I'm in Atlanta at the National Women's Studies Association
Conference. The conference officially got started last night with a keynote address by Angela Davis, who is one of the most important feminist activists of the last forty years, and always an inspiring speaker. She discussed the changes that the NWSA has gone through in recent years, changes that are making it a more inclusive and rigorous academic organization, and she also discussed her own path to feminism.
Throughout the speech she seemed delighted to be speaking to this huge crowd of Women's Studies students, professors, and administrators. At 65, she seemed both youthful and wise--she was energetic, laughing a bit at herself and us, and celebrating her colleagues and her discipline.
Some quotes that stood out to me from her talk:
"We can never assume that the category 'women' equally represents all women."
She said that feminism is in a state of "perpetual instability, verging on crisis"--and that this is a sign of health and vitality.
Our tasks as feminist academics:
"We should think things together that seem to belong apart, and disaggregate things that seem to belong together."
"We should all be talking about producing knowledge that makes a difference in the social world."