Pomona Professors’ Book Named an Outstanding Academic Title

Professors Kyla Tompkins and Aimee Bahng, along with the cover of the book Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies

A book edited by two Pomona professors, Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies, was named on December 1 as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, the premier review journal for academic titles. The journal is a publication of the American Library Association (ALA) through its Association of College & Research Libraries. Kyla Wazana Tompkins, professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies, was managing editor and Aimee Bahng, associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, was a member of the editorial collective. Both Bahng and Tompkins also contributed entries.

The book includes essays on 70 keywords important in understanding feminist and queer studies today. “We are following in the steps of other Keywords volumes in focusing on terms that reflect the current state of conversation in the field of gender and sexuality studies,” says Tompkins. “The entries examine debates and disagreements in the field so that students and teachers have a text that can deepen their understanding of the field.”

Nearly 80 scholars from across the U.S. contributed to the volume, which was supported by Pomona College. The group included activists as well as both junior and senior scholars in various disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The editorial process was modeled on feminist collectives during the 1970s and 1980s that created some of the important texts in feminist political writing, says Tompkins.

The ALA bases the Outstanding Academic Titles designation on criteria including overall excellence, originality, value to undergraduate students and relative importance in the field. As a work that is noted as essential, it is recommended for inclusion in most libraries across the country.

“We hoped to write a book that would be used in introductory classes at every level but that would also be bought by people who are interested in feminist studies and in feminism itself,” Tompkins says. “We are especially honored because of the conscious effort we made to choose authors who center women of color feminism and queer of color orientations. In many ways the honor also goes to the contributors.”