ArticlesVolume 12, Number 3 (2003)

On Discipline and Canon


While the title of the panel I participated in was “Why Do We Eat Our Young?”, I think I prefer: “On Discipline and Canon,” or to rework the title of the panel in the program, “Why Do We Eat Our Girlfriends?”

In my short remarks, I would like to raise a set not of answers, but of questions that over the last year or so a few of us have been discussing outside of our published work. These questions seem apt both for this panel and for this conference. Last November a group of really wonderful women at the University of Texas put together a conference called “Subversive Legacies: Learning From History/Constructing the Future.” A number of the ┬ápeople attending this conference at Columbia were in Austin for that gathering. What took place there was what Martha Fineman has termed an “uncomfortable conversation”1 about what it means to write as a feminist, what it means to write about feminism, and what it might mean to write from outside feminism on issues that have been thought of as the intellectual property and proper terrain of feminism. Janet Halley raised some of these questions in Austin, and again at this symposium.