Femspec contact info:

Femspec Journal
1610 Rydalmount Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Contact Email:
Letters to the editor — Batya Weinbaum
Comments to the web master — Femspec Webmaster

About Us

What is Femspec all about?

Femspec, a peer-reviewed journal, is interested in developing a community of like-minded people engaged in speculating, theorizing, creating and questioning gender across the boundaries, including issues of sexual orientation. We emphasize interdisciplinary approaches, and encourage work on teaching as well as literary, cultural criticism and creative material. We hope this approach to pedagogy will bring in work from a wider area of disciplines. We are interested in a variety of feminisms and aim to be inclusive of ethnic and cultural diversity in an internationalist perspective. We are committed to publishing experimental feminist prose and poetic works which experiment across media. Our impetus came from the collectively perceived lack of attention to SF, fantasy, magical realism and supernatural works in feminist journals and audiences; the lack of consistently evolving developed levels of feminism in SF criticism; and the inadequacy of magical realism publishing outlets in the U.S.

A brief history of our organization

The editorial group grew out of a concern of the dominance of realism in journals that published feminist literary criticism or creative works. A group of us decided to found our own journal, the first issue of which appeared in September 1999; in the process of which, our organization grew. Our impetus came from the collectively perceived lack of attention to science fiction, fantasy, magical realism and supernatural works in feminist journals and audiences; the lack of consistently developed levels of feminism in science fiction criticism; and the inadequacy of magical realist publishing outlets and forums in the United States. The first issue was well-received. Since then, the founding editor-in-chief, Batya Weinbaum, was offered a position teaching Multicultural Literature at Cleveland State University, where the journal was housed for five years. Subsequently she went on to take other positions at Pacifica Graduate Institute, East Carolina University, and SUNY-Empire State College-Center for Distance Learning, where she has been teaching since 2007.

How our organization encourages diverse groups of women to work together

The journal has a multicultural focus, with theme issues on speculative works by African American women, Native American women's speculative art and writing, speculative writing by Jewish women, and a girls issue as well as an issue on SF film and reproductive technology. We have collected and printed articles on Asian American women's writing, Latina magical realism, and Jewish women's magical realism. We have also offered original translations of non-real writings of Mexican and Israeli women, and exclusive interviews with writers and artists from Indonesia, Mexico, Israel and Portugal.

The editing group is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and age, including emeritus scholars, SF fans, creative writers and critics in various fields at an array of universities in the US and internationally. We advertise through MELUS, the Journal of the Society of Multiethnic Literature of the United States; Journal of Research on Mothering; Meridians; SF Studies; Extrapolation; Foundation; and other venues to attract diverse groups of women who otherwise would not come into contact with each other.

The first issue of our bi-annual publication included the writings of two African Americans, and we have a regular girls' feature where we publish writings about girls' literature or writing by girls. Girls' art also appeared in the first issue. We also have salons and readings at bookstores, and at conferences such as National Women's Studies, Popular/American Culture, and International Association for Fantasy in the Arts. On particular issues, such as the Native issue, we work with women from special constituencies such as Rachael Whitehawk Day of the North American Cultural Center.

The current activities of our organization

We are currently involved in a subscription sales campaign to reach the goal of 100 libraries in the interest of getting picked up by a university publisher to expand the distribution of our work. We process manuscripts on a regular basis, having accepted about 5%, with an additional 15% after revision. We arrange postings on listservs, distribution of flyers and brochures at conferences, review of the issue in library and small press journals, production and sales of promotional products such as posters and mugs, sessions at national conferences, bookstore readings, exchange ads with other publications and journals, manuscript review, and a promotional webpage. We review books and media received, conduct a readers' forum, excerpt historical documents, conduct cover art competition, and offer on campus apprentice/internships for women and other students who volunteer to work on the project.

How our organization is structured

The founding editor and editor-in-chief work with an Advisory Board with artists and scholars such as Suzy Charnas and Pamela Sargeant. In addition, contributing editors Marleen Barr, Samuel Delany, and Darko Suvin are quite active as well as an editorial board of people who primarily act as reviewers, that currently stands at about ten. In addition, there are special editors in charge of developing their own issues, who may or may not be on the Board.

How policy and decisions are made

Decisions are made through discussion on our editorial listserv, meet-ups at conferences,  phone and SKYPE conferences with the managing editor, associates and production team members. 

How we measure the success of our organization

Success of Femspec is gauged as follows: By the positive response of people involved over the first years; by the expressed positive experience of women and minority students who have volunteered, interned or worked on the journal and ask for extended participation for more credit or more hours in subsequent semesters; by the success in fundraising from other universities and individuals who have contributed to the journal including University of Southern California, University of Texas at Dallas, Oakland University, State University of New York at Stonybrook; by the increased number of submissions; by the willingness of esteemed scholars to give us their work; by the willingness of authors and publishers to send us review copies; by authors’ willingness to revise and resubmit according to our production schedule; by the volunteered time of scholars even in their sabbatical year to work on fundraising and grants; by the interest of local bookstores in hosting events; by the positive media coverage we got, for example, in the Cleveland paper the Plain Dealer, The Free Times, Magazines for Libraries, and in campus newspapers such as On Campus, The Vindicator, and The Cleveland Stater; and by some of the following responses:

“The first issue of FEMSPEC … exceeded my expectations! It is gorgeous and excellent.”
—Oregon Writer
“A striking first issue of an exciting new journal.”
—Karen Schneider, Western Kentucky Univ.
—John Crawford, West End Press
“What an artifact.”
—Carol Stevens, Society for Utopian Studies
“An amazing thing here.”
—Marleen S. Barr, Sci-fi Critic
“I absolutely LOVE it!!!”
—Patricia Melzer, Clark University
“Refreshing-finally making a place in academia for such things.”
—Theresa Crater, Metro. State College of Denver
“The issue looks beautiful!”
—Christina Springer, Phila. Performance Poet