Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Feminist Friendship

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Feminist Friendship

Article excerpt

One day you decide to run for the executive of the Canadian Women's Studies Association/ Association des etudes feministes. OK, so it's not quite like that. One day someone phones you (this is pre-email) and asks you to volunteer. This is not a role dozens are fighting over. It's work, real work, added as an "extra" in an already full life in your own university--teaching, researching, administering, struggling to ensure that feminist scholarship will be allowed, will "count," can be respected within an academy uncertain, if not hostile, to the enterprise. And because you're a feminist, you also want to commit to community activism and then there's the hope, always that hope, of some kind of personal life. The caller makes the pitch: you're a good worker, you can do the job, we all want you--which you interpret, accurately as it happens, as you'll learn next year when you make a similar call, as: we've already tried three others, please don't turn us down. You hesitate a bit, but then you bite, you say you'll do it because, well, someone has to, we need an association, we need the chance to meet across our vast distances once a year, it's your turn. It's only a year, right? You owe it to feminist organizing in the academy. That decision made, you learn the drill. You will, in your role as president-elect, apprentice to the position, as it were, by organizing the next annual conference. It's in another university across the country? Never mind. Surely someone at that institution will secure the rooms for you, maybe even organize the banquet? How hard can it be?

As it happens, it was quite hard, and still is, of course, but that was the way it happened back in 1988 when Jeri Wine generously accepted the call to stand for president of CWSA/ACEF. And yes, she recruited me for the job the following year which is how I learned the drill in my own time. I didn't know her until we started working together, both in CWSA/ACEF and, during that same period, serving together on the executive for the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women/Institut canadien de recherches sur les femmes, another organization Jeri headed. …

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