On October 8th, 2020, the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies officially launched during an online webinar, featuring comments by the handbook editors, selected contributing authors, and a live Q&A with audience members.
Lead handbook editor Chris Bobel kicked off the launch with an overview of the Handbook’s key features, which include:
- 1,000+ pages,
- 72 chapters,
- contributing authors from over 30 countries, and
- 456,000 open access downloads to date.
Co-editors Breanne Fahs, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Katie-Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, and Inga Winkler joined Bobel in the introduction, sharing additional thoughts on the construction of the handbook – from chapter creation to the variety of fields and disciplines from which menstruation studies is explored. Winkler noted, “Menstrual studies is a very rich and diverse field, but what holds all these chapters together is that they show that menstruation matters.”
The live Q&A session answered questions from zoom participants, primarily regarding the handbook’s accessibility and potential to create change around the conversation on menstruation.
In a toast to all those who contributed to the handbook, the editors asked for a call to action from handbook contributors. Some of these include:
In our community, our goal is early intervention and access to treatment and I believe that starts with quality menstrual health education. — Heather Guidone
I want to inspire the young graduate, post-graduate, or PhD students to take more studies on menstruation, all types of menstruation, and diverse contexts of menstruation. — M. Sivakami
I would like to see how Dalit men view menstruation in the context of patriarchy. — Deepthi Sumukar
We need more menstrual troublemaking, menstrual humor, and menstrual art… politicization of menstruation, activism, bleeding, fun, craziness. Anything that pushes back against having to have menstruation contained. — Breanne Fahs
Well, we topple the patriarchy, that’s the only logical next step. — Milena Bacalija Perianes
Bobel concluded the event with inspiring words to all:
This brings us to the end of our launch, but the beginning of a new era in menstrual health scholarship.
No book can do it all. Our aim here was to assemble a snapshot of the state of the literature that answers as many questions as it raises. As you read, we challenge you to imagine the second edition of the Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies and ask yourselves: what does it need? What voices? What topics? What conceptual frameworks? What disciplinary perspectives are necessary to enrich this subfield of study and site of social change? Where will we go from here? How can we de-center the English language? How can we de-center the West? How can we de-center the academy as the privileged sites of knowledge?
This is the work before us.
The Handbook team would like to extend special thanks to all of the webinar co-sponsors, including: the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Center for the Study of Social Difference, The Case for Her, and the UN Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (soon to be the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund).