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"Feeling Women's Liberation is a major contribution to understanding second-wave feminism as both a historical event and an ongoing political project. With this engaging and necessary book, Victoria Hesford is working at the forefront of the critical reassessment of the history of the women's movement of the 1970s."—Robyn Wiegman, author of Object Lessons
"Feeling Women's Liberation is a model of cultural studies: self-reflexive about its archive, theoretically sophisticated, and possessed of a compelling central case study, Kate Millett. Recovering forgotten—or, rather, repressed—archival materials, Victoria Hesford offers a brilliantly written genealogy of the politically charged figure of the lesbian feminist in popular and academic discourse from 1970 to the present."—Elizabeth Freeman, author of Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories
"In this book, Victoria Hesford offers us a history of feminism as a history of feeling. Attending to feminist pasts with an ear that is alive to detail, Hesford explores the surprising entanglements that make up the unfinished lives of feminism. Through readings of memories, films, and media texts, she explores not only how feminism is a movement but also how we are moved by feminism and how even the most anxious of figures—such as the feminist-as-lesbian—are animating sites of potential. This powerful and poetic text demonstrates how we can take better care of feminist memories."—Sara Ahmed, author of On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Everyday Life
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The term women's liberation remains charged and divisive decades after it first entered political and cultural discourse around 1970. In Feeling Women's Liberation, Victoria Hesford mines the archive of that highly contested era to reassess how it has been represented and remembered. Hesford refocuses debates about the movement’s history and influence. Rather than interpreting women's liberation in terms of success or failure, she approaches the movement as a range of rhetorical strategies that were used to persuade and enact a new political constituency and, ultimately, to bring a new world into being. Hesford focuses on rhetoric, tracking the production and deployment of particular phrases and figures in both the mainstream press and movement writings, including the work of Kate Millett. She charts the emergence of the feminist-as-lesbian as a persistent "image-memory" of women's liberation, and she demonstrates how the trope has obscured the complexity of the women's movement and its lasting impact on feminism.