Feminism and Documentary

Feminism and Documentary

Feminism and Documentary

Feminism and Documentary

Excerpt

The importance of the and in the title of this volume cannot be overstated. Women's studies and documentary studies have been separated by disciplinary as well as prejudicial boundaries, and it is the aim of this volume to poke holes in those boundaries so that ideas from the two areas may flow, or possibly crash, together.

Those of us who are aware of the feminist literature of women's studies can become frustrated when we see ideas that have circulated in that literature get ignored, discounted, or reinvented in another field as if for the first time. Adrienne Rich was right to quote Susan B. Anthony's words upon the death of her friend and colleague Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1902: "How shall we ever make the world intelligent on our movement?" The entreaty resonated when Rich quoted it in 1979 and it resonates now.

Because women speak and write (and we use the term write in the larger sense of "writing" as tangible expression in any medium) from the margins of patriarchy, we who are conscious of this phenomenon have wrestled strenuously with the problem of using language against itself—the joint impossibility and necessity of speaking and writing. Because women's history is a counterhistory, we have been particularly attuned to the necessarily partial and subjective nature of history writing. Because the interests and needs of various groups of women are always going to be different, we have grappled with the problem of securing the common goal of human rights for women while dealing with constituent interests that may be at odds. And because the commitment to social change underlies all of this, we have come up against the need to acknowledge simultaneously the . . .

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