- Editors’ Note
This issue of Frontiers honors the fortieth anniversary of the journal by showcasing a range of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship as well as artwork, poetry, and conversations about feminist activism. The authors and artists in this issue utilize a variety of methodologies and converse across disciplinary fields to explore central questions related to feminist scholarship, namely, sexuality and the body, female representation and subjectivity, and feminist activism.
Our first cluster of academic and artist work examines alternative interpretations of sexuality and bodily performance in historical contexts and contemporary practices. Elyse Vigiletti contextualizes the lesbian magazine The Ladder in the context of the Cold War. Kellyn J. Johnson archives and analyzes the ambiguous body in Johnny Blazes’ dance performance. And Gail Thacker, whose artwork appears on our cover, uses photography to “distort life,” “exaggerate time,” and question gender identity.
Our next cluster of academic and poetic writings continue the exploration of female subjectivity by analyzing visual and literary texts. Louise Siddons examines eighteenth-century visual representations of motherhood and science. Robinson Murphy explores the historical figure of Catholic prophetess Elizabeth Barton, a central character in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Jennifer Thorinton Springer analyzes how black female sexuality and identity is portrayed and reinvented through Austin Clark’s The Polished Hoe. Finally, J. Dee Cochran offers her own literary creations of female subjectivity and conflict through her poems.
Interspersed throughout this issue are three conversations about activism and feminist legacy. Joan Marie Johnson, Francesca Morgan, and Michelle Nickerson organized a symposium on the fiftieth anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963). The published roundtables in this volume offer academic as well as activist reflections on the historical significance of [End Page vii] The Feminine Mystique. Our second activist conversation is by Karin Aguilar-San Juan, who interviews Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American labor, racial, and environmental activist based in Detroit. We conclude our issue by featuring former Frontiers editors. We invited them to help us commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the journal by sharing their experiences, memories, and insights into feminist publishing and scholarship. We thank Kathi George, Alanna Preussner, Elizabeth Jameson, Louise Lamphere, Jane Slaughter, Sue Armitage, Patricia Hart, Karen Weathermon, Susan E. Gray, Gayle Gullett and many others (including our editorial assistants: Denise Delgaldo and Peggy Solic) for creating, sustaining, and growing Frontiers. [End Page viii]