April 3-4 2020 Aix Marseille University Women’s Resistance to Feminism(s) in the United States since the 19th century




“The frivolous objections some women made to our appeals were as exasperating as they were ridiculous”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and More


From the 1911 National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage to Phyllis Schlafly’s “STOP-ERA” campaign in the 1980s and governor Kay Ivey’s recent signing into law of House Bill 314 criminalizing abortion in Alabama, women have played a prominent role in opposing feminism in the US. Yet these visible forms of anti feminism are but the tips of a much larger iceberg of women’s resistance to feminism that this two-day conference, organized by the “Women and the F-Word” team (https://wfw.hypotheses.org), proposes to explore.


The notion of women’s resistance to feminism includes—but is not reduced to—organized antifeminism, a countermovement which has been the object of pioneering work (A. Dworkin, Right Wing Women, 1983, T. Jablonsky, The Home, Heaven, and Mother Party, 1994, S. Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood, 1997). Resistance is understood as a broad set of negative reactions experienced and/or expressed by women or groups of women when they are faced with self-styled feminist behaviors, ideas or actions. As feminism is conceived as a flexible and evolving ideology, which the plural “feminisms” more adequately reflects, the modes and mechanisms of resistance will be examined from a diachronic and dialogical perspective that always takes into account the particular historical moment.


This interdisciplinary conference means to bring together contributions shedding light on the specific features of women’s resistance to feminisms in the United States since the 19th century.


Papers addressing the following issues will be welcome:


-How did/do women perceive the first women’s rights advocates?

-What precise term initially triggers resistance?: Rights? Suffragism? Feminism? Modern/Radical feminism? White? Elite? Abortion? Etc..

– How do women (de)construct their own (non) feminism through those terms?

-What sort of discourses/actions did/do they produce or perform and how did/do they spread them?

-How did/do women evolve from a position of “feminist” to “anti “or “non feminist”?

-How did/do they (re)negotiate their identification to womanhood?

-How important are the binaries feminism/femininity, feminism/individualism ?

-How does intersectionality shape resistance and how, in turn, does resistance strengthen intersectional identities?

-How did/do women contest the boundaries of mainstream feminism?

-How does globalization affect the mechanisms of resistance?

-Are there cases of transnational resistance?

-How has resistance evolved over the centuries? (persistence and change)

-How does women’s resistance impact feminism?

-Can indifference be considered a form of resistance?


Please send a 300- word abstract and a brief bio to :

claire.sorin@univ-amu.fr,   marc.calvini-lefebvre@univ-amu.fr and nicolas.boileau@univ-amu.fr


Deadline: October 15, 2019.


Place and date of the conference:

Aix-Marseille University

29 avenue Robert Schuman

13621 Aix-en-Provence


April 3-4 2020


Keynote Address : Dr Ronnee Schreiber (San Diego State University), author of Righting Feminism: Conservative Women and American Politics (OUP, 2008)




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