Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25.1 (2004) vii-ix
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Susan Armitage for the Frontiers Editorial Collective
For the past seven years our editorial team at Washington State University has selected the articles and helped to craft special issues with guest editors to represent the issues and topics that we believed were relevant to current feminist academic practice and, we continue to hope, to a wider feminist community in the U.S. West. Now it is time for us to stop and for a new team, Susan Gray and Gayle Gullett of Arizona State University and their editorial collective, to select and shape the issues that they find relevant. This is the last issue of Frontiers to be edited at Washington State University. Henceforth you will find new topics and new energy in these pages.
Happily, the variety of articles in this WSU-edited issue allows us to focus for the last time on some of our favorite themes. It seems especially appropriate to begin with Judy Yung's "'A Bowlful of Tears' Revisited." Yung's original article was one of the gems of Frontiers's first issue on women's oral history in 1977, and it is a special pleasure to consider, through her eyes, how much more complex women's lives are than we imagined back then. Our interest in women's oral history that began in 1977 continues to the present day: It is no surprise, then, that the first of the Frontiers Readers we published last year was on that topic.
The next article by Kia Lilly Caldwell and Margaret Hunter, "Creating a Feminist Community on a Woman of Color Campus," directly addresses the kind of multiculturalism we have tried to practice in this journal. We have always felt that true multiculturalism is difficult because it demands honesty in an area where our instincts are to soothe and sidestep. The authors of articles such as this one help us all by their clear thinking and plain speaking. The next article, "Violence in the Borderlands," examines the writings of Chicana novelist Ana Castillo, who exercises the novelist's gift of naming the unnamable and speaking the unspeakable. Clearly, there can be no truth without that courage. Jessica Livingston's article, "Murder in Juárez" punctures the wall [End Page vii] of silence surrounding the killings of as many as three hundred women near Juárez in the past decade. It goes beyond outrage to link the killings to the working lives of the women lured to the maquiladoras that line the U.S.-Mexico border. The article lifts the veil of ignorance about the costs to women of the global assembly line with which most of us in the United States have shrouded ourselves.
The next two articles illustrate other kinds of naming. Perlita Dicochea provides a history of the development of Chicana critical rhetoric in the Chicana/o movement thereby documenting, as all good histories do, the specific steps that led us to the present. Without this kind of historical background, our current concerns lack roots. Maria Johnson's "Pouring Out the Blues: Gwen 'Sugar Mama' Avery's Songs of Freedom" performs the great service of taking the sexuality of a multi-identified woman—female, black, lesbian—seriously in all her complexity and erotic power.
Jo Hockenhull, associated with Frontiers as our art editor from the time it moved to WSU, next provides us with a brief retrospective of her concerns as an artist. The images change dramatically, but Jo's interest remains constant. As she says, she is "fascinated with the natural world and the place of humans within it." The following poems by Peter Layton and the essay by Evelyn Bodek Rosen illustrate other aspects of the fascination with nature and what we learn by really looking.
The next three articles concern Islam. Middle East historian Janet Afary ponders, "Seeking a Feminist Politics for the Middle Eat after September11." Her essay not only provides valuable information about Middle Eastern feminism that most of us don't know, but it also raises questions about the future of American feminism as...