vol 25 - 1999

Revision is, of course, virtually a watchword of feminist scholarship, and over the course of its quarter-century, Feminist Studies has brought a revisionist imperative to a vast range of inquiries. This issue of Feminist Studies is particularly rich in reconsiderations both of matters that even feminists might have thought settled and of those that feminists might not yet have thought to engage. The writings gathered here, on topics ranging from the right to privacy to identity politics, from lesbian history to cookbooks to Wittgenstein, offer fresh interventions in feminist theory and in its academic and activist practices.

The two essays that open this issue show the ways in which interdisciplinary feminist research that goes against the grain of established disciplinary conventions can challenge our received ideas—in this case, received feminist ideas about "privacy," its origins, and its present meaning. In "Beyond Privacy: Confessions between a Woman and Her Doctor," Deborah Nelson argues that the "confessional" poets of the 1960s were "not simply private. They were preoccupied with the nature of privacy itself" and as such were both influenced by and contributed to shaping the general political climate around reproductive rights. Nelson shows that for women confessional poets, such as Sylvia Plath and Ann Sexton, privacy was not something belonging to them as individuals but rather a feature of their (confessional) relationship with the masculine gaze, and in particular the gaze of medical authority. The article calls attention to the strong echoes between the legal discourse of Roe v. Wade and the poetic discourse of "operation poems," a genre that, when authored by women, usually features a masculine medical authority to whom women must confess if they are to be granted privacy rights.

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Deborah Nelson
Beyond Privacy: Confessions between a Woman and Her Doctor

C. Leiren Mower
Amicus Curiae (Creative Writing)

Caroline Danielson
The Gender of Privacy and the Embodied Self:
Examining the Origins of the Right to Privacy in U.S. Law

Mariana Valverde
Identity Politics and the Law in the United States (Review Essay)

Valerie Traub
The Rewards of Lesbian History (Review Essay)

Cynthia Hogue

Ina Loewenberg
Reflections on Self-Portraiture in Photography (Art Essay)

Wendy Lee-Lampshire
The Sound of Little Hummingbird Wings: A Wittgensteinian Investigation of Forms of Life as Forms of Power

Susan Hekman
Backgrounds and Riverbeds: Feminist Reflections

Rafia Zafar
The Signifying Dish: Autobiography and History
in Two Black Women's Cookbooks

Julie Fay
From In the Houses of the Good People (Fiction)

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