Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9376-2850

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

Gender and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Cristina Alcalde

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on experiences of belonging among lesbian and queer feminist activist women in the women-only organization Isha L’Isha. As the oldest feminist organization in Israel, Isha L’Isha was established in 1983 and has roots dating back to the 1970s. I spent one year (2017-2018) engaging in participant observation and conducting 40 interviews with current and former members of the group. Using Isha L’Isha as a lens through which to examine the multilayered ways in which gendered activism shapes experiences of belonging, this project centers the experiences and narratives of four women: Talma, Sophie, Amira, and Maya.

This work centers belonging around the idea of safety at three levels: physical safety, emotional safety, and philosophical safety. I view safety through an experiential lens wherein physical and mental landscapes are dependent on each other. I argue that much of the belonging the women at Isha experience is rooted in physical safety from gendered violence. In each of the six chapters, I explore how women of differing class, race, ethnicity, and age build affective worlds through physical, emotional, and philosophical safety.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.377

Funding Information

College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Competitive Graduate Fellowship, University of Kentucky; 2018

Jewish Studies Research Award, University of Kentucky; 2017

Bonnie Jean Cox Graduate Research Award, University of Kentucky; 2016; 2017

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