Please join us as we use the gift of feminism to figure out what’s going on right now.
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- Listen to our trailer for a sample of the Feminist Present.
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Adrian Daub — In fall 2019, Daub became the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Clayman Institute. A Stanford professor of comparative literature and German studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Daub was Stanford’s director of the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from 2016 to 2020.
Laura Goode — A lecturer in Stanford's Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Goode is Associate Director of the Graduate Humanities Public Writing Project. She writes about feminism, intersectionality, female friendship, motherhood, and culture in TV, film, and literature; she is especially interested in the contemporary feminist first-person essay, the female gaze in image-making, critical whiteness studies, and performances of gender in "prestige" television.
Megan Calfas — A journalist, playwright, and podcast producer, Calfas currently is completing her masters in journalism at Stanford University. She’s written about environmental justice in the Bay Area, investigated maternal mortality in Zanzibar, and once convinced Stanford University President Marc-Tessier Lavigne to perform in a musical alongside personified, dancing peanuts.
Dec. 9: Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel Torch. She’s also Laura’s favorite living author. Laura barely kept her shit together talking with Cheryl about unconditional positive regard as a feminist value, the writer as teacher, and how breadwinners can’t afford to have writers’ block.
Dec 2: Lyz Lenz
Lyz Lenz is the author of two books, the latter of which, Belabored: A Vindication on the Rights of Pregnant Women, was released while she was fleeing an Iowa derecho mid-pandemic with her two young children. She was, until very recently, a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette; her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, and in her popular newsletter, “Men Yell at Me.” Lyz talked to Adrian and Laura about releasing Belabored amidst multiple disasters, the hardcore survival instincts of Midwestern women, and becoming a writer on the internet.
Nov 25: Sister Roma
Sister Roma, the “most photographed nun in the world,” has been an influential member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence since 1987. The Sisters are an Order of queer and trans nuns that debuted in San Francisco on Easter Sunday 1979; originally formed to draw money and attention to the AIDS crisis, the Sisters have spent over four decades in radically compassionate service to, in their words, “those on the edges.” Laura and Adrian got super emotional talking to Roma about the political value of drag, how the COVID-19 pandemic recalls that of HIV/AIDS, the Sisters’ tireless support for feminist causes, and real-life Sister encounters in San Francisco.
Nov. 18: Nick Mitchell
Nick Mitchell is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He received, and returned, UCSC’s Chancellor’s Award for Diversity in early 2020, and has been a vocal proponent of the Cops Off Campus movement throughout and beyond the University of California system. Adrian and Laura talked to Nick about his essay “Summertime Selves” and about the intersectional layers of Nick and Laura’s shared, gossip-rich history as students working in the service industry.
Nov. 6 Election Special: Farai Chideya
Farai Chideya has covered every American presidential election since 1996. She’s the author of six books, as well as a journalist and commentator whose work has been featured on NPR, CNN, ABC News, Newsweek, FiveThirtyEight, Oxygen, and her current podcast, Our Body Politic. After the 2016 election, she became a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, blending quantitative and qualitative research on race and gender diversity in the media. Laura and Adrian talked to Farai about America’s nail-biter of a presidential election during the profound uncertainty of November 5, 2020.
Oct. 28: Imran Siddiquee
Imran Siddiquee is a filmmaker, writer and activist, whose articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Bitch and Salon. They are also an active filmmaker and organize the BlackStar Film Festival. Laura and Adrian talk with Imran about masculinity, pop culture, and race, about being from a place called Springfield and about the complexities of white feminism.
Oct. 21: Katie Hill
Katie Hill represented California’s 25th district in Congress from January to November 2019, making her its first openly bisexual member. She’s also had a hell of a year. Hill resigned after leaked photos emerged that revealed her relationship with a female campaign staffer; Hill alleges these photos were leaked to right-wing media by her abusive ex-husband. Laura and Adrian talked to Katie about queer reimaginings of feminist history, the inaccuracy of the term “revenge porn”, and her new memoir, She Will Rise.
Oct. 14: Sarah Smarsh
Sarah Smarsh is a journalist based in Kansas. Her first book was Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (2018), was a National Book Award finalist. Her new book, She Come By It Natural, deftly combines a biography of the indomitable, vexing figure of Dolly Parton with a family memoir and a story of coming of age as a feminist. Laura and Adrian talk to Sarah about feminism, commodification and the way Parton's body has been read and received. They talk about Hollywood and Pigeon Forge, about country music and growing up in the 1980s.
Oct. 7: Morgan Jerkins
Morgan Jerkins is an author, editor and essayist. Her first book, the essay collection This Will Be My Undoing, was published in 2018 and became a New York Times bestseller. Her new book, Wandering in Strange Lands, is a travelogue and a family memoir about the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to points north and west. Laura and Adrian talk to Morgan about memory and family, about travel and race, and about the responsibilities of the essayist and the reporter to their subjects.
Sept 23: TFP Special -- Departmentalize Now!
Since 1968, Black Studies departments have been established across the country, contributing to the intellectual life of the university and informing larger conversations about race beyond the academy. However, departmentalization eludes many universities, including Stanford. In this Clayman Conversations online event, our panelists will discuss how departmentalization is both a political and feminist issue, and how the university legitimates certain knowledge through departmentalization. Webinar presented as bonus podcast episode for The Feminist Present.
Sept. 9: TFP Special -- TERF Industrial Complex
The figure of the “TERF” (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) has emerged as one of the more puzzling flashpoints in recent culture wars on campus and in the media. Why have trans lives and identities become a politically potent rallying cry for people who seem not to care very much for trans people? In this conversation with scholars Marquis Bey, Grace Lavery, and Jules Gill-Peterson, we explore the outsize influence TERFs wield in the media, what their influence means for feminism, and why their position occupies a unique and troubling place in the current discourse around free speech and “cancel culture.” Webinar presented as bonus podcast episode for The Feminist Present.
August 25: TFP Special -- Debate Me!
Write anything, post anything as a woman on the internet, and they will gather: the Debate Me Bros. They are owed more arguments, further justification. They are experts, and they aren’t sure you are. In the first of our Clayman Conversations Online, journalist Nhi Le and scholar Moira Weigel will discuss online debate culture from a feminist perspective. Is the demand for free and open debate online really as neutral as it often presents itself? How are dominant power structures replicated or challenged in online debate culture? As with all Clayman Conversations, the panelists will consider dimensions of race, class, gender and sexuality in untangling this timely issue. Webinar presented as bonus podcast episode for The Feminist Present.
August 18: Laura and Adrian Unplugged
In this special, guestless Season 1 finale, Laura and Adrian look back on ten feminism-packed episodes of The Feminist Present, reflect on post-#MeToo realizations, teen feminist lightbulb moments, queer respectability politics, and much, much more. Featuring references to WAP, Ben Shapiro's beleaguered wife, and Hegel all in the same five minutes. Listen to the end for tantalizing hints about our upcoming Clayman Conversations and Season 2 guests!
August 11: Rebecca Traister
Rebecca Traister is an author and columnist, who is currently writer-at-large at New York Magazine. Her books, including All the Single Ladies (2016) and Good and Mad (2018) have become touchstones in contemporary political discourse around gender, sexuality and the long backlash. Laura and Adrian talk to Rebecca Traister about anger and its uses, about family and intergenerational fellowship in plague times, and about what it takes to stay mad, generation to generation.
August 5: Young Jean Lee
Young Jean Lee is a playwright, director and filmmaker, as well an Associate Professor in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford. Her plays include The Shipment (2009), Untitled Feminist Show (2011), and Straight White Men (2014). In 2012, Charles Isherwood called her "hands down, the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation." Laura and Adrian talk to Young Jean Lee about that sense of adventure: what it takes to scare yourself, what feminist theater looks like today, and the role of hope and pleasure in performance even in dark times.
July 29: Grace Parra
Grace Parra is a screenwriter and actress whose performing credits include The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Superstore, Master of None, and White Guy Talk Show. Until very recently, she was writing for a CBS series called Broke, and she also co-hosts the podcast Hysteria. Grace talks to Laura and Adrian about Hollywood, success and its many opposites, being grateful for missed opportunities, and the impact race and gender have on them.
Grace would like to point our listeners to her work with the Workers Defense Project https://www.workersdefense.org/, which aims to protect low-income workers in Texas as they battle COVID spikes and unbearable heat this summer.
July 22: Anthony Christian Ocampo
Anthony Christian Ocampo is a scholar and writer who focuses on race, immigration, and LGBTQ issues. He is a sociology professor at Cal Poly Pomona and a Ford Foundation Fellow. His groundbreaking book, The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino-Americans Break the Rules of Race, was called “essential reading not only for the Filipino diaspora but for anyone who cares about the mysteries of racial identity” by José Antonio Vargas. Laura and Adrian talk to Anthony about Filipinx identities, about racialization, about queerness in the academy, and about how one studies the ways in which race and gender are perceived and experienced.
July 15: Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall of You're Wrong About
Sarah Marshall is a writer currently at work on a book about the satanic panic of the 1980s. Michael Hobbes is a journalist at the Huffington Post. Since 2018, Sarah and Michael have been hosting "You're Wrong About," a podcast about true crime, moral panics, and the untruths or half-truths around crime, fame, and power that have dominated American culture and national politics over the past half century. Laura and Adrian speak with Sarah and Michael about their podcast, about taxonomies of wrongness, and about the myths by which the true crime genre has governed the way gender is experienced and politicized in the United States.
July 8: Moira Donegan
Moira Donegan is an opinion columnist for Guardian US whose work has also appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, the New Republic, and in the viral The Cut essay, “I Started The Media Men List," in which she describes her creation of (and the fallout from) the "Shitty Media Men" list that outed sexual harassers in media and journalism. Laura and Adrian talk to Moira about Jane Fonda's classic workout tapes, exercising at home, about what our new domesticity does to the male gaze, the institution of the gym and why one should mourn it, and whether there is a way to disentangle self-improvement from capitalism.
July 1: Danny Lavery
In addition to his advice-giving role as Slate’s Dear Prudence, Danny M. Lavery is a co-founder of the Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre, The Merry Spinster, and Something That May Shock and Discredit You. Danny talks to Laura and Adrian about giving advice, about respect and respectability, and above all about biological and chosen families. [NOTE: This episode contains material that may be disturbing to some listeners.]
June 24: Jia Tolentino
Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at the New Yorker whose recent work includes an exploration of youth vaping and essays on the ongoing cultural reckoning about sexual assault. Previously, she was the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. Her criticism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Grantland, the Awl, Pitchfork, The Fader, Time, and Slate. Her first book, the essay collection Trick Mirror, was published in 2019. Laura and Adrian talk to Jia about eating and cooking during a pandemic, about food as a means to create and project self-image, and about what it means to be "lucky" in the age of COVID.
June 17: Tressie McMillan Cottom
Tressie McMillan Cottom is an academic and writer whose work has been recognized nationally and internationally for the urgency and depth of her incisive critical analysis of technology, higher education, class, race and gender. McMillan Cottom’s columns have appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Dissent Magazine. She is also the author or co-editor of four books. Her most recent book, THICK: and Other Essays, is a critically acclaimed best-seller that situates Black women’s intellectual tradition at its center. Laura and Adrian speak to Tressie about the protests that engulfed the United States following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, about writing and thinking on the fly in unsettled times, and about why it all feels different this time.
June 11: Evette Dionne
In our inaugural episode, we are proud to welcome Evette Dionne to discuss her new book about Black women's fight for equality and suffrage, Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box. Known across the internet as “free Black girl,” Dionne is a Black feminist culture writer, editor, and scholar: she’s the editor-in-chief of Bitch Media and the author of another 2020 book, Fat Girls Deserve Fairytales Too: Living Hopefully On the Other Side of Skinny. Laura and Adrian speak to Evette about Black women and the battle for the ballot box, about writing and teaching erased chapters of history, and what equitable coalition building could look like now.