Califia Women: Feminist Education Against Sexism, Classism, and Racism

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University of Texas Press, Nov 15, 2013 - Social Science - 247 pages
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Launched in 1975, the Califia Community organized activist educational camps and other programs in southern California until its dissolution in 1987. An alternative to mainstream academia’s attempts to tie feminism to university courses, Califia blended aspects of feminism that spanned the labels “second wave” and “radical,” attracting women from a range of gender expressions, sexual orientations, class backgrounds, and races or ethnicities. Califia Women captures the history of the organization through oral history interviews, archives, and other forms of primary research. The result is a lens for re-reading trends in feminist and social justice activism of the time period, contextualized against a growing conservative backlash.

Throughout each chapter, readers learn about the triumphs and frictions feminists encountered as they attempted to build on the achievements of the postwar Civil Rights movement. With its backdrop of southern California, the book emphasizes a region that has often been overlooked in studies of East Coast or San Francisco Bay–area activism. Califia Women also counters the notions that radical and lesbian feminists were unwilling to address intersectional identities generally and that they withdrew from political activism after 1975. Instead, the Califia Community shows evidence that these and other feminists intentionally created an educational forum that embraced oppositional consciousness and sought to serve a variety of women, including radical Christian reformers, Wiccans, scholars of color, and GLBT activists.


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Califia Community in Social Movement History
1 The Need for Community Education Projects
2 Founding Fun and Friction
3 Interest in Women
4 Channeling Class Resentments
5 Antiracism to Get under the Skin
6 The Right Attacks and Internal Divisions
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About the author (2013)

Clark A. Pomerleau is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas and also facilitates diversity training.

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