The article analyzes the abstracts of women’s studies doctoral dissertations produced in the United States between 1995 and 2010 in order to develop an understanding of the nature of new scholarship produced in women’s studies, and the potential of this knowledge to move the field forward. It examines 116 abstracts in an attempt to take the pulse of the field, to explore how the interdisciplinary field of women’s studies is both widening and specializing in terms of scope and scale, and to illuminate some of the challenges that arise when writing research abstracts for a nonconventional field. The article discusses how these difficulties reflect the contestations and contradictions in the field of women’s studies, testifying to the epistemic processes that envision social transformation and gender justice. In addition to considering the topic and methodological trends that these abstracts embody and how they relate to the future directions of women’s studies, it examines the abstract as an independent genre of academic writing, evaluating its limitations and possibilities as a tool for facilitating knowledge production and dissemination in a burgeoning interdisciplinary field.


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pp. 57-78
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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