About Feminist Studies
Founded in 1972, Feminist Studies was the first scholarly journal in women’s studies and remains a flagship publication with a record of breaking new ground in the field. Whether drawing from the complex past or the shifting present, the pieces that appear in Feminist Studies raise social and political questions that intimately and significantly affect women and men around the world.
The journal publishes research and criticism that takes into account the intersections of gender with racial identity, sexual orientation, economic means, geographical location, and physical ability. No other scholarly journal also features artistic, creative, and activist output on the same scale: each issue contains multi-page full color art spreads alongside art essays, poetry and fiction, photo essays, and commentaries on newsworthy topics.
Our issues typically contain thematic clusters of essays, creative work, and activist output, and our special issues (on topics such as Race and Transgender Studies, Women and Prison, Culture and History in the New South Africa, Chicana Studies, Conjugalities in South Asia, The Body and Healthcare) draw a wide readership.
Although many of the articles we publish draw on the methodology of a single discipline, we especially welcome truly interdisciplinary research that showcases contributions from multiple traditions, sources, and methods. All accepted articles are reviewed by specialists in the author’s field and also by editors from a variety of disciplines. Our editorial collective includes scholars in literature, history, media studies, psychology, international studies, and sociology, and our editorial consultants are drawn from an even wider pool. Thus we ensure that each article meets the highest standards of scholarship in the specialized field and also is of interest to a broader interdisciplinary readership. With an acceptance rate of less than 8 percent, we are highly selective in choosing the content that appears in our publication.
Impact and Reach
As the oldest scholarly journal in our field, Feminist Studies is the journal of record for interdisciplinary women’s studies scholarship. Our content is vetted by an editorial board of scholars in multiple disciplines: history, sociology, anthropology, literature, political economy, media studies, law, and poetry; our editorial consultants are drawn from an even wider pool. All our accepted articles are reviewed by specialists in the author’s field as well as by several editors, ensuring that each article meets the highest standards of scholarship within the specialized field while also being of interest to a broader readership. We receive a high number of submissions from around the world and on topics of global relevance. We therefore have a highly selective acceptance rate of 8 percent.
As an interdisciplinary journal, our reach is broad: in addition to Women’s and Gender Studies, our content is accessed and cited by scholars in such diverse fields as Anthropology, Sociology, History, Literature, Media Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Race Studies, and Art History. We are listed in major indexes and databases such as Academic Search Premier, Contemporary Women’s Issues, Social Sciences Citation Index, and many others. Feminist Studies articles frequently go on to be anthologized in edited volumes and several are classics that comprise the canon of our dynamic field.
About impact factors: We find that impact factors are not an adequate indicator of our importance and stature for the following reasons: 1) Most broadly, since impact factors are calculated using citations only from the most recent 3 years of a journal, they are less relevant for humanities journals than for science journals (where recency is an important consideration). Indeed, there are many older articles (“classics”) in Feminist Studies that are still accessed and taught quite frequently. 2) We are an autonomous journal and not published by a university press. Large, university-based presses frequently encourage intra-press citations in order to boost the impact factors of their stable of journals. We cannot avail ourselves of such methods. 3) Feminist Studies issues include creative writing, art essays, and commentaries on current topics. Because only research articles are eligible for consideration in calculating impact factors, our contents under such other genres—many of which are pathbreaking—are not taken into account in the reported impact factors.
Feminist Studies first appeared in 1972, after more than
three years of discussion and planning. At that time, women from
Columbia University’s women’s liberation group, students
in a women’s studies course at Sarah Lawrence College, and
feminist activists from New York City brought together a wide network
of feminists committed to creating a scholarly journal with high
scholarly standards and community relevance. This feminist network
believed that the women’s movement needed an analytic forum
to engage the issues raised by the movement and to bring together
the contributions of feminist activists and scholars. The title,
Feminist Studies, was chosen to indicate that the content
of the journal would be both scholarly and political and would foreground
women as a social group and gender as a category of analysis.
The journal’s first editor, Ann Calderwood, ran the journal
as an out-of-pocket, out-of-apartment operation, publishing only
three volumes before 1977, several of which were Special Issues
drawing on papers first presented at the earliest conferences organized
by the Berkshire Conference in Women's History. It is sometimes
difficult to remember how rapidly feminism grew in the early 1970s.
In 1969 it was a radical notion to argue that women should be studied;
by 1977 women’s studies was beginning its phenomenal growth
inside the academy. In the fall of that year, the journal was restructured
and thereafter edited by a collective
of academics. It found its current home at the University of Maryland
at College Park under the guidance of Editorial Director, Claire
G. Moses, and a small paid staff.
Feminist Studies is still housed at the University of Maryland
and through the Department
of Women’s Studies enjoys office space and a small financial
stipend. Other than this assistance, Feminist Studies remains
self-publishing, self-supporting, and independent of the university
or with any other institution.
Over the years, Feminist Studies has been a reliable source
of significant writings on issues that are important to all classes
and races of women. Those familiar with the literature on women’s
studies are well aware of the importance and vitality of the journal
and the frequency with which articles first published in Feminist
Studies are cited and/or reprinted elsewhere. Indeed, no less
than four anthologies have been created from articles originally
published in Feminist Studies: Clio’s Consciousness Raised:
New Perspectives on the History of Women; Sex and Class in Women’s
History; U.S. Women in Struggle: A Feminist Studies Anthology; and
Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies Reader.
As we continue to grow and to engage new generations of feminist
scholars, activists, artists, and creative writers, we find ourselves
looking back to our history for inspiration. Always deeply committed
to interdisciplinary scholarship, Feminist Studies has been
well positioned to engage in global feminist dialogues. In addition
to publishing work by women around the world, we have created strong
ties with other journals through our membership in the international
group, Feminist Journals Network
(FJN). We have also in recent years published more work by feminist
activists, including commentaries, short reports, and interviews
and have strengthened our connection with contemporary artists by
publishing full color, high quality art reproductions in each issue.
As our history reflects, Feminist Studies has not remained
stagnant; we continue to seek out new ways to remain a vital forum
for scholars as well as activists involved in all aspects of feminist practice.