Editors' NoteOSU Bids Farewell to Frontiers
As we prepared Frontiers issue 38.3, we realized that we had reached an important milestone in the journal's history at the Ohio State University (OSU); 38.3 is the last issue that our editorial team produced before the journal transitions to its new institutional home, the University of Utah. Much had happened since we first took over the journal in 2012. Judy Tzu-Chun Wu left OSU to take a position at the University of California, Irvine; Mytheli Sreenivas joined our editorial collective two years ago; and Krista Benson became the sixth and final editorial assistant to work with Frontiers during its tenure at OSU. These were but a few of the changes we experienced during the past five years. We are proud to say though that throughout these shifts in editorial staffing we still maintained a strong and focused intellectual vision for the journal, making sure that Frontiers continued with its long-standing reputation as one of the premier journals in the field of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. We feel that with issue 38.3 we are going out with a bang, so to speak, as the feminist intellectual and creative work we are featuring here speaks volumes about feminism's commitment to the critique of neoliberalism, the careful deconstruction of cultural representation, and the insistent attention to race.
As a global phenomenon, neoliberalism has emerged as perhaps one of the most pervasive ideologies and social practices that has ensured the maintenance of power hierarchies. "Intersections of Feminisms and Neoliberalism" by Raili Marling and Redi Koobak and "'Choosing' Wisely" by Rachel A. Vaughn both address the failures of neoliberalism as a democratic project. Marling and Koobak consider genealogies of Estonian feminism as it developed during the postsocialist transitional period, which was largely defined by its neoliberal politics. These authors insist that this neoliberal context discouraged Estonian feminists from turning to transnational feminist theories that would have allowed them to engage in productive critiques of coloniality [End Page vii] and inequality. By contrast, Vaughn focuses on the concepts of choice and individuality, two cornerstones of neoliberalism throughout the world. This writer offers an important critique of the choice-based rhetoric in contemporary food politics. Vaughn astutely draws parallels between the limitations of reproductive choice and the more radical turn to reproductive justice, thus stating that speaking of food justice, rather than food choice, can more broadly address inequities in the access to adequate nutritional resources.
While neoliberalism has become a fairly unambiguous locus of feminist protest and critique, cultural representation—whether it be art, film, literature or mass media—has emerged as a more ambivalent site of feminist contestation. The contributions to this issue by Bonnie J. Morris, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Shenshen Cai, and Audrey Chan all point to the complex implications and at times conflicting messages produced in cultural representation. In "Before Harriett Blogged" Morris examines journaling as an important practice for women's and girls' subject formation. This author testifies to the importance of women diarists writing about their lives within a misogynist world. Parreñas Shimizu's article "Claiming Bruce Lee's Sex" also looks at women's writing but problematizes the discourses that can emerge from these texts. Examining two memoirs written on Bruce Lee, one by his wife and the other by his mistress, this author maintains that both texts rely on fixed ideas of masculinity that uphold normativity and romanticize virility. In addition, looking at a popular Asian celebrity, Cai focuses her article on the phenomenon of women's self-representation. In "Talented Celebrity Rene Liu" the author explains how Rene Liu—the famous Taiwanese actress, singer, writer and director—crafted her own media persona to give voice to the so-called "left-over women," the term often used in China to refer to unmarried professional women living in urban settings. Like Liu, artist Audrey Chan—whose mesmerizing and deeply spiritual work titled Center of the Universe is featured on the cover of this issue—aspires to give voice to her grandmother, whose life experience encompassed larger gender histories in China and the United States. Ultimately, the various forms of gendered imagery that Morris, Parreñas Shimizu, Cai, and Chan touch upon reveal the wealth of feminist knowledge that can be derived from critical approaches to cultural representation.
Gender analyses of cultural representation also reveal feminism's investment in and dependence on anti-racist politics. The articles written by Rebecca S. Wingo and Jennifer Gilley along with the roundtable discussion edited by Kristen A. Kolenz, Krista L. Benson, and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu all provide us with critical understandings about how the histories of gender and race, as manifested through women's writing, intersect in fruitful but also contested ways. In her article "The 'Forgotten Era'" Wingo argues that [End Page viii] the writings of nineteenth-century dime novel author Ann Stephens represent Native women as proxy stand-ins for white women's liberation. "Ghost in the Machine" by Gilley turns a critical eye toward the failed attempts to publish what was to have been titled The Third Wave: Feminist Perspectives on Racism, an anthology contracted by the Kitchen Table Press. Wingo and Gilley both elucidate the historical difficulties involved in addressing the interlocking and interconnected oppressions of race and gender. Wanting to close this Frontiers issue with an essay that looks to the past and the future of anti-racist feminist writings, however, we decided to conclude 38.3 with the roundtable "Combahee River Collective Statement: A 40th Anniversary Retrospective," which featured the voices of numerous feminist scholars, thinkers, and activists who engaged the CRC statement as a living document that remains relevant to current struggles against race and gender oppression.
To conclude this, our last introduction to a Frontiers issue, we would like to say that this journal opened to us an exciting and surprising world of feminist scholarship that we could never have known had we not worked on Frontiers. We were privileged to learn about the emerging research of scholars from all over the world. Interacting with them has honored and humbled us. We would like to think that we have had a hand in shaping our discipline through our work with Frontiers. We are thus tremendously grateful to all the authors, artists, guest editors, the University of Nebraska Press staff and, of course, our intrepid editorial assistants who worked with us. They have also had a hand shaping the success of Frontiers at the Ohio State University! [End Page ix]