Amy Richlin |
When Juliet Mitchell called feminism "the longest revolution," she said a mouthful. Concerns about how feminist theory would survive after the Second Wave generation peaked now appear to be justified, although in surprising ways: gender-based research is booming, and gender is firmly entrenched at the APA, now international more than it ever was, but the teaching of feminist theory and women's history is disappearing from the curriculum into which it was supposed to have been mainstreamed, so that undergraduates and graduate students alike have to be taught from scratch, while graduate seminars on ancient women's history are vanishingly rare. Within American universities, departments of English and History have moved much further into gender theory and much farther away from an interest in the past. At the same time, the new theory being produced has moved away from what now look to the students like period pieces, as Dworkin, MacKinnon, and Cixous take their place beside Christine de Pisan and Mary Wollstonecraft; the now enormous body of research on ancient women is hard to explain to students who have no idea of the history of feminist theory and very little sense of what was, and still is, at stake.
The formation of the Eurozone seems to have burst some kind of intellectual barrier, so that meetings bring a much wider range of people together than was previously so. Eugesta itself attests to the way the project is broadening out, and the whole world lies before us. The question remains: how are we to pass the work on? The most recent instantiation of Feminism and Classics, held in Ontario in May 2012, was full of international students as well as their professors (Israel, Sweden, UK, Australia), and markedly lacking in theoretical bibliography on the handouts. One thing we might do jointly would be to set up a task force to post bibliography on the Eugesta site, and perhaps simultaneously on the WCC site. Two kinds of bibliography: classics of theory and theory in Classics. Or maybe it is time for a MOOC.
As well as engaging with the discussants on our panel, my own contribution to this workshop would be, first, documentation of the lack of mainstreaming in the Classics curriculum; second, a starter bibliography.