As feminists rise up and flood the streets in the years since Trump’s election, the movement has simultaneously strengthened its own internal critique.
As feminists rise up and flood the streets in the years since Trump’s election, the movement has simultaneously strengthened its own internal critique. A new term has bloomed in the grassroots: white feminism. But what exactly does it mean, and is it a new phenomenon?
In this book talk, Kyla Schuller (2017–18 Humanities Center fellow) shares the insights of her new work The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism, revealing that feminism has long been comprised of multiple streams in tension and often outright conflict. Drawing on nearly 200 years of feminist activism and writing, she delineates the traditions of what has come to be called “white feminism” and “intersectional feminism”—revealing the liberatory potential of a feminism all too often forgotten, and the devastating limitations of the movement that has become iconic.
Kyla Schuller is the author of the monograph The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke, 2018) and Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. The New York Times Book Review praised her most recent book, The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism, as “mesmerizing,” “a welcome addition to the feminist canon,” and the work of “a gifted storyteller.” The book was published by Bold Type Books/Hachette in 2021 and a Japanese translation is forthcoming. A recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Stanford Humanities Center, and University of California Humanities Research Institute, Schuller writes for academic and general audiences. With Jules Gill-Peterson, Schuller co-edited a special issue of Social Text and with Greta LaFleur, she co-edited the American Quarterly volume “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas,” which was named Best Special Issue 2020 by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Her work for the public has appeared in the Nation, Slate, the Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues.