Here’s the tentative plan for the class, in draft form.  It’s a DRAFT because… I’m still getting feedback from my colleagues, and I’m awaiting any feedback from you.


Feminist Business Histories Fall ’23
Two Presentations
One Case Study

This course has three sessions – two overview conversations and one case study – to introduce participants to key challenges, insights, and accomplishments of feminist businesses in recent US history. 

  • Class One: Introduction and Framing:   The first session introduces feminist businesses as concept and practice. We’ll define what feminist businesses are, compare them to conventional differences, and survey when and where feminist businesses have flourished.
  • Class Two: Deep Dive Case Study:  The second session uses one uniquely feminist business movement – the feminist bookstore – to dive more deeply into how feminist businesses combined their financial goals and their social justice and change goals.
  • Class Three: Insights and Implications:  The third and final session summarizes critical insights from feminist business histories and explores how these lessons relate to current feminist businesses.
  • Plus… a Welcome Session: Optional meeting on August 29th for registered participants and folks interested in the class to discuss what to expect and get organized. 


Course Materials and Preparation:

For Class One and Class Three, I’ll do the bulk of the work so you don’t have to.  

I’ll have a full presentation (with slides) to cover how we understand what a feminist business is and what we should learn from business histories. You’ll get a set of readings and preparation questions that you can review as deeply as you want to – you’ll still get a lot out of these classes if you do no reading at all. And, if you do dive into the pdfs, you’ll be able to ask some great questions.  Were you to do “all the reading” for Class One and Class Three, it would total between two and three hours of reading. 

For Class Two, we’ll divide the reading amongst ourselves to lighten the load.

You’ll only be asked to read about 80 pages (which should take the average reader two hours). I will summarize key points in the book so that we all have a full foundation of this particular history. And, each participant will have their personal, specific insights and questions to contribute based on the section they choose to read. You’ll get something from the class if you don’t read any of the book. You’ll get a lot from the class if you read one section, and you’ll get a whole lot from the class if you decide to read the whole book.

For the Introduction (Class One) and Insights (Class Three) discussions, participants will receive two sets of downloadable pdfs, along with framing questions and tips on where to focus their reading.  

For the Case Study (Class Two), participants will purchase a copy of The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian anti-racism and feminist accountability, Kristen Hogan (2016), 220 pgs.  Hogan’s book touches on just about every possible feminist business issue, so it offers a full example of the challenges these businesses faced. Participants will each choose one section of the book (about 80 pages) to read and represent in class discussion.  


Class One:   Introduction to Feminist Business Histories
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern 

Focus: What are we looking at, what are we looking for, and why?
Readings:   Davis Chapter 4, Gill introduction, Enke chapter
                       Harquail: Defining FemBiz, Biz Identity Framework, List of Queries


Class Two: Case Study,  The Feminist Bookstore Movement
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern 

Focus: How did feminist booksellers manage the dynamics of financial sustainability and social change activism, personally and organizationally?
Reading:    The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian anti-racism and feminist accountability, K. Hogan, Duke University Press, (2016).


Class Three:  Insights and legacies from Feminist Business Histories
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern 

Focus:       What have we learned from these histories? What did most of these businesses face? What does this tell today’s feminist businesses about what to pay attention to? What next should we try to learn?



PLUS….  In addition to our three class sessions, we’ll also have an Info (and Welcome) Session. 

Think: First day of school – when you find your desk, meet your classmates, and get your textbook – except #feminist.  

Welcome Session: Reviewing plans, confirming goals
Tuesday, August 29, 4-5 pm Eastern and 8-9 pm Eastern

Focus: In this one-hour session, registered participants and folks interested in the class will come together to discuss what to expect and get organized. 

We’ll meet each other, review plans for each class, show folks where to get the readings, confirm dates and times, and make any adjustments. We will also discuss your goals for the class. No need to fumble with pdfs, google drives, and amazon prime, and no need to feel anxious about whether you’re prepared for what’s to come.  After this intro session, you will have everything you need to be ready for our first full class. 


Tuition:   Full tuition $200 (3 sessions, 2 hours each)
                Discounted tuition for participants in our 3/2023 pilot class who want another go at the material: $50     

Materials: The Feminist Bookstore Movement book is available online for purchase, in hard copy or digital copy, from $16-24 USD. (I hope folks will purchase a new copy of the book so that some $ goes to Kristen Hogan, the author. Also, with a new copy there’s plenty of white space for your own notes and highlights!)  Participants will receive links to a google drive with pdfs of book chapters and essays for Class One and Three.


A Note regarding Scope and Content:

  •  We will focus on feminist business histories from the USA, with some examples from Canada and Britain.  The historical readings will focus on the years between 1962 – 1990, and the presentations will include examples from 1910 to 2023. 
  • We will discuss how racism, homophobia, and class issues were addressed by feminist businesses and feminist business people. 


Proposed Schedule

Three Tuesday evenings, 7:00-9:00 EASTERN. We can modify times and dates if folks agree. 


0 Tues, Aug 29,
4:00- 5:00 ET
8:00-9:00 ET
Welcome Session: Getting Organized
1 Tues, Sept 12, 8:00-9:00 ET Class One: Intro to Feminist Business Histories
2 Tues, Sept 25, 8:00-9:00 ET Class Two: The Feminist Bookstore Movement
3 Tues, Oct 10, 8:00-9:00 ET Class Three: Conclusions, Insights, and Legacies