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Califia Women

Feminist Education against Sexism, Classism, and Racism

By Clark A. Pomerleau

Publication Year: 2013

A dynamic exploration of the Califia Community, a long-running Los Angeles-based grassroots alternative education group formed in the mid-1970s, whose richly diverse membership offered a compelling array of responses to feminism’s key issues.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

...archivist and Latina lesbian feminist activist Yolanda Retter Vargas, along with my answer, initiated this book. As someone interested in U.S. social movements for civil rights and liberation, I wanted to research in Los Angeles’s two most promising archives for late-twentieth-century multi- issue feminist or queer groups. Retter Vargas immediately...

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Introduction: Califia Community in Social Movement History

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pp. 1-11

...By the 1970s, the proliferation of feminist organizations in Los Angeles was representative of the nation’s largest cities. Southern California feminists built on previous leftist education experiments to plan Califi a Community in 1975. They drew on their social networks to bring women (and their children) together for a week or long weekend to learn from each other’s experiences, imagine and live an alternative to mainstream society, frame issues, and organize...

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1. The Need for Community Education Projects

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pp. 12-33

...After World War II, Americans faced many forms of discrimination, and campaigns for equality that led to legislative and cultural change are widely documented. Popular culture myths about women persist, however, despite the best efforts of scholars like Joanne Meyerowitz, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Stephanie Cootz to debunk them...

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2. Founding, Fun, and Friction

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pp. 34-68

...The ability to fi nd woman-focused separate spaces appealed to some who dealt with negative male behavior in their workplaces or family lives. This chapter makes fi ve major arguments. The backgrounds and goals of Califia Community’s first two founders, Betty Willis Brooks and Marilyn Murphy, make their desire to reach beyond their...

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3. Interest in Women

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pp. 69-98

...oppression by men and to call Califia women to action. Califia founders and their contemporaries built on earlier feminist critiques to teach women to prioritize women. They addressed patriarchal male domination and heterosexual privilege and debated what constituted aspects of sexism. Feminists in the 1970s– 1980s disagreed about the amount of privilege women enjoyed, oppression they faced...

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4. Channeling Class Resentments

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pp. 99-120

...overarching structure with many negative consequences. These feminist teachings tapped into women’s personal experiences to encourage them to organize instead of feeling passively victimized. Personalizing patriarchy was a springboard from which women nationwide joined or created projects to combat violence against women and children, alleviate other forms of sexism, and address homophobia. Advocating...

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5. Antiracism to Get under the Skin

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pp. 121-148

...sought to nurture integrated women’s groups that functioned effectively across differences. This chapter argues that Califia founders expressed feminists’ concern to teach women to work together and that the development of antiracism trainings represented feminist views on race in the 1970s and 1980s in four main ways. The pedagogy developed from earlier Black Power calls for whites to help other whites unlearn racism; Califia founders developed antiracism as one of the...

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6. The Right Attacks and Internal Divisions

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pp. 149-174

...combined with emphases on assimilation and individual gain among gay and lesbian Americans, portended the end of Califia. This chapter argues that Califia conferences waned because of a combination of key founders’ departures, societal shifts that imperiled increasing numbers of Americans economically, and differences of opinion among feminists. New Right members attacked one founder while others turned to different projects. Neoliberal attempts to defund social services...

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Conclusion: Enduring Legacies for “the Week”

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pp. 175-184

...and weaknesses of forms of feminism as well as how feminist work related to society. Feminists since the mid-1960s have sought to revolutionize the world; their sense of urgency and heightened expectations have built on previous New Left momentum. Califia participants reflected American feminists who tested alternative models of governance and revised assumptions, simultaneously supported and challenged...


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pp. 185-220


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pp. 221-234


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pp. 235-247

E-ISBN-13: 9780292752955
E-ISBN-10: 0292752954
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292752948
Print-ISBN-10: 0292752946

Page Count: 269
Illustrations: 16 photos
Publication Year: 2013