Farrell, Amy Erdman 1963-

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Farrell, Amy Erdman 1963-

PERSONAL:

Born September 25, 1963, in Cleveland, OH; daughter of James Kirby and Lois Ann Farrell; married John Douglas Bloom, September 3, 1988; children: Nicholas, Catherine. Education: Ohio University, B.A., 1985; University of Minnesota, M.A., 1988, Ph.D., 1991.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Women's Studies, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, assistant professor, coordinator, 1991-98, associate professor of American studies and coordinator of women's studies, 1998, department chair, 2004—. Visiting fellow, lecturer, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 1999-2000.

MEMBER:

National Women's Studies Association, American Studies Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Dickinson Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2005-06.

WRITINGS:

Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS:

In Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism, Amy Erdman Farrell analyzes the successes and struggles of Ms. magazine, which first appeared in 1972. A feminist magazine that aimed to compete with more traditional women's publications, which generally focus on fashion, beauty, and family, Ms. often struggled to balance its feminist stance with commercial viability. Readers often objected, for example, when the magazine ran ads that some of its readers found demeaning. By the early 1990s Ms. had changed ownership and, supported by private funding, shifted to an ad-free format.

According to National Women's Studies Association Journal contributor Catherine Mitchell, Yours in Sisterhood focuses on two basic questions: "Why did Ms. die as a popular magazine? And secondarily: Is it possible for a feminist publication to survive as a large-circulation periodical with its revenue based in advertising?" As Mitchell explained, Farrell shows that middle-class feminism in the late 1970s and early 1980s became increasingly focused on workplace success and drew away from the more radical orientation of intellectual feminists. When this split occurred, Ms. lost much of its readership and became a magazine that appealed mostly to elitists. Despite the failure of Ms. to keep a wider readership, Farrell argues, commercial publishing remains an important venue for feminist ideas.

Reviewers appreciated Yours in Sisterhood as a thoroughly researched and well-argued work. A contributor to Publishers Weekly praised the book for its "strong critical approach" and "sharp focus," and Elizabeth Rose, writing in the Michigan Historical Review, called the book "a fascinating, well-written account of the tensions between commercial culture and feminism."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1998, Mary Carroll, review of Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism, p. 1927.

Journal of Women's History, autumn, 2000, Kristin Knox, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 237.

Library Journal, September 1, 1998, Judy Solberg, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 192.

Michigan Historical Review, fall, 1999, Elizabeth Rose, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 132.

National Women's Studies Association Journal, spring, 2001, Catherine Mitchell, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 193.

Publishers Weekly, July 20, 1998, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 197.

Women and Language, fall, 1999; spring, 2001, review of Yours in Sisterhood, p. 61.

ONLINE

Dickinson College Web site,http://www.dickinson.edu/ (March 30, 2007), "Women's Studies Department."

Rain Taxi,http://www.raintaxi.com/ (winter, 1998), review of Yours in Sisterhood.

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