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Male Allies and the Politics of Feminist Accountability


What does it mean for men to join with women in preventing sexual assault and domestic violence? Based on life history interviews with men and women anti-violence activists, Messner's new book Some Men illuminates both the promise of men's violence prevention work, as well as the strains and tensions that inhere, both for men as feminist allies, and for the women they work with.

In this talk, Messner will focus on promise and contradictions of what it means to be an ally, cutting across three generational cohorts: a "movement cohort" of men who engaged with anti-violence work in the 1970s and early 1980s, during the height of the feminist anti-violence mobilizations; a "bridge cohort" who engaged with anti-violence work from the mid-1980s into the 1990s, as feminism receded as a mass movement and activists built sustainable organizations; a "professional cohort" who engaged from the mid-1990s to the present, as anti-violence work has become embedded in community and campus organizations, non-profits, and the state.

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This is event is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, OpenXChange, Stanford Law School, Student Affairs, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, ASSU, Women's Community Center, Men & Masculinities Project, Inter-Sorority Council, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

This event kicks off the Clayman Institute's 18-month series, "Breaking the Culture of Sexual Assault", where we will dig deeper into this issue and uncover the underlying causes and engage in a community conversation on potential solutions. Click here for more information on the series.


    • Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, USC
    • Dornsife Director of Faculty Development, USC
    Dr. Michael Messner received his B.A. and M.A. from C.S.U. Chico. Following this, he received his Ph.D. in sociology at U.C. Berkeley. After receiving his degree, Dr. Messner embarked on his teaching career. Over the span of a decade, he taught at four community colleges, an Air Force base, a maximum security prison and three Claifornia State Universities before settling in to his current position with the University of...