise it is not. . . . This witty and informative book also is an excellent read.
The Washington Times

Essential reading for anyone involved in Women's Studies.
Library Journal

This book is certain to start a firestorm within the North American academic feminist movement.
Asahi Evening News, (Tokyo)

In this illuminating book, Patai and Koertge show that . . . in many universities Women's Studies programs have been transformed into political pressure groups or religious cults. The authors' analysis of the situation, based on expert examination of eyewitnesses, leads to the inevitable conclusion that Women's Studies, as presently professed, represents a giant step backward into educational fundamentalism.
Mary Lefkowitz, Wellesley College

This book seeks not to kill Women's Studies, but to save it. Feminists should listen closely.
National Review

It is impossible not to admire the courage and integrity that inform Professing Feminism, although, as the authors know full well, it will provoke many feminists to condemn them as traitors and deny their claim to write as feminists at all.
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Feminism is not the Story of My Life