The Feminist Knowledge Network

An Introduction to the Feminist Knowledge Network

The Feminist Knowledge Network born at the 7th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women's Studies held in Tromso, Norway in June 1999, when some editors and managing editors of Women's Studies journals met informally. That meeting made it clear at that meeting that a network was needed in order to:

*       foster communication and discussion about common problems of gathering, publishing and disseminating feminist research about women in an increasingly difficult financial and political climate;

*       make use of advances in technology to overcome the intellectual isolation experienced by feminist journal boards and editors, especially those working in the economic South, by making the most effective use of e-mail and Internet opportunities, and by sharing existing resources;

*       initiate mutually supportive endeavours to break down boundaries and bridge communication gaps and develop collaborative activities, including research and the building of a sustainable resource base which can be shared by all members.

*       to develop networks and partnerships of researchers to develop projects related to common interests or  themes.

Following that meeting, a few of the editors started to develop an e-mail list and to recruit new members.  Every journal we approached responded with enthusiasm, glad of the opportunity to share experiences and to strengthen their work. We rapidly recruited a membership of 27 journals, based in 21 countries, of which 12 were in the economic South. Thus the network, now called the International Network of Women=s Studies Journals, came into being as an informal, ad hoc group.

The next step was to find funding to support a face to face meeting. The Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada and the International Development Research Council (Canada) generously came forward with this funding, which allowed us to hold our first workshop in Halifax in September 2001. Thirty-four editors attended that meeting, which took place over an intense week.

This meeting allowed us to discuss our rationale, form and shape, values, plans and projects and other aspects of the network

These were further discussed at our next meeting in Kampala, July 2002.  They are not yet finalized, but in interim form, the Feminist Knowledge Network (the new name adopted at the Kampala meeting) agrees:

*       to develop a network of mutually supportive feminist publications to strengthen ties in publishing and researching and to create a knowledge network to address feminist issues;

*       to include both North and South voices, and a diversity of feminist publications;

*       members of the network  each produce a publication with a feminist focus, with a political agenda and with a global vision of change;

*       to incorporate two principles of effective practice ‑ to be concerned about and sensitive to issues of language, especially resisting the dominance of English and creating space for local languages; and to work towards always linking activist and academic practice;

*       to share our best practices and principles of work;

*       to support each other and to work together on mutually beneficial projects.

We realized that the Feminist Knowledge Network would be most effective as a limited size group, which is able to work intensively together and to develop a shared vision and agenda.  For this reason the Network makes no claim and has no desire to >represent= feminist or Women=s Studies journal publishing as a whole. We are keeping the membership closed for the moment. In future the network will expand carefully and in accordance with the principles that guided the original recruitment of members.

Our current projects include:

*       The Anthology

*       Electronic communication and web‑based information sharing

*       Baseline research on the feminist theory informing feminist publishing

*       Bi‑lateral exchanges between members and member journals

*       Fundraising

*       Future meetings and long term collaboration



Last Updated: 12/08/2002