The Abstracts — Femspec 7.2, Vol 7, Issue 2, 2006

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EDITORIAL REMARKS:

By Batya Weinbaum
Batya Weinbaum gives an overview of the journal and announces numerous achievements and future projects at Femspec. The winners of the first Five Year Contest are revealed; a new section begins called Ethnography through Your Soul which combines personal narrative with current research; a forthcoming feature called This Should Have Been Printed in Femspec is presented; and a memorial section begins by commemorating Tillie Olsen and Monique Wittig.

CRITICISM:

Pandora’s Box in Cyberspace: The On-line Alternative Fan Sites of Hercules: The Legendary Journey by Bruce E. Drushel
Drushel looks at the North American television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It provides a background to the show and to the community of fans who express their admiration by writing their own stories based on the series. Bruce Drushel investigates various websites where fans write fiction, and makes a detailed inquiry of some of the homoerotic or slash writing.

Not Of Woman Born: Fairy Tale Mothers for Postmodern Literary Children by Romayne Smith Fullerton Fullerton examines the subversive potential of re-casting fairy tale stereotypes into postmodern fiction, focusing on the writers Angela Carter, Jenny Diski and Jeanette Winterson. Romayne Smith Fullerton writes about how these authors have adapted and borrowed from the monstrous and imaginative characters of classic tales. Her argument suggests that by tinkering with these stereotypes, the writers in her study have discovered ways to limit the unhappy realities of patriarchy in their fiction. This is done by challenging and sidestepping the problems of the feminine in fairy tales.

Vision of the Possible: Models for Women’s Heroic Journey Applied to Madrone’s Path in The Fifth Sacred Thing by Mary Kirk
Kirk applies a series of feminist interpretations to the myth of the hero. By pointing out the somewhat misogynist, mono-myth of the male hero as laid out in the work of Joseph Campbell, Mary Kirk explores other models of heroism created by feminist scholars such as Susan Lichtman, Carol Pearson, and Katherine Pope. Mary Kirk then tests out these models by applying them to a self-actualized character who lives in a feminist utopia: Madrone in Starhawk’s first novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing.

The Competing Demands of Community Survival and Self-Preservation in Octavia Butler’s Kindred by C. S’Thembile West
West demonstrates that Octavia Butler’s novel, Kindred is both instructive and challenging because it forces the reader to re-imagine the complicated decisions made by Black women during chattel enslavement. C. S’Thembile West outlines the complexity of Black women’s lives and emphasizes the connections between the practice of chattel slavery, U.S. economic viability, and contemporary social problems.

ETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH YOUR SOUL:

When the Imaginary Becomes Real, as Surrealism Said It Would: All the Rest Is Litterature by Gloria Orenstein
Gloria Orenstein writes about her journey to Lapland and initiation by a Sami shaman. She tries to assimilate these strange experiences into her belief system using the surrealist conviction that acts of the imagination can begin to manifest themselves into reality. Her spiritual journey gives her a greater tolerance and respect for her own religious background and those of her students.

The Origin of Tarot by Ella Jo Street
A series of chance encounters leads Ella Jo Street on a journey to Bishnupur in North East India, searching out the origins of the Tarot Pack. There she meets Mr. Fouzdar, the only person in the world who is currently painting Dasabatar cards. These large circular cards, originating from the 14th Century, bare remarkable similarities to Tarot cards and lead Ella Jo Street to wonder about the historical and linguistic links between the packs.

FICTION:

Living Hours by Mónica De Neymet de Giacoman
With an introduction by Batya Weinbaum, Femspec presents a translated excerpt from Mónica de Neymet de Giacoman’s first novel, Las Horas Vivas.

POETRY:

Excerpts from The Inevitable Feminist Treatise on Catwoman by Kathleen McConnell
A comic poem outlining preparations for a text on the much maligned film Catwoman, with references to many other television and cinema heroines.

Maple Tree excerpt from Crossings by Aidan Thompson
A short text takes the reader from Oberlin Lane to Calcutta, by way of Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Simon, and a very talented owl.

REVIEWS:

Who? Review of Athena’s Daughters: Television’s New Woman Warriors by Eric Drown
An American Studies professor reviews a collection of essays on the subject of pop culture television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The reviewer feels that most of the essays within the book are better at creating counter-readings of episodes than providing compelling evidence of how viewers can incorporate the narrative material in real-life social situations.

Ooooo!, We Hate Bush Review of Hollywood’s New Radicalism: War, Globalization and the Movies from Reagan to George W. Bush by Eric Drown
A reviewer weighs in on a political book by Ben Dickerson. The book covers the connections between politics and filmmaking. The reviewer states that the author seems to place great faith in Michael Moore’s radical documentaries. The reviewer also feels that the author fails to see the relevance of gender to his story.

Review of From Alien to The Matrix: Reading SF Films by Shannan Palma
This reviewer examines a collection of works on science fiction films. The reviewer recommends the book to scholars who wish to gain a better understanding of films in that genre.

MEMORIAL

Monique Wittig by Gloria Orenstein
Gloria Orenstein remembers French author Monique Wittig, and presents a tribute at the Antioch University in Los Angeles on March, 2003.

Tillie Olsen by Ardys of Berkeley
Ardys of Berkeley pays tribute to writer Tillie Olsen. The author stated: I did not realize how much of my reading in Women’s Studies classes had been influenced by Olsen.

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