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Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies Book List

Cover of 'Writing the Polish American Woman in Postwar Ethnic Fiction'

Writing the Polish American Woman in Postwar Ethnic Fiction
By Grażyna J. Kozaczka

Though often unnoticed by scholars of literature and history, Polish American women have for decades been fighting back against the patriarchy they encountered in America and the patriarchy that followed them from Poland.

Cover of 'Hip-Hop in Africa'

Hip-Hop in Africa
Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers
By Msia Kibona Clark
· Foreword by Quentin Williams
· Afterword by Akosua Adomako Ampofo

Msia Kibona Clark examines some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop scenes and shows how hip-hop helps us understand specifically African realities. A tribute to a genre and its artists, Hip-Hop in Africa details the spread of hip-hop culture in Africa and pushes the study of music and diaspora in critical new directions.

Cover of 'Writing an Icon'

Writing an Icon
Celebrity Culture and the Invention of Anaïs Nin
By Anita Jarczok

Before Madonna and her many imitators, there was Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur. Jarczok reveals how Nin crafted her personae, which she rewrote and restyled to suit her needs, and how she occupied a singular space in 20th-century culture, as a literary figure, a voice of female sexual liberation, and a celebrity.

Jon Gjerde Prize for Best Book in Midwestern History (Midwestern History Association), Honorable Mention
Cover of 'Driven toward Madness'

Driven toward Madness
The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio
By Nikki M. Taylor

Margaret Garner was the runaway slave who, when confronted with capture just outside of Cincinnati, slit the throat of her toddler daughter rather than have her face a life in slavery. Her story has inspired Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a film based on the novel starring Oprah Winfrey, and an opera. Yet, her life has defied solid historical treatment.

Cover of 'Women in the Shadows'

Women in the Shadows
Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali
By Jennifer Goodlander

Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader. Recently, women have begun to study and perform in this traditionally male role, an innovation that has triggered resistance and controversy.

Cover of 'Making the Mark'

Making the Mark
Gender, Identity, and Genital Cutting
By Miroslava Prazak

Why do female genital cutting practices persist? How does circumcision affect the rights of girls in a culture where initiation forms the lynchpin of the ritual cycle at the core of defining gender, identity, and social and political status? In Making the Mark, Miroslava Prazak follows the practice of female circumcision through the lives and activities of community members in a rural Kenyan farming society as they decide whether or not to participate in the tradition.

Cover of 'Marriage by Force?'

Marriage by Force?
Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa
Edited by Annie Bunting, Benjamin N. Lawrance, and Richard L. Roberts
· Foreword by Doris Buss
· Afterword by Emily S. Burrill

Despite international human rights decrees condemning it, marriage by force persists to this day. In this volume, the editors bring together legal scholars, anthropologists, historians, and development workers to explore the range of forced marriage practices in sub-Saharan Africa. The result is a masterful presentation of new perspectives on the practice.

2016 winner of the American Historical Association's Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history · Finalist for the 2016 Fage and Oliver Prize from the African Studies Association of the UK · Winner of the 2017 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize
Cover of 'Crossing the Color Line'

Crossing the Color Line
Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana
By Carina E. Ray

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Ghanaians shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its hierarchies of power.

Winner, the 2017 Adele E. Clarke Book Award from Repronetwork
Cover of 'The Politics of Morality'

The Politics of Morality
The Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland
By Joanna Mishtal

The Politics of Morality is an anthropological study of the expansion of power of the religious right in postsocialist Poland and its effects on individual rights and social mores.

Cover of 'Women of the Mountain South'

Women of the Mountain South
Identity, Work, and Activism
Edited by Connie Park Rice and Marie Tedesco

Scholars of southern Appalachia have largely focused their research on men, particularly white men. The essays of Women of the Mountain South debunk the entrenched stereotype of Appalachian women as poor and white, and shine a long-overdue spotlight on women too often neglected in the history of the region.

Cover of 'The ANC Women’s League'

The ANC Women’s League
Sex, Gender and Politics
By Shireen Hassim

First formed in the early twentieth century, the ANC Women’s League has grown into a leading organization in the women’s movement in South Africa. The league has been at the forefront of the nation’s century-long transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy that espouses gender equality as a core constitutional value.

Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women's experiences. (African Studies Association) · Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize
Cover of 'Making Modern Girls'

Making Modern Girls
A History of Girlhood, Labor, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos
By Abosede A. George

In Making Modern Girls, Abosede A. George examines the influence of African social reformers and the developmentalist colonial state on the practice and ideology of girlhood as well as its intersection with child labor in Lagos, Nigeria. It draws from gender studies, generational studies, labor history, and urban history to shed new light on the complex workings of African cities from the turn of the twentieth century through the nationalist era of the 1950s.

Cover of 'The Wounded Woman'

The Wounded Woman
Healing the Father-Daughter Relationship
By Linda Schierse Leonard

An invaluable key to self-understanding, The Wounded Woman shows that by understanding the father-daughter wound, it is possible to achieve a fruitful, caring relationship between men and women, between fathers and daughters, a relationship that honors both the mutuality and the uniqueness of the sexes.

Cover of 'A Stitch in Time'

A Stitch in Time
The Needlework of Aging Women in Antebellum America
By Aimee E. Newell

Drawing from 167 examples of decorative needlework — primarily samplers and quilts from 114 collections across the United States — made by individual women aged forty years and over between 1820 and 1860, this exquisitely illustrated book explores how women experienced social and cultural change in antebellum America.

Finalist for the 2015 Weatherford Award
Cover of 'Thinking Outside the Girl Box'

Thinking Outside the Girl Box
Teaming Up with Resilient Youth in Appalachia
By Linda Spatig and Layne Amerikaner

Written in an accessible, engaging style and drawing on collaborative ethnographic research that the girls themselves helped conduct, Thinking Outside the Girl Box tells the true story of an innovative program determined to challenge the small, disempowering “boxes” girls and women are so often expected to live in.