Feminist Accused - CL

Jane Gallop, Author, Jane Gallop, Author, Gallop, Author Duke University Press $29.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-8223-1925-2
In 1991, an English professor at a state university kissed one of her female graduate students. In 1993, she was accused of sexual harassment by that student and one other. The charges, painstakingly described in detail and nuance, were violations of college policy concerning sexual interaction between professors and students. What the author thinks makes these all-too-common events unusual is that she, the accused, is a feminist who has authored other books on feminist history and practice. She uses the particulars of her ""case"" to generalize about the place of sexuality in teaching and learning and the meanings of sexuality in feminism. Reading this long essay may leave readers with questions the author doesn't address: Where is the line between scholarship and autobiography, or simply self-indulgence? A ""local, left leaning, countercultural weekly ran a wrap-up of the university investigation."" This isn't exactly a media blitz, but three pages in this very short book are devoted to an analysis of the sidebar accompanying that article. Why not just reprint the thing and let readers decide for themselves what it says? The author seems to be arguing that teaching and feminism depend upon personal and sexual relations between teachers and students, power differential or not. But it's hard to say how much of this position is vindication and how much is scholarly and analytical. On the positive side, Gallop writes well, and here she is obviously writing about her favorite subject. (May) FYI: Helen Garner's The First Stone: Some Questions About Sex and Power (Forecasts, March 10) also looks at sexual harassment on campus.
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 04/01/1997
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