Freely mixing genres in vibrant prose, she considers Angela Carter, Doris Lessing, and Dorothy Dinnerstein and offers self-reflexive accounts of her own organizing, writing, and teaching. Her prose has that luminous fluency that comes only after a writer has been steeped in decades of rigorous reading, writing and activism. These essays repeatedly emphasise how important her students are to her. Snitow finds another great uncertainty in the dichotomies between academic and activist approaches, and how she holds both, even in her self- reflection and theory. Mixing personal essay with complex theoretical thinking, these essays stimulate and enlighten.

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Feminism of Uncertainty is impressive in its scholarly research. The value of feminist research in this book is intensified through its praxis-driven framework. Photos of the author at various sites of grassroots feminist work testify to this methodology of feminist praxis, and appeal to the visual imagination of the feminist reader who yearns to learn on the ground in the classrooms of the world. Feminism of Uncertainty is a philosophy of gender learned through decades of experimentation with gender politics in the laboratory of life, forever demanding creativity to rethink the feminist present and re-imagine feminist futures.

The paradigm of feminist uncertainty never allows the nostalgia of past feminist work to solidify feminism into an airtight epistemological compartment.

A joyful celebration of the past with feminist comrades, the book looks forward to the futuristic possibilities for feminism as it learns from others. It is a unique contribution to feminist studies, reaching a broad target audience of theorists, teachers, and activists. At a time when the field is cleaved with irreconcilable differences between earlier epistemologies of feminisms and emergent perspectives, this book fills a major gap as it cuts across divides and speaks across eras and ideologies.

In that sense it performs a foundational task of re-imagining a broader reconciliatory vision for feminism that never forgets the importance of recognizing a broader transnational feminist perspective. This course not only screens films that raise controversial issues, but also ends up creating a space of deep trust between a white feminist instructor and her incarcerated students of color where they discuss and debate abortion, rape, and queer identities, and students marked by the prison system as volatile are, nonetheless, held accountable for their biases and for any dishonesty.

Feminism of Uncertainty constantly questions borders. Feminism here not only crosses over into other worlds of the human, such as militarism and the prison industrial complex; it also transgresses boundaries between the human and the non-human. Snitow engages the work of David Garnett, in which human definitions of gender themselves become malleable as human and non-human melt together in his novellas Lady into Fox and A Man in the Zoo. This is the vision on which the book ends—a radical vision of a feminism of integrity that goes beyond feminism itself.

That Feminism of Uncertainty will end with an examination of feminist utopias thus comes as no surprise. It is the mark of generous scholarship to be able to imagine a world beyond its own ideological affiliations.

Can feminism usher in the good life? Does it guarantee a loving bedfellow? Or collective rituals that warm the heart? This is particularly resonant and useful for a new generation of feminists to devise their own strategies at a time when feminist victories cannot be taken for granted. The earlier battles that their feminist foremothers fought and the ground they gained are again being called into question.

Snitow calls on established feminist thinkers, teachers, and activists to be flexible about the uncertain times, about the uncertainty of feminism itself, to be on guard against complacency about their victories, and to keep building feminist futures of boundless creativity that forever break ceilings that keep appearing in new forms in new contexts. The responsibility for writing that book lies with scholars and activists working in later feminist epistemologies that use race as a central paradigm.

Reviewed by Basuli Deb.


Ann Snitow. Feminism of Uncertainty: A Gender Diary

Ann Snitow, Feminist Teacher and Activist, Dies at 76 Neither a polemicist nor an ideologue, she thrived on complexities generated by doubt and uncertainty. Ann Snitow in Over nearly half a century, she mobilized feminists and chronicled their ebbs and flows in six books and scores of articles. Steve Ladner By Katharine Q. Seelye Aug.


The Feminism of Uncertainty

It seems that an ideology would necessarily have to commit itself to certainty, to clear principles and goals, a coherent credo, if just for the sake of common ground among its followers. All that, despite social and historical changes, the flux of thinkers and leaders and followers, new and competing voices and discourses Okay, so maybe uncertainty is the right word. It is possibly the only sane position, particularly for someone, like Ann Snitow, who has worked within this ideology for decades. As she writes in the introduction, this book offers "a variety of descriptions of how one person has tried to locate feminism in her life -- in situations that keep changing. Its content, too, sprawls: Snitow discusses novels and psychoanalysis, reflects on her activist efforts and teaching.

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