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Dangerous Ideas

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Dangerous Ideas

Women’s Liberation – Women’s Studies – Around the World

by Susan Magarey

$44.00 | 2014 | Paperback | 978-1-922064-94-3 | 322 pp 

FREE | 2014 | Ebook (PDF) | 
978-1-922064-95-0 | 322 pp


Paperback edition also available at Imprints Booksellers, 107 Hindley Street, Adelaide

Dangerous Ideas explores sex and love, politics and performance, joy and anguish in a collection of essays focused on the history and politics of the Women’s Liberation Movement and one of its offshoots, Women’s Studies, in Australia and around the world.

These are serious matters: they are about tectonic changes in people’s lives and ideas in the late twentieth century, too little remembered or understood any longer. ‘Feminism’, this book suggests, ‘is always multiple and various, fluid and changing, defying efforts at definition, characterisation, periodisation’. Nevertheless, Dangerous Ideas tackles some hard questions. How did Women’s Liberation begin? What held this transformative movement together? Would it bring about the death of the family? Was it reorganising the labour market? Revolutionising human reproduction? How could Women’s Studies exist in patriarchal universities? Could feminism change the paradigms governing the world of learning? In the United States? In Russia? In the People’s Republic of China?

It is great fun, too. This book tells of Hobart’s hilarious Feminist Food Guide; of an outburst of creative energies among feminists – women on top, behaving badly; of dreams and desires for an entirely different future. And, always unorthodox: it finds hope and cheer in a history of the tampon.


'… one of the pleasures of reading Dangerous Ideas is to be reminded of the wit and laughter of feminism; that activism is a form of cultural as well as political expression and that subversive creativity and collaboration are central to devising forms of resistance and imagining alternative futures.'

Catherine Kevin,
Australian Historical Studies
, 48, 2017, pages 139-140.


'Ranging from IVF technology to sisterhood — and the intersectionality of this — to utopian futures and seminal essay "The Tampon", Magarey's book is a key resource for people looking to learn how Women's Liberation emerged in Australia.'

Ilona Wallace, 
The Adelaide Review, May 2015, page 7.

Read full review here.


'An important work that will make a vital contribution to the history of Women’s Liberation and Women’s Studies.'

Professor Lyndall Ryan, The University of Newcastle, 
Founder of the Gender and Women's Studies Association.

'The insights are priceless.'

Professor Judith Gill, The University of South Australia.

'Since the invigorating days of the 1970s, it’s surprising how few people have any sense of the history of the Women’s Liberation Movement and Women’s Studies in Australia. Susan Magarey's Dangerous Ideas is a timely memoir, drawing from her rich experience, enabling us to better protect and preserve our most important recent histories. We thank her for her invaluable contribution to our collective memory.'

Professor Kim Rubenstein, Australian National University, 
Inaugural Director of the ANU Gender Institute.

'Dangerous Ideas maps the history and politics of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia and beyond. Resisting narratives of causality and teleological progress and refusing a nostalgia for times past or times lost, Magarey plots a personal and a political history of hopes and dreams for an entirely re-ordered world. She charts not only the hopes of the Women’s Movement, but also the emergence and institutionalisation of Women’s Studies, and beyond that, the challenges contemporary feminism raises to systems of global governance. In taking on this history, Dangerous Ideas boldly confronts the huge sets of socio-economic changes in play from the 1970s onwards in which feminism is necessarily entangled. Dangerous Ideas is not only an important record of the power of the Women’s Movement, but also a personal memoir of Susan Magarey’s involvement in this movement.'

Lisa Adkins, University of Newcastle
Co Editor-in-Chief, Australian Feminist Studies.

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