Gail Lewis talks about the different standing and reception of black feminist texts in the USA and Britain.
The work of black feminists was significant in the development of feminist theory as well as literature and history, the humanities and social sciences. This was particularly true in the USA, whereas in Britain the black women’s movement was more closely associated with activism than academia. One reason for the different recognition and status of black women’s writing in the USA and Britain is that more women in the USA went to university during the 1960s and ‘70s. Another is the role that civil rights played in the American feminist movement. For more on civil rights see Race, Place and Nation.
We have given some examples of where theory and practice of feminism work together above. Listening to other extracts in this oral history, can you find others?
Is it sufficient to be an activist without engaging with theory and, conversely, is it possible to engage with theory without being an activist?