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The Socialist Feminist Project: A Contemporary Reader in Theory and Politics


Socialist feminist theorizing is flourishing today. This collection is intended to shows its strengths and resources and convey a sense of it as an ongoing project. Not every contribution to that project bears the same theoretical label, but the writings collected here share a broad aim of understanding women’s subordination in a way which integrates class and gender—as well as aspects of women’s identity such as race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation—with the aim of liberating women.

The Socialist Feminist Project: A Contemporary Reader in Theory and Politics brings together the most important recent socialist feminist writings on a wide range of topics: sex and reproduction, the family, wage labor, social welfare and public policy, the place of sex and gender in politics, and the philosophical foundations of socialist feminism. Although focusing on recent writings, the collection shows how these build on a history of struggle.

These writings demonstrate the range, depth, and vitality of contemporary socialist feminist debates. They also testify to the distinctive capacity of this project to address issues in a way that embraces collective experience and action while at the same time enabling each person to speak in their own personal voice.

This anthology will make an excellent classroom reading for both undergraduates and experienced students. It will also prove a useful scholarly resource even for readers well-versed in the history and theory of the feminist movement. Finally, the collection has practical potential in the hands of organizers and activists. This is a sign of the reader”s success: it is a versatile and interesting read that will “connect” for a broad audience. I urge you to take it up.

—Karla Momberger, Esq., Association for Feminist Anthropology


Introduction by Nancy Holmstrom


Part I: Sex, Sexuality and Reproduction

  • Dorothy Allison, A Question of Class
  • Micaela Di Leonardo and Roger Lancaster, Gender, Sexuality and Political Economy
  • Emily Martin, Premenstrual Syndrome, Work Discipline, and Anger
  • Rosalind P. Petchesky, Human Rights, Reproductive Health and Economic Justice: Why They are Indivisible
  • Rosemary Hennessy, Reclaiming Marxist Feminism for a Need-Based Sexual Politics

Part II: Family: Love, Labor and Power

  • Judith Stacey, The Family is Dead, Long Live our Families
  • Janice Haaken, Stories of Survival: Class, Race, and Domestic Violence
  • Purvi Shah, Redefining the Home
  • Cherrie Moraga, My Brother’s Sex Was White, Mine Brown
  • Stephanie Coontz, Revisiting Marx and Engels on the Family
  • Ann Ferguson, On Conceiving Motherhood and Sexuality: A Feminist-Materialist Approach
  • Deniz Kandiotti, Bargaining with Patriarchy
  • Temma Kaplan, The Disappearing Fathers under Global Capitalism

Part III: Wage Labor and Struggles

  • Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Women Workers and Capitalist Scripts: Ideologies of Domination, Common Interests, and the Politics of Solidarity
  • Nancy MacLean, The Hidden History of Affirmative Action: Working Women’s Struggles in the 1970s and the Gender of Class
  • Leslie Salzinger, Making Fantasies Real: Producing Women Men and Women on the Maquila Shop Floor
  • Elizabeth Oglesby, Machos and Machetes in Guatemala’s Cane Fields
  • Jo Bindman, An International Perspective on Slavery in the Sex Industry
  • Kamala Kempadoo, Globalizing Sex Workers’ Rights

Part IV: Economics, Social Welfare and Public Policy

  • Mimi Abramovitz, Still Under Attack: Women and Welfare Reform
  • Chris Tilly and Randy Albelda, Toward a Strategy for Women’s Economic Equality
  • Angela Y. Davis, Public Imprisonment and Private Violence: Reflections on the Hidden Punishment of Women
  • Maxine Molyneux, Conceptualizing Women’s Interests

Part V: Politics and Social Change

  • Sheila Rowbotham, Appreciating Our Beginnings
  • Elizabeth Martinez, Listen Up, Anglo Sisters
  • Ellen Meiksins Wood, Capitalism and Human Emancipation: Race, Gender and Democracy
  • Cynthia Enloe, Militarizing Women’s Lives
  • Mary E. Hawkesworth, Democratization: Reflections on Gendered Dislocations in the Public Sphere
  • Leith Mullings, Mapping Gender in African American Political Strategies
  • Johanna Brenner, Intersections, Locations, and Capitalist Class Relations: Intersectionality from a Marxist Perspective

Part VI: Nature, Society and Knowledge

  • Nancy Hartsock, The Feminist Standpoint Revisited
  • Nancy Holmstrom, A Marxist Theory of Women’s Nature
  • Val Plumwood, The Ecopolitics Debate and the Politics of Nature
  • Meera Nanda, Women and the Third World: Exploring the Dangers of Difference
  • Julie Sze, Expanding Environmental Justice: Asian American Feminists’ Contribution



Nancy Holmstrom is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University in Newark, and co-editor of Not for Sale: In Defense of Public Goods.

Format Clear
SKU: mrp0688 Categories: , Tag:
Topics: Feminism Marxism Socialism Places: Global

Publication Date: August 2002

Number of Pages: 400

Paperback ISBN: 9781583670682