The Feminist Shelf, a Transnational Project 1984–1993
Chapter 4 names the practice of the feminist shelf, a new term to describe how bookwomen created new reading and relational practices through naming shelf sections, narrating book lists, contextualizing events, and using this reading practice to differently understand each other and hold each other accountable. The chapter traces conversations around documents central to significant moments in this work including a bookstore map of New Words in Cambridge and the groundbreaking Women of Colour Bibliography at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. Bookwomen used transnational relationships to hone their ethics for the feminist shelf around core issues including the cultural genocide at stake when white women authors appropriate Indigenous women’s voice and story. Bibliographies and shelf sections created by women of color at major feminist bookstores generated transformations inside and outside the bookstores that demonstrate how significantly bookwomen shaped feminist reading and alliance practices to create an ethic of feminist love.