Is Subversion Subversive?

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Is Subversion Subversive?

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Title: Is Subversion Subversive?
Author: Kennedy, David W.; Wiseman, Zipporah; Abrams, Kathryn; Franke, Katherine

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Citation: Zipporah Wiseman, Kathryn Abrams, Katherine Franke, and David W. Kennedy, Roundtable Discussion: Is Subversion Subversive?, 13 Tex. J. Women & L. 149 (2003).
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Abstract: In the framework of the conference, which was an attempt to look at subversion in the past, present, and hopefully in the future, there was an omnipresent theme which Janet Halley started us off with in the opening round table, which was, "what is feminist?" She talked about stepping aside from the feminist enterprise, but what is the feminist enterprise? And what particular strand of feminism - which label - do our scholarly perspectives, methodologies of teaching, or brands of activism represent? And that ran through everything. ... I want to focus on two questions in my comments, and the first question, which Zipporah has already alluded to, is a version of the question framed by Janet Halley: "What is in the box [of feminism] and how should we best position ourselves in relation to the box?" And a second question is the one posed more generally by the title of the roundtable: "Does subversion subvert and how?" My response to each is going to be mediated by a particular text. ... This is the issue that I want to end on, moving out of "what's the subject of feminist theory?" to the question we've all been asked to talk about these couple of days, which is about subversion. ... I leave you with an idea from Eve Sedgwick, who says that the best that we can do at any particular time, is engage in practices that are kind of hegemonic and kind of subversive. ... Here the idea is to contest the whole vocabulary. ... And then there is the cautionary tale about sexual harassment. ... I do not mean to suggest, of course, that feminism has "won" and gender inequality has disappeared. ...
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