By Layli Maparyan for WOMEN = BOOKS
Posted on September 23, 2013
As the new executive director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, the parent organization of Women’s Review of Books (WRB) I am proud to congratulate WRB on the reintroduction of its blog, WOMEN=BOOKS. WRB is a strong historical pillar of WCW’s identity and social mission, and as WCW thinks ahead to its half-century mark, now a decade away, I imagine with great excitement how WRB will travel that journey as part of this collective movement.
For thirty years—that’s longer than a generation—WRB has been the go-to place for thoughtful, thought-provoking, critical treatment of the most important books by women. As such, WRB has modeled activist scholarship and scholarly activism by filling a cultural gap created and maintained by the marginalization of women and ongoing gender inequities. In so doing, WRB has played an indispensible role in US cultural and political change, advancing feminist analysis and contributing to gender equality in the intellectual sphere, what we now call “the knowledge economy.”
As WRB looks ahead toward the next thirty years, transition into the electronic realm is inevitable, and this blog is our inaugural dip into those waters. Thanks to the way our world has been transformed by electronic and social media, WRB can now become an interactive publication that brings writers and readers together in new and exciting, real-time ways. If you have ever read a book review and wished that you could talk to the book author, for example, or peer inside the reviewer’s thought process—now’s your chance. WOMEN=BOOKS will feature posts by reviewers who move off the page and into conversation with you and a worldwide web of similarly interested others.
I hope you will join me in welcoming WRB’s blog, WOMEN=BOOKS, by celebrating with your participation!
Layli Maparyan, PhD, is the Katherine Stone Kaufman ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women. Best known for her scholarship in the area of womanism, Dr. Maparyan edited (as Layli Phillips) The Womanist Reader (2006), which documents the first quarter century of womanist scholarship from an interdisciplinary perspective and is the first volume to treat womanism “on its own.” Her most recent book is The Womanist Idea (2012), a comprehensive treatment of womanist worldview and activist methodology. Maparyan has also published significantly in the areas of adolescent development, social identities, black LGBTQ studies, hiphop studies, and history of psychology. Supported by a Fulbright Specialist Award in 2010, she worked with the University of Liberia in West Africa to assist with the development of its inaugural Gender Studies Program using an “applied womanism” framework.