Women's Studies Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 1/2, Spring

Alerts and Provocations Moving American Mores: From Women's Education to Torture
In the spring of 2006,1 was asked to give the convocation address at Bryn Mawr College (BMC), from which I graduated in 1972. Upon accepting the honor, I did what I had been taught to do there-research.The college provided me with the texts of more than...
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Bearing Witness to Birth
Spring comes early in Gainesville, and 1979 was no exception. The city was awash with a riot of brightly colored azaleas, redbud, and dogwood trees. The ligustrum hedges around many homes rilled the air with the fragrance of spring. It was a beautiful...
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Capturing Creswell
For the past five years, I've been living with Elihu Creswell. I've listened to his rough, uncertain voice, belligerent, tender, defensive. I've looked at the clothes he wears, the mud-spattered trousers, the heavy shoes, the one good shirt-white, of...
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Classics Revisited, Commentary
I wrote Trauma and Recovery in the hope that it would reach a wide audience: activists and academics, trauma survivors and those who care for them. This hope has been realized in ways I could not have imagined. In the fifteen years since the book was...
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Closing the Gap in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home
Alison Bechdel's 2006 memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, makes a strong and explicit claim for the power of graphic narrative as witness. Employing the straightforward visual style developed over more than twenty years as creator of the comic strip...
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Crises of Memory and the Second World War
SUSAN RUBIN SULEIMAN'S CRISES OF MEMORY ANd THE SECOND WORLD WAR, CAMBRIDGE: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2006PHILIPPE CARRARDIn this book Susan Rubin Suleiman gathers and expands texts that she rehearsed in article form between 2000 and 2004, adding a...
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De Septiembre, Capítulo 3/from September, Chapter 3
Otra orillala orilla donde zarpasen la sangrede todos los cuerpos(en tu navío de sangre)Con fuerzacruzaa mi cielo de sallaluzde tu mareaFalta pocopara que timbren los trenesy bajen de los vagonestus soldadosEl ejércitocontralburaondeando su sedosabandera(No...
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Destinations of Feminist Art: Past, Present, and Future
When women's movements challenge the forms and nature of political life, the contemporary play of powers and power relations, they are in fact working towards a modification of women's status. On the other hand, when these same movements aim simply for...
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Drawing the Archive in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home
Placing Alison Bechdel's Fun Home alongside other graphic narratives, most notably Art Spiegelman's Maus (1993) and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (2003), that explore intergenerational trauma and the role of the child as witness, seems both obvious and...
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Editors' Note
"One becomes a witness to one's own experience by finding a testimonial form; in other words, a language and a listener." In her analysis of Judith Herman's groundbreaking study Trauma and Recovery, the feminist classic we honor in this issue of WSQ,...
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Emmett Till's Ring
On July 13, 1945, Mamie Till received a telegram at her home in Argo, Illinois, notifying her that her estranged husband, Private Louis Till, had been killed in Italy.1 The Department of Defense subsequently sent her his personal effects, including a...
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Everyday Atrocities and Ordinary Miracles, or Why I (Still) Bear Witness to Sexual Violence (but Not Too Often)
Seventeen years after having been jumped from behind, beaten, raped, strangled into unconsciousness, and left for dead at the bottom of a ravine in a rural area in the south of France, I still-as I just did-occasionally bear witness to the assault. Why...
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Family Hair Looms
heirloom-2. something having special monetary or sentimental value or significance that is handed on either by or apart from formal inheritance from one generation to another.-Webster's Third International DictionaryIn the last years of his life, my...
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Family Model and Mystical Body: Witnessing Gender through Political Metaphor in the Early Modern Nation-State
FRANCE BEFORE SUNRISE: TWO POLITICAL THEORIES MEETThe sixteenth century in France was a "constitutional moment"-a time when political theorists and jurists articulated a full and rich iteration of the value of constitutionalism and legal-parliamentary...
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Fault Lines
As long as I can recall, my mother's den has housed a large antique armoire-an old, monumental piece of pine furniture stained a distinctive turquoise green. While I was home in Vancouver for a visit over the holidays, my mother moved to a house with...
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"From the Mouth of the Raped Woman Rivka Schiff," Kishinev, 1903
When the swine broke into the attic through the roof, a few of them jumped on the Zichec daughter first. They slapped her and formed a circle around her. She fell on the floor from the blow. They raised her dress, turned her face downward and her behind...
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Henya Pekelman: An Injured Witness of Socialist Zionist Settlement in Mandatory Palestine
Kenya Pekelman was born in about 1903 in Markuleshty (Marculecti) Bessarabia (then part of the Russian Empire and now in Moldova) and emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922. Her memoir, Hayey Po'elet Ba-aretz (The Life of a Worker in Her...
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How Do Quilts Become Missing?
Stolen from a vehicle (car, van, U-Haul, etc.).Large green swags on the border.Stolen from home (or nursing home, storage space, etc.).Blue Skies over a Parched Land in their Caravan.Lost/dropped in a public area (hotel, restaurant, airport, park, zoo,...
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I Do but I Don't: Why the Way We Marry Matters
KAMY WICOFF'S I DO BUT I DON'T: WHY THE WAY WE MARRY MATTERS, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: DACAPO PRESS, 2006This sassy, surprising book belongs to several genres: part memoir, part advice book, part social analysis; its author aims high and imaginatively to accomplish...
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Introduction: Witness
Two young women sat in a café. Two who had met each other and interacted in a mainly social way years earlier as undergraduates now had their heads bent over a very different task: an analysis. An analysis of a complicated literary text that was supposed...
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Judith Herman and Contemporary Trauma Theory
Trauma studies constitutes a huge field today, keeping whole armies of theorists-philosophers, literary scholars, and historians as well as clinicians-very busy. There are many reasons for this, starting with the enormous and still growing interest in...
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Law and the Emotions: A Conference Report
What do witness and gender have to do with law and the emotions? Obvious associations include the fundamentality of witnessing in the procedures and paradigms of law; legal rules that alternately and discrimina torily banish or cherish certain witnesses'...
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Looking Back/looking Forward
For many feminist academics working outside the clinical study and treatment of trauma in the early 1990s, Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery offered us an absorbing, detailed, and profoundly useful analysis of past and current clinical practice, as...
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Nou Mande Jistis! (We Demand Justice!): Reconstituting Community and Victimhood in Raboteau, Haiti
On November 9, 2000, sixteen of twenty-two defendants were convicted in Gonai'ves, Haiti, for their participation in an April 1994 massacre at Raboteau, a poor seaside community in Gonaïves. A week later, thirtyseven more defendants were convicted in...
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Remember the Time
When I was about five years old, I used to watch movies with my father in our basement. I would sit on his lap while he smoked a cigar and we would watch John Wayne or some other manly person. I still believe that cigar smoke carries the most comforting...
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Revisiting Trauma and Recovery
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion of Judith Herman's important book Trauma and Recovery and its relevance today. In this volume, published in 1992, Herman developed many crucial dimensions of battering that continue to...
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Rooms of Our Own
SUSAN GUBAR'S ROOMS OF OUR OWN, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS, 2006If there is a young scholar, somewhere, who does not know Susan Gubar's work, or the history of feminist thought, Rooms of Our Own would make an excellent gift. Indeed, the book itself...
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Subversive Witnessing: Mediating Indigenous Testimony in Australian Cultural and Legal Institutions
Like many other nations, Australia has been engaged in a painful reckoning with a shameful past. In the past fifteen years, questions concerning the removal of Indigenous children from their families, known as the "stolen generations," the extent of...
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Susan Suleiman Responds to Judith Herman
Judith Herman's comments made me realize that I had expressed myself clumsily in places, and I am glad to have this chance at clarification. My aim in my essay was to try to understand the stakes in a major contemporary debate, not to take sides. As...
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The Day We Exist Again
I'm standing in front of a gated garden of wildflowers in New York City, beside the old water-pumping station at 119th Street and Amsterdam, where I told my father to meet me. It's my street, but I didn't tell him it's my street. My mother tries to keep...
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The Era of the Witness
ANNETTE WIEVIORKA'S THE ERA OF THE WITNESS, TRANSLATED BY JAREO STARK, ITHACA: CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2006 (ORIGINALLY PARIS: PLON, 1998, IN FRENCH)JUDITH GREENBERGAt a moment when increasing attention to testimony, witnessing, trauma, and oral history...
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The Knitting Lesson
Recently, I decided that I wanted to learn to knit. The emergence of this wish coincided with a planned visit home for spring break, where I shortly found myself in possession of a little booklet-an instructional manual-called Learning to Knit. This...
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The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million
DANIEL MENDELSOHN'S THE LOST: A SEARCH FOR SIX OF SIX MILLION, NEW YORK: HARPERCOLLINS, 2006At the center of the front cover of Daniel Mendelsohn's prizewinning memoir, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, a space customarily reserved for the prominent...
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The Texture of Retracing in Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
In July 2004, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on graphic novels, speaking of them as a "new literary form" and asserting that comics are enjoying a "newfound respectability right now" because "comic books are what novels used to be-an accessible,...
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The Things We Cannot Say: Witnessing the Trauma-Tization of Abortion in the United States
What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?The world would split open.-Muriel Rukeyser, "Käthe Kollwitz""Can you tell me what really happens at an abortion clinic?" My interviewer shifts forward, careful not to jar the camera she has...
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The Tile Stove
My emotions peaked when I approached the tile stove, next to which my divan once stood. It was a kind of upright floor-to-ceiling ceramic tile stove, the same one where Papa used to warm the eiderdown to cover me on cold winter nights.I opened the creaky...
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The Witnesses: War Crimes and the Promise of Justice in the Hague
ERIC STOVER'S THE WITNESSES: WAR CRIMES AND THE PROMISE OF JUSTICE IN THE HAGUE, PHILADELPHIA: UNIVERSITY OF PHILADELPHIA PRESS, 2005Eric Stover tells a good human rights story. In this book he gives us an indepth analysis of the mission and functioning...
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Transgender Rights/whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS. EDITED BY PAISLEY CURRAH, RICHARD M. JUANG, AND SHANNON PRICE WINTER, MINNEAPOLIS: UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS, 2006JULIA SERANO'S WHIPPING GIRL: A TRANSSEXUAL WOMAN ON SEXISM AND THE SCAPEGOATING OF FEMININITY, EMERYVILLE, CALIF.:...
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Transmissions
Over the past seven years, during the life or half-life and death of my father (he passed away in June 2004), I inherited a car, a 1907 Mitchell, from my father. Well, this isn't exactly true; I wasn't its recipient, as stated in his will, for my father...
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Trauma and Research: Bearing Responsibility and Witness
More than fifteen years after its initial publication, Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery remains the standard reference point of trauma studies, providing a common language for endeavors as varied as psychiatric analyses of traumatized individuals,...
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Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation
BRETT ASHLEY KAPLAN'S UNWANTED BEAUTY: AESTHETIC PLEASURE IN HOLOCAUST REPRESENTATION, URBANA: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS, 2007ERIC KLIGERMANIn her rich comparative study Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation, Brett Ashley...
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