African American Studies
Customs, Traditions, and Everyday Life
Emigration and Immigration
Native American Studies
Poverty and Homelessness
Prostitution and Sex Trade
Race and Ethnicity
Slavery and Slave Trade
Social Science Essays
Social Science, Methodology
Sociology of Religion
Violence in Society
The story of “Shakespeare’s sister” that Virginia Woolf tells in A Room of One’s Own has sparked interest in the question of the place of the woman writer in the Renaissance. By now, the process of recovering lost voices of early modern women is well under way. But Woolf’s engagement with the Renaissance went deeper than that question indicates, as important as it was.
John Ruskin's prominence as the author of “Of Queen's Gardens,” his principal statement of Victorian gender opposition, makes him an ideal example for analyzing the power of mythic discourse to undermine gender division. Here, Ruskin creates a vision of feminine authority that draws simultaneously upon several sources (including the goddess Athena and Queen Victoria herself) to empower women in a worldwide arena redefined as a broader version of their domestic realm.
The Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 and the ensuing communist regime have often been portrayed as a man’s revolution, with women as bystanders or even victims. Midwives of the Revolution examines the powerful contribution made by women to the overthrow of tsarism in 1917 and their importance in the formative years of communism in Russia.
Based extensively on their writings and letters to each other, this chronicle of Elizabeth Barrett's and Robert Browning's life together stands in bold relief against the backdrop of their Victorian world. Their passionate partnership overcame any number of obstacles — Elizabeth's role in her father's family; her illness; her Creole background; Robert's tentative career — to culminate in a marriage of mutual devotion.
In the spring of 1916, as the workers for woman suffrage were laying plans for another attack on the bastions of male supremacy, the idea for The Sturdy Oak was born. Based on the rules of an old parlor game, wherein one person begins a narrative, another continues it, and another follows, this collaborative effort by the leading writers of the day, such as Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield, and Kathleen Norris, is a satiric look at the gender roles of the time.
In the winter of 1951-52, Anaïs Nin was a writer in despair. More than a dozen publishing houses had rejected her new novel, A Spy in the House of Love, and Nin became desperate for literary acceptance. Encouragement came from an unexpected source. Felix Pollak, an Austrian emigré and Rare Book Librarian at Northwestern University, had been entrusted with the task of acquiring some of Nin's manuscripts for the library.
In this fascinating piece of scholarly detective work, biblical scholar Savina J. Teubal peels away millenia of patriarchal distortion to reveal the lost tradition of biblical matriarchs. In Ancient Sisterhood: The Lost Traditions of Hagar and Sarah (originally published as Hagar the Egyptian), she shows that Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, was actually lady-in-waiting to the priestess Sarah and participated in an ancient Near Eastern custom of surrogate motherhood.
When James Lane Allen defined the “Feminine Principle” and the “Masculine Principle” in American fiction for the Atlantic Monthly in 1897, he in effect described local color fiction and naturalism, two branches of realism often regarded as bearing little relationship to each other.
On the night of Saturday, July 13, 1991, a mob of male students at the St. Kizito Mixed Secondary School in Meru, Kenya, attacked their female classmates in a dormitory. Nineteen schoolgirls were killed in the melee and more than 70 were raped or gang raped. The explanations in the press for the attack included a rebellion by male students over administrative mismanagement, academic stress, cultural norms for the Meru ethnic group, and victim characteristics (as assumed in rape myths).
Recollections of Anaïs Nin presents Nin through the eyes of twenty-six people who knew her. She is the unconventional, distant aunt; the thoughtful friend; the owner of a strangely disarming voice; the author eager for attention yet hypersensitive to criticism; the generous advisor to a literary magazine; the adulteress; the beautiful septuagenarian; the recommender of books—the contributors elaborate on thses and many other perceptions of Nin.
What do ordinary women in an African city do in the face of “serious enough” infections in themselves and signs of acute illness in their young children? How do they manage? What does it take to get by? How do they maintain the wellbeing of the household in a setting without what would be considered as basic health provision in an American or European city? Professor Wallman focuses on women in a densely-populated part of Kampala called Kamwokya.
Alice Walker’s womanist theory about black feminist identity and practice also contains a critique of white liberal feminism. This is the first in-depth study to examine issues of identity and difference within feminism by drawing on Walker’s notion of an essential black feminist consciousness.
America's Collectible Cookbooks is a wonderful concoction of gossipy morsels and serious reflection about cookbooks and cookbook authors. Although the names Fannie Merritt Farmer, Eliza Leslie, Sarah Josepha Hale, and Irma Rombauer are familiar to generations of American books, few know how really extraordinary these women were.
These essays examine the multifaceted work of the Central American author whom Latin American literary historians consider precursor of “cultural dialogism” in poetry and fiction. As poet, essayist, journalist, novelist, and writer of “quasi–testimonio,” Alegría’s multiple discourses transgress the boundaries between traditional and postmodern political theories and practices.