Breanne Fahs is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women's sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She has a B.A. in women's studies/gender studies and psychology from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in women's studies and clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. She has published widely in feminist, social science, and humanities journals and has authored five books: Performing Sex (SUNY Press, 2011), an analysis of the paradoxes of women's "sexual liberation," Valerie Solanas (Feminist Press, 2014), a biography of author/would-be assassin Valerie Solanas, Out for Blood (SUNY Press, 2016), a book of essays on menstrual activism and resistance, Firebrand Feminism (University of Washington Press, 2018), a book about radical feminist histories and their links to contemporary problems of sex, gender, and justice, and Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge (Routledge, 2019), a book of her essays about women's sexuality in the chaotic and "mad" context of contemporary gender relations. She has also co-edited two volumes: The Moral Panics of Sexuality (Palgrave, 2013), a collection that examines cultural anxieties of "scary sex," and Transforming Contagion (Rutgers University Press, 2018), a collection about the dangers and subversive potential of contagion. Her most recent book is Burn it Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution, a collection of historical and contemporary feminist manifestos (Verso). Her next book is Bodies in Revolt, essays about the volatile politics of body hair. She is the founder and director of the Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group at Arizona State University, and she also works as a clinical psychologist in private practice where she specializes in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery.
Burn It Down! is now published!
Get it now from Verso!
Read the review in the New York Times here!
Read an excerpt of the book here at Public Books or here at Hunger
Interview with Soraya Chemaly about Women's Anger at Literary Hub (click here)
Podcast of This is Hell! "The Power of the Feminist Manifesto"
Interview conversation with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on Burn it Down! for Literary Hub's Rekindled series
Interview with Eric Cervini on Quarantini, "From Contagion to Revolution"
Interview with Jessa Crispin on Public Intellectual: "The Feminist Response to Coronavirus"
Blog post about "Life Under COVID-19" for Verso Books Blog
Interview with James Tracy on Books to the Barricades (Howard Zinn Book Festival)
New Books Network interview with Rebekah Buchanan
Whitechapel Gallery Event, Reading/Conversation with Lola Olufemi (click here)
Some reviews of Burn it Down!:
"An invaluable reminder of feminism's radical and revolutionary visions. It's also, to those least inclined to read it but most in need of doing so, a powerful threat."--Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her
“This exhilarating work of love and scholarship is a radiant gift to all who value liberation and justice. Reading it filled me with hope, inspiration and an electric connection to the angry, dissatisfied comrades who have come before me - as well my outraged contemporaries. A must-read, an antidote to powerlessness, a literary companion for the ages.”--Michelle Tea, author of How to Grow Up
“In an age of platitudes and etsy-fied feminist empowerment products, Breanne Fahs gives us the uncompromising, the unruly, the ungovernable, the unpalatable. This book is a fiery reminder that the world does not change, we change the world.” -- Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project
"This book is a true feminism buffet, no matter what angle is of interest to you. This is 500 pages of solid gold...Her selections showcase an editorial instinct that aims for the truly exhaustive. No feminist who picks up this book is going to feel unheard or left out based on the comprehensive material included in it."--Megan Volpert, Pop Matters. Full review here.
"This text is important historically and as a handbook for understanding and organizing today. Fahs has put together a collection that runs from the immediate and practical to the futuristic and abstract. In doing so, she reminds us that radical feminism is both utopian vision and practical argument."--Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch. Full review here.
"Learned and impassioned ... irreverent, scabrous and enraged, these manifestos also happen to be full of contradictions, written in the heat of the moment and without a cool eye to posterity. But it’s this rough-hewn immediacy that makes some of them so bracing to read, especially now. At a time when public life has dissolved into self-quarantine, when the ability to concentrate seems like a vestige from another era, there’s something to be said for tracts that don’t just lay claim to your attention but also seize it.”--Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times. Full review here.
“But kill feminism a thousand times, and it will rise a thousand more…This sentiment—that your feminism is only as good as the way it treats the most vulnerable—comes up again and again across the collection. Sex workers compare their struggle to that of care workers. Trans activists compare the control they want over their bodies to the control demanded by abortion activists. Single women fight for the right of women in couples to have their loneliness acknowledged…Sometimes no one listens if you ask nicely. If feminism is condemned to come in waves, with each generation having to relearn what was achieved in the last, then forgetting also brings unexpected alliances.”—Joanna Biggs, London Review of Books. Full review here.
"This powerful and inspiring collection belongs on the bedside tables of women in America who feel diminished or discouraged by the profound insult of Trump’s election. In the wee hours of November 9, 2016, the American electorate delivered an unforgettable kick in the teeth to women by electing a man who had campaigned on open misogyny and recorded himself on an open mike bragging about having sexually assaulted women. The primary wound from his election was to women, a fact we tend to forget in the awful what-came-after—Islamophobic travel bans, children in cages, rising Nazis, etc. This anthology is a well-aimed kick in return."--Nina Burleigh, Air Mail. Full review here.
Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge is now released! Check it out here.
Covering a wide variety of subjects and points of inquiry on women's sexuality, from genital anxieties about pubic hair to constructions of the body in the therapy room, this book offers a ground-breaking examination of women, sex, and madness, drawing from psychology, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies. Breanne Fahs argues that women’s sexuality embodies a permanent state of tension between cultural impulses of destruction and selfishness contrasted with the fundamental possibilities of subversiveness and joy. Emphasizing cultural, social, and personal narratives about sexuality, Fahs asks readers to imagine sex, bodies, and madness as intertwined, and to see these narratives as fluid, contested, and changing. With topics as diverse as anarchist visions of sexual freedom, sexualized emotion work, lesbian haunted houses, and the insidious workings of capitalism, Fahs conceptualizes sexuality as a force of regressive moral panics and profound inequalities―deployed in both blatant and more subtle ways onto the body―while also finding hope and resistance in the possibilities of sexuality.
Firebrand Feminism is available for purchase! To order on Amazon, check out this link.
Reviews of the book:
"At a time when feminism would prefer to forget about its radical past, Breanne Fahs does the hard work of dragging it back out from the shadows. Her writing remembers forgotten and neglected women, and their ideas for a wild transformation of society, and it is increasingly vital. Firebrand Feminism is no nostalgia tour, it is a white-hot reminder that we can and should and will change the world. "―Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project
"Makes the argument that contemporary feminism needs a reinfusion of the 'firebrand feminism' epitomized by these women and early radical feminism."―Jane Caputi, author of Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power, and Popular Culture
"Just the book I've been looking for to supplement the manifestos, tracts, and other writings produced during the heyday of the Women's Liberation Movement."―Eileen Boris, professor of feminist studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Firebrand Feminism is a beacon for our troubled times. Fahs situates the history of radical feminism in the lived experiences of its foremothers, weaving lively personal accounts with sharp feminist analysis of the place of 'radical' inside past, present, and future feminisms. Wrestling with vexed issues, such as differences among women, Fahs presents a nuanced portrait of a movement whose most enduring legacies - roots and rage - offer a messy but hopeful toolkit."--Monica J. Casper, professor of gender and women's studies, University of Arizona
Now published: Transforming Contagion: Risky Contacts Among Bodies, Disciplines, and Nations. Buy your copy on Amazon here.
Praise for Transforming Contagion:
“This is an extraordinary book that radically rethinks and expands our understanding of contagion. Crossing historical, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, Transforming Contagion brings a feminist, queer and new materialist perspective that insists on the possibilities as well as the risks and anxieties of contagion.”--Rosalind Gill, author of New Femininities
"Traversing the humanities and social sciences, the essays in Transforming Contagion offer a fertile prism for exploring how contagion--the spread of beliefs, emotions, texts, practices, people, and pathogens across communities and culture--has been represented, experienced, addressed, and theorized across disciplines and historical periods. This volume establishes contagion as a central keyword for studying not only biomedical but also cultural, psychological, and political forms of connection, communication, and collective action.”--David Zimmerman, author of Panic!
Hot off the press:
Podcast Interview on The Done Thing with Elsa Silberstein.
New article in Signs on making menstrual activism more radical
Fat and furious! (commentary piece)
Humor in radical feminist work?
Doing critical sexuality studies work (with Sara McClelland and Rebecca Plante)
Menstrual pain and queer/crip theory (with Ela Przybylo)
Sexuality gap in protest behavior (with Eric Swank)