Out of the Ivory Tower: Feminist Research for Cultural Change

Article excerpt

Edited by Andrea Martinez and Meryn Stuart

SUMACH PRESS, 2003

Review by Kris Rothstein

Feminists at the University of Ottawa's Institute of Women's Studies conceived this project as a means of investigating the divide between research and social reality. In their mission to bridge the gap between the academy and society at large, the editors have assembled a series of engaging and informative essays which shed light on how feminist academics can use research to affect politics and society. There is a Canadian focus, but the implications are global and global issues are within the scope of the collection.

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The essays fall within four themes: recovering histories and meanings; sexuality and the body; women in public spaces; and gender issues in cyberspace. This structure works well, as each piece helps to build a complete picture of the interplay between research and social change. Some research illuminates social issues from past and present, like the history of military nursing and the gendering of anti-smoking literature. Other work, such as a study of female Aboriginal chiefs, is intrinsically helpful to the community it is studying.

Often the two go hand in hand. Tina O'Toole's account of lesbian spaces in Ireland and Canada recognizes the importance of history as a basis for activism. …