Hot Off the Presses!

New book releases!

  • The Global Biopolitics of the IUD: How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women's Bodies
    Chikako Takeshita
    The MIT Press

    Book jacket: The Global Biopolitics of the IUDThe intrauterine device (IUD) is used by 150 million women around the world. It is the second most prevalent method of female fertility control in the global South and the third most prevalent in the global North. Over its five decades of use, the IUD has been viewed both as a means for women's reproductive autonomy and as coercive tool of state-imposed population control, as a convenient form of birth control on a par with the pill and as a threat to women's health. In this book, Chikako Takeshita investigates the development, marketing, and use of the IUD since the 1960s. She offers a biography of a multifaceted technological object through a feminist science studies lens, tracing the transformations of the scientific discourse around it over time and across different geographies.

    Takeshita describes how developers of the IUD adapted to different social interests in their research and how changing assumptions about race, class, and female sexuality often guided scientific inquiries. The IUD, she argues, became a "politically versatile technology," adaptable to both feminist and nonfeminist reproductive politics because of researchers' attempts to maintain the device's suitability for women in both the developing and the developed world. Takeshita traces the evolution of scientists' concerns, from contraceptive efficacy and product safety to the politics of abortion and describes the most recent, hormone-releasing, menstruation-suppressing iteration of the IUD. Examining fifty years of IUD development and use, Takeshita finds a microcosm of the global political economy of women's bodies, health, and sexuality in the history of this contraceptive device.

    About the Author

    Chikako Takeshita is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

    (Publisher's Book Synopsis)

  • The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice
    M. G. Lord
    Walker & Company

    From the brilliant cultural historian M. G. Lord, a fascinating examination of the unexpected feminist content in Elizabeth Taylor's iconic roles.
     
    Book jacket: The Accidental FeministCountless books have chronicled the sensational life of Elizabeth Taylor, but rarely has her career been examined from the point of view of her on-screen persona. And that persona, argues M. G. Lord, in its most memorable outings has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas.
     
    In her breakout film, National Velvet (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination: Forbidden to ride her beloved horse in an important race because she is a girl, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, A Place in the Sun (1951), is essentially an abortion-rights movie—a cautionary tale from a world before women had ready access to birth control. In Butterfield 8 (1960), for which she won an Oscar, Taylor's character isn't censured because she's a prostitute, but because she chooses the men with whom she sleeps—she controls her sexuality. Even the classic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's career and children. Other of Taylor's films and Broadway performances explore similar themes.
     
    The legendary actress lived her life defiantly in public—undermining postwar reactionary sex roles; helping directors thwart the Hollywood Production Code, which restricted film content from 1934 to 1967; and as a member of the vanguard of fund-raising for AIDS research in the 1980s, which was entirely consistent with her championing the right of people to love whomever they love, regardless of gender. Yet her powerful feminist impact was hidden in plain sight. Daring in conception, and drawing upon unpublished letters and scripts as well as interviews with Kate Burton, Gore Vidal, Robert Forster, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Smith, and others, The Accidental Feminist will surprise Taylor and film fans alike with its originality—and add a startling dimension to the star's enduring mystique.

     (Publisher's Book Synopsis)

  • Writing the Revolution
    Michele Landsberg
    Second Story Press

    Book jacket: Writing the Revolution One of the most respected voices in Canadian feminism, two-time National Newspaper Award-winning journalist Michele Landsberg has engaged with the second wave of the women’s movement more than any other writer in the country. Her opinions, always careful and sometimes controversial, have mattered to women’s lives.

     
    For 25 year, between 1978 and 2005, Michele wrote a highly influential column in The Toronto Star, recording and interpreting history from the front lines of the feminist movement. In this volume, Michele brings us a collection of her favorite columns. With her trademark blend of kindness, toughness, bluntness and humor, she reflects on when she was right, when she was wrong, what was happening behind the scenes, and what has happened since. The columns show a fearless advocacy on behalf of women and children, peace and pluralism, human rights and social justice. Michele looks back over the years, offering insight and reflection, and also looks at the present and future of feminism. Surprising, enlightening, infuriating or funny, her writing reminds us that feminism changed the world forever and is still alive, still sparking and making debate.
     
    Gloria Steinem on Michele Landsberg:
    "Those who make a revolution and those who write about it are usually two different people. Michele Landsberg is one of the few on earth who is trusted and effective at both. There is no one I respect more in the trenches---or on the page."

    The Feminist History Society 
    is a project of the Women’s Education and Research Foundation of Ontario Incorporated (WERF), founded in 2008 by a group of feminist activists from across Canada whose goal is to describe, document, preserve and celebrate the work and character of our times, of the women’s movement in Canada over the last 50 years
     
     
    Review from LF Press
  • Dickens' Women
    Miriam Margolyes Sonia Fraser
    Hesperus Press

    Book jacket: Dickens' WomenIn his novels Dickens presents a series of unrivalled portraits of women, young and old. From Little Nell to Miss Havisham, these girls and women speak to us today, making us laugh and sometimes cry. The popular British actress Miriam Margolyes will be touring the world in 2012, the bicentenary of Dickens birth, with a one-woman show about Dickens’ women, and this book accompanies the show by building on the script and expanding to include many more of the female characters Dickens described and analysed so astutely in his novels. The countries to be visited are Australia, New Zealand, the USA and India.

    ‘Mrs Pipchin was a marvellous ill-favoured, ill-conditioned old lady, of a stooping figure, with a mottled face, like bad marble, a hook nose, and a hard grey eye, that looked as if it might have been hammered at on an anvil without sustaining any injury.’

    Miriam Margolyes is a popular British actress, best known for her appearances as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films. She is also a life-long Dickens enthusiast and presented the successful BBC TV documentary series Dickens’ America.
     
    Sonia Fraser is an award-winning theatre director; she is currently co-writing a modern television series, filled with Dickensian characters.

     (Publisher's Book Synopsis)

    Review in the Telegraph

  • Gender and Culture at the Limit of Rights
    Dorothy L. Hodgson, Editor
    University of Pennsylvania Press

    Book Cover: Gender and Culture at the Limit of Rights "A timely, well-balanced, and important collection with contributions by many well-known and distinguished scholars. The essays consistently focus on how rights, gender, and culture interact, come into conflict, and discursively construct each other."—Mary H. Moran, Colgate University

     
    "Gender and Culture at the Limit of Rights asks readers to consider not only the potential but also the limits of human rights in a variety of historical and contemporary circumstances. This bold agenda is made even more challenging by the focus on gender, particularly on those many interventions that have depicted women as victims and vulnerable to male power. The book very successfully moves debates forward by exploring how rights-based interventions presume or transform gender relations."—Harri Englund, University of Cambridge
     
    An interdisciplinary collection, Gender and Culture at the Limit of Rightsexamines the potential and limitations of the "women's rights as human rights" framework as a strategy for seeking gender justice. Drawing on detailed case studies from the United States, Africa, Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere, contributors to the volume explore the specific social histories, political struggles, cultural assumptions, and gender ideologies that have produced certain rights or reframed long-standing debates in the language of rights. The essays address the gender-specific ways in which rights-based protocols have been analyzed, deployed, and legislated in the past and the present, and the implications for women and men, adults and children in various social and geographical locations. Questions addressed include: What are the gendered assumptions and effects of the dominance of rights-based discourses for claims to social justice? What kinds of opportunities and limitations does such a "culture of rights" provide to seekers of justice, whether individuals or collectives, and how are these gendered? How and why do female bodies often become the site of contention in contexts pitting cultural against juridical perspectives?
     
    The contributors speak to central issues in current scholarly and policy debates about gender, culture, and human rights from comparative disciplinary, historical, and geographical perspectives. By taking "gender," rather than just "women," seriously as a category of analysis, the chapters suggest that the very sources of the power of human rights discourses, specifically "women's rights as human rights" discourses, to produce social change are also the sources of its limitations.
     
    Dorothy L. Hodgson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University.
     
  • Obama, Clinton, Palin: Making History in Election 2008
    Edited by Liette Gidlow
    University of Illinois Press

    Book cover: Obama, Clinton, PalinElection 2008 made American history, but it was also the product of American history. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin smashed through some of the most enduring barriers to high political office, but their exceptional candidacies did not come out of nowhere. In these timely and accessible essays, a distinguished group of historians explores how the candidates both challenged and reinforced historic stereotypes of race and sex while echoing familiar themes in American politics and exploiting new digital technologies.
     
    Contributors include Kathryn Kish Sklar on Clinton’s gender masquerade; Tiffany Ruby Patterson on the politics of black anger; Mitch Kachun on Michelle Obama and stereotypes about black women’s bodies; Glenda E. Gilmore on black women’s century of effort to expand political opportunities for African Americans; Tera W. Hunter on the lost legacy of Shirley Chisholm; Susan M. Hartmann on why the U.S. has not yet followed western democracies in electing a female head of state; Melanie Gustafson on Palin and the political traditions of the American West; Ronald Formisano on the populist resurgence in 2008; Paula Baker on how digital technologies threaten the secret ballot; Catherine E. Rymph on Palin’s distinctive brand of political feminism; and Elisabeth I. Perry on the new look of American leadership.
     
    "This readable collection brings together a distinguished group of scholars to offer reflections that place the galvanizing candidacies of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin in historical perspective."--Eileen Boris, coeditor ofIntimate Labors: Cultures, Technologies, and the Politics of Care 

    "These stimulating essays draw meaning from the 2008 campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin at a critical juncture in U.S. history--a topic worthy of serious reflection and tackled here from a variety of interesting angles."--Louise Newman, author of White Women's Rights: Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States
     
    Liette Gidlow is an associate professor of history at Wayne State University and the author of The Big Vote: Gender, Consumer Culture, and the Politics of Exclusion, 1890s-1920s.

    Publisher's Book Synopsis

  • Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama
    Duchess Harris
    Palgrave Macmillan

    Book jacket: Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to ObamaTaking an interdisciplinary approach, this book analyzes Black women’s involvement in American political life, focusing on what they did to gain political power between 1961 and the present, and why, in many cases, they did not succeed. Duchess Harris demonstrates that Black women have tried to gain centrality through their participation in Presidential Commissions, Black feminist organizations, theatrical productions, film adaptations of literature, beauty pageants, electoral politics, and Presidential appointments. She contends that “success” in this area means that the feminist-identified Black women in the Congressional Black Caucus who voted against Clarence Thomas’s appointment would have spoken on behalf of Anita Hill; Senator Carol Moseley Braun would have won re-election; and Shirley Sherrod wouldn’t have been forced to resign from her USDA position. Harris contends that if this is truly a post-racial America, there should be no apprehension to discuss issues concerning racism at a national level.

    "There has to be something said for being able to succeed in concisely communcating the issue of Black feminism and politics, but I think Duchess Harris has done just that."
    --Feminist Review

    “A detailed account of how black women organized and identified themselves within the context of racism and black sexism in a capitalist society.”—CHOICE

    "I have been longing for a book that can conceptually interweave the legacy of the Combahee River Collective, the longstanding hostility by some in the black community toward the movie The Color Purple, and the political style of Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton offers us a little known political history--it is required reading for any serious student and scholar of contemporary African American’s women’s political participation. This book provides readers a new and valuable conceptual landscape of how African American feminists have engaged electoral and cultural politics despite consistent and powerful opposition. What a refreshing and much needed addition!"
    --Michele Tracy Berger, Author of Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS

    "Harris's analysis is both hopeful and disheartening. On the one hand, Harris provides oral, archival and literary histories of Black women without whom neither the Black Power nor the feminist movements would have progressed. On the other hand, Harris demonstrates that these movements, so beholden to Black women, have never adequately or fairly represented their needs and desires. Worse, they have too often asked Black women to choose between identities, prioritizing one over others."
    --Christine E. Hutchins, On the Issues Magazine

    About the Author(s)
    Duchess Harris, Ph.D., J.D., is an Associate Professor of American Studies at Macalester College. She is the co-editor with Bruce D. Baum of Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity.

    Publisher's Book Synopsis

  • Honor Killings in the Twenty-First Century
    Nicole Pope
    Palgrave Macmillan

    Book jacket: Honor Killings in the 21st CenturyThousands of women are murdered every year by close relatives for allegedly violating an unwritten social code or rebelling against the patriarchal order. Other harmful practices such as forced marriage, child marriage, or bride exchange have been recorded for centuries and adapted to modern times. The book examines honor-based violence, its roots and its evolution, as well as the ongoing struggle to eradicate it in Turkey, Pakistan and other countries, including Western European nations.

    'In this powerfully written book, Nicole Pope takes a comparative look at so-called honor killings, searching out the patterns and triggers that cause families and relatives to kill women suspected of sexual misconduct or even just defiance or disobedience. Pope compares honor killings in Pakistan and Turkey with violence against women elsewhere in the world, opening the road to new ways of understanding what has often been seen as a Middle Eastern or Muslim problem. Her heart- wrenching interviews with victims' families and with women who survived illuminate the social and cultural forces that lead families to murder, but also give some glimpse of how this scourge might be eliminated.'—Jenny White, associate professor of anthropology, Boston University and author ofIslamist Mobilization in Turkey

    About the Author(s)
    Nicole Pope is a Swiss journalist and writer based in Istanbul, Turkey. She worked as Turkey correspondent for the French daily Le Monde for 15 years and has published articles in numerous international publications. She is the co-author of Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey and has been conducting research on violence against women for the past decade.

    Publisher's Book Synopsis

  • Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room
    Merle Hoffman
    Feminist Press

    Book cover: Intimate Wars Merle Hoffman's life story is riveting. A former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, and a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, she has been a fearless crusader for women's right to choose.

    Over the years, Hoffman has used her entrepreneurial spirit to build one of the most comprehensive women's medical centers in the country. In 1971 (two years before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion nationally), Hoffman founded Choices, an abortion clinic in New York. As a medical provider, she pioneered "patient power," encouraging women to participate in their own health care decisions. And going against even her own expectations for her life after fifty, she adopted a child and writes about her experience as a mother.

    Whether addressing the murder of abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller or challenging women to understand their own power over their bodies and the language used to wield such power, Merle Hoffman has been on the front lines of the feminist movement, a fierce warrior in the battle for choice.

    A searingly honest debut memoir by a leader in the fight for a woman's right to “legally gain and exercise reproductive choice—the power of life and death.”
    —Kirkus Reviews

    "From her decision to adopt a child to her love affairs, this is the story of one woman's quest to live fully. Opinionated, fierce, bold and brash, "Intimate Wars" chronicles Hoffman's efforts to improve women's lives and influence history. She deserves our gratitude."
    —Eleanor Bader, Truthout

     

    "At last, we have Merle Hoffman's bold and courageous memoir of living on the front lines of the abortion wars. Merle never turned away from the harshest battles or denied the most painful truths."
    —Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt

    "Merle Hoffman has blazed a freedom trail while saving countless women's lives along the way"
    Bill Baird, founder of the Pro-Choice League

    Publisher's Book Synopsis

  • F ’em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls
    Jennifer Baumgardner
    Seal Press

    Book Cover: F'emFrom Jennifer Baumgardner, one of the leading voices of Third Wave feminism, comes this provocative, thoughtful, often funny collection of essays and interviews that offers a state of the union on contemporary feminist issues.

    F 'em! is a mix of old and new essays by Baumgardner, ranging in tone from laugh-out-loud confessional to sobering analysis. She investigates topics as varied as purity balls, sexuality, motherhood, and shared breastfeeding; rape, reproductive rights, and the future of feminism. The essays in F 'em are rounded out by candid one-on-one interviews with leading feminists who have influenced Baumgardner's perspectives—including Riot Grrrls' Kathleen Hanna, Native American activist Winona LaDuke, transgender activist Julia Serano, and artists like Ani DiFranco, Björk, and Amy Ray. At turns intimate, fierce, philosophical, and funny, they are an intimate window into the minds and hearts of Third Wave pioneers. Holding it all together is Baumgardner's insightful thinking about what it means to be a feminist today, as she answers frequently-asked questions: What does it mean to be a woman today? Do we even need feminism anymore?

    Thought-provoking and cutting-edge, F 'em! provides a clearer and more complete understanding of feminism—its past, its present, and its future.
     
    About Jennifer Baumgardner
    Writer and activist Jennifer Baumgardner is the author of Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics and Abortion & Life. She is the co-author, with Amy Richards, of the Third Wave classicManifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future and Grassroots: A Field Guide to Feminist Activism. As co-owner of the feminist speakers' bureau Soapbox, Inc., Baumgardner runs Feminist Summer Camp and Feminist Winter Term in New York with Richards, and she has lectured at more than three hundred schools. She writes for Glamour, The Nation, Real Simple, and Babble, among other publications. She is the producer of the award-winning documentary I Had an Abortion and of a forthcoming film about rape.

    Baumgardner's work has been featured on shows from The Oprah Winfrey Show to NPR's Talk of the Nation, as well as in The New York TimesBBC's News Hour, and various other venues. In 2003, the Commonwealth Club of California hailed her in their centennial year as one of six “Visionaries for the 21st Century,” commenting that “in her role as author and activist, [Baumgardner has] permanently changed the way people think about feminism…and will shape the next 100 years of politics and culture.” A professor of writing at The New School, she lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

     

    Publisher's Book Synopsis