Title page for ETD etd-04262001-150935

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lewis, Shannon K
Author's Email Address shlewis3@vt.edu
URN etd-04262001-150935
Title Revisiting Feminism: Academics versus Activism
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hausman, Bernice L. Committee Chair
Heilker, Paul V. Committee Member
McCaughey, Martha Committee Member
  • Judith Butler
  • activism
  • academics
  • Feminist theory
  • Kate Millett
Date of Defense 2001-04-13
Availability restricted
Revisiting Feminism: Academics versus Activism

Shannon K. Lewis


Today, feminist theory, instead of accompanying a movement or being generated by a movement, is out there on its own. There is no large-scale social movement to complement it and to act on it. The energy and excitement of collective action is what many feminists miss and what is implied through critiques of contemporary feminist theory. The lament is for unity, for what was conceived of as “sisterhood” and what emerges as a myth. Many feminists share a nostalgia for a time that was filled with the potential for and intensity of social revolution.

When we look at the theory of early second wave feminism and the theory of more recent years, the differences are negligible. What is different, and glaringly so, is the social climate. Theory is not to blame; we are. Theory is not the culprit. Theory is just as impacting and politically useful as it ever was, but it is missing its partner. This realization should be no cause for alarm, however, because there still exist many opportunities for activism, albeit different sorts of activism, based on different sorts of political issues that complement our present needs and abilities.

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