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Third Wave Feminisms

two proposals for consideration

Forum: WMST-L
Date: 06/22/2001

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Third Wave Group Founded within NWSA

Hello everyone - this email is to let you know that the Interest Area Group on Third Wave Feminisms has been formed during this year's National Women's Studies Association conference and was officially approved by the General Assembly of NWSA.

In this conference, a large number of sessions that have "third wave feminism" on their titles were held, including the research cafe "Third Wave Theorizing the Third Wave" which I hosted, but most seemed to refer to the third wave as a code word for "young women's feminism." Unfortunately, these conversations too often fail to acknowledge complexities within each generation or to push forward the theoretical scope of feminism. In addition, using waves as a trope for generational differences incorrectly assumes homogeneity within each generation and privileges the dominant group's experience of being in a given generational group.

In my "research cafe," I made the following proposal: re-define third wave feminism as the feminism "outside of" the second wave rather than "after," and as the feminism that starts from the realization that there are many power imbalances among women that are as serious and important as the power imbalance between women and men. Whether or not you agree with this proposition, I think it served the purpose of challenging the presumption that second and third waves of feminism are about generational divide and starting a more sophisticated discussion about what it means to be a third wave feminist.

The new Interest Area Group on Third Wave Feminisms aims to push forward the discussion about third wave feminisms by moving the focus away from generational politics or identity group and onto epistemological and ontological shifts made possible through adopting the label, "third wave." It is not about what third wave feminism is, but about how calling ourselves "third wave" enables us to do that we cannot do otherwise.

The Interest Area Group will shortly debut an electronic forum to keep the discussion that started at the research cafe going, and hopefully sponsor sessions at the next conference. If you think you are a third wave feminist (regardless of your generational affiliation) or otherwise interested in participating in such a discussion, please email me at If you have students who might be interested, please pass along this information - in addition to creating a new trend within third wave feminisms, it might help bring more people to NWSA and its conference who had not been interested in the past.


Emi Koyama <>

-- * Putting the Emi back in Feminism since 1975.