Rooms of Our Own

Susan Gubar
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With a little help from Virginia Woolf, Susan Gubar contemplates startling transformations produced by the women's movement in recent decades. What advances have women made and what still needs to be done? Taking Woolf's classic "A Room of One's Own" as her guide, Gubar engages these questions by recounting one year in the life of an English professor. A meditation on the teaching of literature and on the state of the humanities today, her chapters also provide a crash course on challenges and changes in feminist intellectual history over the past several decades: the influence of post-structuralism and of critical race, post-colonial, and cultural studies scholarship; the stakes of queer theory and the institutionalization of women's studies; the effects of globalism and bio-engineering on conversations about gender, sex, and sexuality. Yet "Rooms of Our Own" eschews a scholarly approach. Instead, through narrative criticism, it enlists a thoroughly contemporary cast of characters who tell us as much about the comedies and tragedies of campus life today as they do about the sometimes contentious but invariably liberating feminisms of our future.