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Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies Paperback – January 29, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0739104552 ISBN-10: 0739104551 Edition: Expanded

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books; Expanded edition (January 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739104551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739104552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This unsparing account of the troubles that beset Women's Studies programs should incite vigorous debate. (Publishers Weekly)

Feminists should read this book seriously and debate it vigorously. In this way they would be engaging in the self-reflection and self-criticism that are necessary to strengthen feminism. (Joan Mandle, Former Director of the Women's Studies Program, Colgate University, and author of Can We Wear Our Pearls and Still Be Feminists?)

The answer that emerges from Professing Feminism is clear: Whatever Women's Studies in its present form may be, a scholarly or intellectual enterprise it is not. . . . This witty and informative book also is an excellent read. (The Washington Times)

Essential reading for anyone involved in Women's Studies. (Library Journal)

This book is certain to start a firestorm within the North American academic feminist movement. (Asahi Evening News, (Tokyo))

In this illuminating book, Patai and Koertge show that . . . in many universities Women's Studies programs have been transformed into political pressure groups or religious cults. The authors' analysis of the situation, based on expert examination of eyewitnesses, leads to the inevitable conclusion that Women's Studies, as presently professed, represents a giant step backward into educational fundamentalism. (Mary Lefkowitz, Wellesley College)

This book seeks not to kill Women's Studies, but to save it. Feminists should listen closely. (National Review)

It is impossible not to admire the courage and integrity that inform Professing Feminism, although, as the authors know full well, it will provoke many feminists to condemn them as traitors and deny their claim to write as feminists at all. (Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Feminism is not the Story of My Life)

About the Author

Daphne Patai's most recent book is Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism. She is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Noretta Koertge, the author of A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science, is Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University.

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Customer Reviews

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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Koertge and Patai reveal the impact of "Women's Studies" programmes in North American universities. They examine the aims and practices in these study areas through interviews and analysis of curricula. The analysis is presented with a unique format - the authors couch their findings in the form of "games". Like all games, there are rules, playgrounds and players. The players are the teachers and students, but the spectators are the readers of this book. As taxpayers, the spectators often aren't aware of the game. This book can go far in enlightening the audience.
The underlying theme is the dominance of activism over scholarship. The authors note how activism by feminists in the 1960s and '70s led to the introduction of these special study areas. More attention given to the role of women in society led to courses in women writers, artists and politicians. Once in place in more university classrooms, Koertge and Patai show that the assault on "traditional" standards became even more widespread. The authors open the book describing the IDPOL game - "identity politics and ideological policiing". Teachers and students alike place high emphasis on acceptable roles and see that these are enforced. A major facet in establishing "identity" is the playing of TOTAL REJ - the eschewing of anything attributable to masculine origins. Examples are traditional philosophy, mathematics, science and technology. An extension of TOTAL REJ is BIODENIAL. The latter game introduces "social construction" to Womens' Studies by asserting anything related to gender is culturally based.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mad Rapper on September 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never read the original "Professing Feminism," but my understanding is that this new edition is the same as the old one with an additional 100 page "update" at the end. The update is very much worthwhile and merits getting the new edition. I should be clear though, this is not casual or light reading. It is very dense, very scholarly and very highly researched and referenced. Although it doesn't have sections with problems or anything like that at the end of the chapters, it reads very much like a textbook for a university course (and, in my opinion, is excellently suited for exactly that.) The author's are professors who have been involved in women's issues and women's studies.. seemingly since they began. They are passionate, eloquent, persuasive, candid and insightful. If you're looking around the world and the status of relations between men and women and asking yourself "how the hell did things get like this?", this an excellent book to help you understand where feminism and its "academic arm" in our universities (ie women's studies) pushed us down the path. A final note on the price, it is a bit expensive, but it's a high quality publication (in terms of paper quality and binding) and is filled with tremendously researched material. When you look at the number of pages it has, keep in mind, there is no fluff here. I really can't recommend this book enough.
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53 of 72 people found the following review helpful By The Old Philosopher on May 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Patai and Koertage have studied the hate training program called "Women's Studies" from a sociological perspective. They go into detail on how a badly flawed political training program masquerading as "studies" is now being promoted and taught at virtually every college. Instead of education, young women get dogma. Instead of intellectual challenges, young feminists are taught to accept the party line without question. The authors include reviews of government agency promotion of the dis-education now accepted on college campuses. Where "knowing" replaces scholarship, where victimology replaces competency, where hate replaces wisdom, that is today's "Women's Studies" program. Title IX is mentioned in passing, but the question of an equal education required by law is not asked. With over 700 colleges in the US now funding misandrist propaganda classes called "Women's Studies" why aren't any of them required to also teach equivalent classes for men under Title IX? Even as bad as Women's Studies comes off in this book there is other, and perhaps equally valid and more damning criticism left out.
The book needs to be widely read by every college administrator and by every legislator who has to vote on college budgets. The authors mince a few words, probably to keep from being stoned, but the message is clearly stated. Prejudicial agenda conformity and hate on campus is not education. Buy the book. Give one to your college age student. Donate another one to your favorite library and college.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bbach on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I took a Women's Studies course in school. I had no idea what feminism was about and in fact had no idea this was a feminist class. The course was called The Psychology of Women and was hosted in the science wing of my university.

I thought we were going to study female psychology and even get to see FMRI scans of the female brain etc. What I experienced in this class was frightening! The influence women's leaders now have in society is even more frightening.

At the time I thought that I was the odd ball and that this is what modern thought was upon the nature of gender. It is my belief that this type of thinking has created a large army of men who are beginning to fight back to defend our gender. About 7 years later and with the growth of the internet I am convinced that there has been ALOT of damage done to both men and women by feminist ideology. There is now the advent of Men's and Father's Rights activists or the MRA. I think the battle of the sexes and the war between men and women will get worse before it gets better.

This book was just the medicine I needed to feel that I was not alone in my observation of feminism and that there are many others who are working to make change for the better. Women's advocacy is now a HUGE for profit industry with reach directly into the federal government, the media, the justice system, education etc... The consequences of not adding a more balanced approach as this book serves to advocate for, will continue to have dire consequences for us all. Over all this is a splendid read and absolutely essential for anyone concerned about the state of the gender war.
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