Publications of the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies

From Oxford University Press...

Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Reader

Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Reader"Prepared by Consortium faculty Christina Gilmartin, Sharlene Hesse - Biber, and Robin Lydenberg, this important work based on the Feminist Perspectives in Research core course provides further testimony to the unique intellectual experiment that has occurred within our Consortium." - - from the forward by Linda S. Wilson

Edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Christina Gilmartin, Robin Lydenberg

As feminist scholarship has developed, it has become increasingly clear that the practice of feminist research is interdisciplinary. Yet there are very few books in the social sciences and humanities that address the methodological and theoretical issues raised in doing feminist research from an interdisciplinary perspective.

This collection is an ideal text for courses in research methods and in women's studies in a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines. A distinct feature of this volume is its interdisciplinary and global orientation. The collection is organized around key issues in feminist theory and empirical research as they have been impacted by post-structuralist dialogue. Several essays address the tensions between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge building, exposing male biases embedded in disciplinary paradigms. Other essays deal with the politics of identity and experience, presented not as innate and unproblematic, but as constituted by discourse, representation, and the effects of power. Responding to the inadequacy of essentializing modes of feminist thought, some scholars focus on the complex terrain in which difference is used as a tool of oppression and of resistance both inside and outside feminist praxis. The gender dynamics of power and resistance are taken up by several critics whose research encourages the development of a feminist scholarly methodology focused on women's subjective experiences and the ways in which relations of power are mediated. Visual and discursive representations of the female body constitute another major focus of the volume, especially as related to the imposition of compulsory heterosexuality and reproductive norms.

The volume concludes with a set of essays which present the reader with some methodological and political dilemmas feminists encounter as they expose the underlying ideological distortions in existing social policies.


  1. Feminist Critiques Within The Disciplines
    1. "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Roles", Emily Martin
    2. "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy", Susan Bardo
    3. "Feminist History after the Linguistic Turn: Historicizing Discourse and Experience", Kathleen Canning
  2. The Politics of Identity and Experience
    1. "The Evidence of Experience", Joan Scott
    2. "Situating Locations: The Politics of Self, Identity, and 'Other' in Living and Writing the Text", Jayati Lal
    3. "The Construction of Marginal Identities: Working-Class Girls of Algerian Descent in a French School", Catherine Raissiguier
  1. The Social Construction of Difference
    1. "Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought", Patricia Hill Collins
    2. "Eating the Other", bell hooks
    3. "Feminist Criticism, 'The Yellow Wallpaper,' and the Politics of Color America", Susan Lanser
  1. Power and Resistance
    1. "Islam and Patriarchy: A Comparative Perspective", Deniz Kandiyoti
    2. "Feminism and Empowerment: A Critical Reading of Focault", Monique Deveaux
  1. Discourses of the Body
    1. "Embodies Geographies: Subjectivity and Materiality in the Work of Ana Mendieta", Anne Raine
    2. "The Power of 'Positive' Diagnosis: Medical and Maternal Discourses on Amniocentisis", Rayna Rapp
  1. Social Policy and Female Agency
    "Small Happiness: The Feminist Struggle to Integrate Social Research with Social Activism", Roberta Spalter-Roth & Heidi Hartmann
    "Women Workers and Capitalist Scripts: Ideologies of Domination, Common Interests, and Politics of Solidarity", Chandra Talpade Mohanty

June 1999
496 pp.; 3 slides
512522-3 paper
512521-3 cloth
For more information contact your OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS Sales representative at 1-800-280-0280



Next Steps

Course List

Contact Us

Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085