Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller is Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, coeditor of
Take Back the Night
This chapter is a study of feminist activism nominally designed to “take back the night” as a means to augment women's safety and community. The chapter argues that Take Back the Night protests embrace the significance of night and perform an opposition to Enlightenment norms and institutions—as well as representation generally—as they target the law's inadequate protection of women from men. Rather than fully rejecting Enlightenment legal norms, this activism asserts a new property relationship: a desire to “take back” and possess what has been stolen, metaphorized as the night. In tracing the history of women's relationship to property in the West, the chapter explores what is unique about this property in night and what it portends for women's safety. This analysis is used to explore the contemporary relevance of feminist theory expounded by Andrea Dworkin, an early proponent for Take Back the Night activism.