Selling feminism : a study of contemporary feminist literatures, communities, and markets
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This dissertation explores how recent feminist authors uses their literature to create, sustain, and expand the feminist movement through their creation of communities and readerships. This project consists of four case studies, each of which examines how a feminist author represents feminist identity, where she locates herself in relation to the mainstream marketplace, which strategies she uses to circulate her representation, and what forms of small and large feminist communities she is able to create. To develop this analysis of feminist literary public culture, I focus on playwright Eve Ensler and her work with the V-Day movement, novelist Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez and her expansion of the chick lit genre, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes and her online small press, and the members of spoken word group Sister Spit and their traveling road show. These individual case studies, taken as a whole, speak to the ways that feminist authors are engaging mainstream and feminist readers in ways that create and energize feminist communities.