The latest Literature Compass [6/4 (2009): 864–885] has a fascinating essay by Nicole Nolan Sidhu on "Love in a Cold Climate: The Future of Feminism and Gender Studies in Middle English Scholarship." Her argument, in a nutshell, is that while gender studies have increased steadily in the field of Middle English studies since the 1990s, such scholarship is not generally undertaken by those at the (US News and World Report determined) top 50 research institutions, and does not appear with frequency in top tier journals. Given the inherent importance of such work, the evident lack prestige of gender studies is deeply troubling, especially as young in the field scholars who undertake such scholarship move towards tenure.
The study is quite provocative, and well worth reading. I wish it didn't make so much of my offhand remark about a medievalist trifecta of journals way back when (at least not without bringing up the vigorous discussion that ensued: I was not making an ex cathedra pronouncement, mainly because I don't have a cathedra to sit upon). Highlight for me: the outline of the careers of Holly Crocker and Tison Pugh as scholars engaged in extremely important gender studies projects without sufficient institutional (in the large sense) support.
While I do wonder if much gender studies work hasn't become less visible simply because it is no longer named or called out (i.e. some of the topics that are being discussed right now really can't be analyzed without feminism, but feminism might not be a keyword that is called out in the work), Sidhu's essay, together with Liz Scala's recent essay on gender and historicism, suggests that a gulf exists between how much the field says it values feminism, gender studies, and queer theory, not enough of it is being published in the most visible journals and by scholars at elite universities.