Brooke Lober

Email:
brooke.lober [at] berkeley.edu
Title:
Scholar-in-Residence
Affiliation:
Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Sonoma State University
Appointment Dates:
(Aug 15, 2018 – May 16, 2019)
Research Project:
Women Against Imperialism Oral History Project / When Bridges Break: Feminism, Zionism, and the Question of Alliance

When Bridges Break: Feminism, Zionism, and the Question of Alliance

The recent history of feminism, Jewishness, and Zionism as they dynamically interact provides a crucial analytical matrix for understanding the gendered and racial coordinates of politics of social movements in the U.S. and transnationally today. In my dissertation, “Conflict and Alliance in the Struggle: Feminist Anti-Imperialism, Palestine Solidarity, and the Jewish Feminist Movement of the Late 20th Century,” I gather and analyze an archive of social movement culture and knowledge production, situating the Jewish feminist movement in the context of U.S. and Israeli states as entwined racial regimes. This project, which I am revising and expanding to produce a book, offers crucial coordinates for thinking through the contemporary politics of Jewishness, Zionism, and Palestine; indeed, the debates that took place 40 years ago are revived in the overlapping spaces of feminist and progressive networks and Jewish communities today. Juxtaposing cultural texts and oral history interviews from interrelated social movements, this project elucidates three interlocking themes: the development of Jewish feminism, beginning in the mid-1970s, as an identity project that promoted anti-racism and anti-colonialism, but ambivalently engaged Israeli and Palestinian nationalist movements; the relationship between this Jewish feminist movement and other liberal and radical feminisms and related U.S. social movements; and the meaning of lesbian feminist identity politics for these feminist formations.


The Women Against Imperialism Oral History Project

This project historicizes the work of an activist collective that exemplifies both feminist coalition politics, and reinventions of subjectivity produced in social movements. Active in the Bay Area from 1981 until 1996, WAI worked within and between a diverse array of internationalist, antiracist, and feminist movements to forge connections with organizations across the decolonizing world, producing a web of relations that included activists working against U.S. state violence, for Black and Indigenous sovereignty, and in liberation struggles for Palestine, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Philippines, Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and beyond.

 

I am currently expanding this project to include two organizations that overlapped with WAI—Out of Control: Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners, and Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention (LAGAI). Together, these interviews highlight the feminist and queer politics mobilized in intimate and public space, forming a key aspect of movements for antiracist, anti-imperialist struggle in the late 20th century, even as the state increased its activity to dismantle these projects and to increase repressive forms of control.

 

This project can be explored at womenagainstimperialism.com

 

Biography
My research, teaching, and activism emphasize the study and practice of social movement cultural production in the overlap of feminism, queerness, antiracism, and anti-imperialism, with significant focus on internationalism and Palestine solidarity. I am a lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies at Sonoma State University and at California College of the Arts Department of Philosophy and Critical Theory. I have previously offered courses at San Francisco State University, Occidental College, and the University of Arizona. My writing has been published on the online forums Mondoweiss and Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, and in the scholarly journals Feminist Formations, Women’s Studies, and The Journal of Lesbian Studies (forthcoming).