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The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability by Kristen Hogan (Duke University Press, March 2016).
“I was surprised to find how many bookwomen were involved in trying to develop antiracist feminist activism and relationships. The bookstores were, in many cities, multiracial spaces and sites of conversation and strategy for lesbian antiracism. I describe lesbian antiracism as a practice of antiracism developed in multiracial conversations that draw on lesbians’ experiences of sexism and heterosexism as interconnected and rooted in racism. All three of these systems must be taken apart in order for any one of them to be dismantled.”
Dr. Kristen Hogan restores the feminist bookstore movement’s and its radical work to public feminist memory. The bookwomen at the heart of this story are mostly lesbians, and include women of color. They measured their success by developing theories and practices of lesbian antiracism and feminist accountability. She explores bookstores like BookWoman in Austin, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, Old Wives’ Tales in San Francisco, and the essential Feminist Bookstore News. Bookwomen changed people’s lives and the world.
Kristen Hogan shares the feminist bookstore movement’s tools with contemporary queer antiracist feminist activists and theorists. She gives us a vocabulary, strategy, and legacy for thinking through today’s feminisms.
“I think that in order to really support feminist bookstores, and many feminist spaces in our cities, we need to know what important movement-based work bookwomen have done. Movement organizations don’t last forever. The success of feminist bookstores is not defined by how long they stay open, but, rather, by the significant legacy they leave us for our future movements. Feminist activists can continue the radical work of feminist bookwomen by learning about and practicing their commitment to lesbian antiracism and feminist accountability.”
Dr. Kristen Hogan is Education Program Coordinator for the University of Texas Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Kristen Hogan worked at BookWoman in Austin and at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.
“This history of the bookstores as places where women tried out strategies for racial justice was a surprise hidden by the mid-1990s, when many white feminist bookwomen turned toward book industry activism and away from movement-based conversations. The vital history before that turn offers strategies I need for the relationships that matter to me every day.” Interview with University of Texas, Austin”s ShelfLife@Texas.