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Feminists' interdisciplinary work is a critical response to claims that disciplinary expertise provides real knowledge. Interdisciplinary teaching, research, and activism emerge in opposition to claims that only certain kinds of ideas are valuable. This paper will briefly delineate those concepts that have created an intellectual tradition that does not recognize the political and strategic elements entailed by all knowledge formation. Feminist activism is a reaction to the narrowly defined boundaries of what counts as a good idea. The distinction between passive and active knowledge acquisition allows us to view feminist teaching, research, and activism as active, ongoing engagements that emerge from directed and investigative processes. And, as we shall see, the significance of this generative view of ideas lies in an engaged, collaborative effort. On the other hand, the significance of knowledge as something buried and awaiting discovery lies only in the passive observation of a limited self.


Presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference. November 11-14, 2010 Denver, CO.

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