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Feminist theory

Moore, Jane ORCID: 2020. Feminist theory. Johnson, Nancy E. and Keen, Paul, eds. Mary Wollstonecraft in Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 189-196. (10.1017/9781108261067.022)

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To write of feminist theory in the 1790s is a complex undertaking. Even amidst the enthusiasm of the sexual revolution of the 1970s when feminist scholarship in academia homed in on the 1790s in the project to retrieve past women for the establishment of a female history and tradition to rival that of men, a certain unease began to be apparent about usage of the term feminist theory in relation to pre-nineteenth-century culture. It was not until the late nineteenth century that “feminism,” in the Oxford English Dictionary’s common definition of the word, emerged as a political movement advocating the “equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex.” Hence the charge, in Regina Janes’ words, that “To speak of eighteenth-century feminism is to commit a vile anachronism, for there was no movement, no concerted demand for change in the political or economic sphere.”

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108261067
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 09:45

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