A History of the Men's Studies Press and Its Association with the American Men's Studies Association
Doyle, James A., Femiano, Sam, The Journal of Men's Studies
Where to begin? Trying to capture over twenty years where the paths of two very distinct social entities--a small independent niche publishing house and a professional academic organization-were intertwined is not something easily taken on, but ... here goes.
Attending the 10th (1985) Men & Masculinity (M&M) conference hosted by the National Organization for Changing Men (NOCM) at St. Louis University is where, for me, it started. (4)
During that M&M conference, I recall several sessions held in classrooms and a keynote provided by one of the early legends of the men's studies, one Dr. Joseph H. Pleck. (5) For me though, the general Men's Studies Task Group meeting chaired by Dr. Harry Brod and attended by what I recall to be a nearly packed hall of what must have been well over 100+ conferees stands out. I remember Brod standing down in the lecture hall's well discussing items of interest to the newly formed Men's Studies Task Group, which he and Pleck had generously overseen during its formative years (circa 1982-1985). (6) One area that both Brod and Pleck had been involved in was the founding of what was then called the Men's Studies Newsletter, which was a multi-page mimeograph containing some "news" items of ongoing research plus an updated bibliography that Pleck routinely pulled together. (7) One item of business that Brod brought up was passing the fledgling task group's leadership over to new leaders. That day in St. Louis, Drs. Sam Femiano and Martin Acker were elected as the new co-chairs of the Men's Studies Task Group.
Further, Brod let it be known that he no longer wanted to oversee the Men's Studies Newsletter (Volumes 1 & 2; 1983-1984) and asked for volunteers to take over that responsibility. From the audience came three volunteers, Shepherd Bliss, Jed Diamond, and Jim Doyle. (8)
A further recollection I have of this meeting was the person sitting next to me during the proceedings, one Sam Femiano, who was to become my most influential mentor in my men's studies journey.
Besides these events not much else stands out from this pivotal 10th (1985) M&M conference, but I do trace it as the beginning of my journey with the Men's Studies Press and what was to become, some years later, the American Men's Studies Association.
THE EARLY YEARS (1989-1998) (9)
During the years between the 10th (1985) and the 144 (1989) Men & Masculinity conferences (the 14th M&M conference was held at Chatham College, PA), the Men's Studies Newsletter's evolved into the quarterly Men's Studies Review (name changed from the Newsletter to Review with Volume 4 #1 in 1986). A further change occurred in 1986 with the addition of the word, "Association," to the men's studies task group's identity as in the "Men's Studies Association: A Task Group of the National Organization for Changing Men." One other significant change in this period came from Jed Diamond when he shared that his growing clinical practice and writing duties took too much time for a continued commitment to his co-editor's work with Bliss and Doyle (his resignation announced publicly in the Men's Studies Newsletter, Volume 3 #4, August/September, 1986). Subsequently, for a number of years, Bliss acted as a contributing resource editor while Doyle focused more on the production and subscriptions side of the Men's Studies Review.
One reason the 144 Men & Masculinity conference stands out is that it was the conference wherein the Men's Studies Association hosted its first one-day, pre-Men & Masculinity conference. The Men's Studies Association conference was filled with poster and paper sessions and a planned panel dealing with topics of interest to the growing number of both NOCM and non-NOCM attendees who were attracted to a more academic and traditional conference style for the study of men's lives (see Figure 1).
I have a vivid recollection of Sam Femiano (the elected co-chair of the Men's Studies Association) and myself manning the registration table for the early participants in what was then billed as the Men's Studies Association conference (Femiano, 1989). …