Dominant scholarly publishing models, reliant on expensive paywalls, remain preferential throughout higher education’s landscape. This essay engages paywall publishing from a feminist communicative perspective by asking, how can publishing extend or prohibit feminist movements? Or, as Nancy Fraser (2013) asks, “which modes of feminist theorizing should be incorporated into the new political imaginaries now being invented by new generations” (2)? With these questions in mind, we integrate feminist epistemologies into publishing practices to argue that open access is integral to the feminist movement. The argument unfolds in three parts: first, we conduct a feminist criticism of paywall publishing by arguing that status quo practices constitute a dominant public based on onto-epistemological foundations of exclusion that systematically subordinate potentially liberatory knowledge. Second, we consider open access as a feminist re-tooling that creates new political imaginaries. In this section, we place open access in conversation with bell hooks’s conception of literacy and Fraser’s counterpublic theory. We conclude by considering how to live feminist lives with these criticisms and re-toolings in mind.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.