UC Press Authors at the Bay Area Book Festival

We’re excited to announce appearances by four UC Press authors at the Bay Area Book Festival. Authors Khaled Beydoun (American Islamophobia: Remagining the Roots and Rise of Fear), Michael Kimmel (Healing From Hate: How Young Men Get Into— and Out of—Violent Extremism), Rebecca Solnit (Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas and other titles), and L.A. Kauffman (How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance) will be featured on panels at Berkeley CA’s fourth annual Bay Area Book Festival this weekend, April 28-29. See their schedules below.

    

Saturday, April 28th

Men and Boys 2018: Cultural and Personal Masculinities
12:45 PM – 2:00 PM
San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

As women across the world make their painful experiences visible, men have begun to grapple with how the masculine identity shapes the power imbalance. The cultural positioning of manhood starts early (“Boys don’t cry!”) and continues to influence these boys’ identities as they grow (“Man up!”). Masculinity expert Michael Kimmel and psychology professor Dacher Keltner investigate.

Race and Racism in America
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Magnes Museum

Three authors of different backgrounds come together to explore race and the deep origins and expressions of racism. Edward Ayers, an eminent historian and President Emeritus of the University of Richmond in Virginia, has written for decades on the Civil War and Reconstruction and on controversies such as those over Confederate monuments; in many ways, the Civil War in this country rages on. Khaled Beydoun, an attorney and Critical Race Theory scholar and author of “Islamophobia,” examines one of the most rabid expressions of racism today—against Arabs and Muslims. Julie Lythcott-Haims, a Harvard-trained lawyer and the only child of an African-American father and white British mother, has written “Real American: A Memoir,” about what it’s really like for a mixed-race child to grow up in this country.

Sunday, April 29th

Smart Activism: History and Hope
With L.A. Kauffman and Rebecca Solnit
2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park
Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design

How can activism be most effective today? Let’s look to history. Come hear one of the Bay Area’s most famous activists and writers—Rebecca Solnit—in conversation with longtime friend and movement insider L.A. Kauffman on the history and future of activism. Solnit, whose writing spans numerous books, articles, and social media, is perhaps most well-known for “Hope in the Dark,” a veritable holy book for activists, as well as her more recent books on feminism and three highly creative atlases, plus many works on community, the environment, and the arts. In “Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism”—a masterwork 25 years in the making—L.A. Kauffman expertly deconstructs the origins of today’s protest movements as a means of making activism more powerful today. How have past movements used disruptive tactics to catalyze change? Is there, indeed, still hope in the dark, and how do we act on it?

Extremism Investigated
5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Hotel Shattuck Plaza – Crystal Ballroom

As political fringe ideologies move into the mainstream—and the far left and the far right clash in the streets—extremist views of all kinds are becoming part of the zeitgeist. More people are facing the question: What compels peaceful people to commit violence? As women come forward to report violence and young white boys are perpetrating mass murders, America is dealing with its own home-grown radicalism. Two experts on extremism—Islamophobia and discrimination scholar Khaled Baydoun, and national thought leader on masculinity and radicalization Michael Kimmel—will probe the questions: What drives people to the extreme? And can a nation be de-radicalized?

Khaled A. Beydoun is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Senior Affiliated Faculty at the University of California–Berkeley Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project. A critical race theorist, he examines Islamophobia, the war on terror, and the salience of race and racism in American law. His scholarship has appeared in top law journals, including the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review. In addition, he is an active public intellectual and advocate whose commentary has been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post as well as on the BBC, Al Jazeera English, ESPN, and more. He is a native of Detroit and has been named the 2017 American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Advocate of the Year and the Arab American Association of New York’s 2017 Community Champion of the Year.

Read more on Khaled’s thoughts on the deeply-ingrained history of Islamophobia in America on the UC Press Blog.

 

Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s leading experts on men and masculinities. He is the SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University and the author of Manhood in America, Angry White Men, The Politics of Manhood, The Gendered Society, and Guyland. With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, he founded the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook in 2013.

Check out Michael’s #HealingFromHate series on the UC Press Blog.

 

Rebecca Solnit is a prolific writer, and the author of many books including Savage Dreams, Storming the Gates of Paradise, and the best-selling atlases Infinite CityUnfathomable City, and Nonstop Metropolisall from UC Press. She received the Corlis Benefideo Award for Imaginative Cartography from the North American Cartographic Information Society for her work on Infinite City and Unfathomable City.

Learn more about #nonstopmetropolis, Rebecca’s latest atlas, on the UC Press Blog.

 

L. A. Kauffman has been a grassroots organizer for more than thirty years and was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive Iraq antiwar protests of 2003-4. She has covered social movement history and activism for The Guardian, n+1, and numerous other publications and is the author of Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism.


Herstory: Women’s Studies

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the largest single day protest in US history—the Women’s March—when on January 21, 2017, 4.2 million people marched across the US in more than 600 US cities, and from Antarctica to Zimbabwe, at least 261 more sister marches cropped up worldwide. To celebrate this pivotal protest, UC Press is highlighting titles across subjects as part of our Herstory series, with today’s focus on Women’s Studies titles that continue the discussions on feminism, past and present. While just a preview of our publishing “herstory,” these titles will engage your intellect and inspire your activism today, tomorrow, and for future tomorrows.


How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics:
From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump

By Laura Briggs

Today all politics are reproductive politics, argues esteemed feminist critic Laura Briggs. From longer work hours to the election of Donald Trump, our current political crisis is above all about reproduction. Briggs brilliantly outlines how politicians’ racist accounts of reproduction were the leading wedge in the government and business disinvestment in families, leading to the rigorous demands of the American workplace. These demands are stressful for all women, but for women of color and their children, women with fewer resources and power, the ramifications could be deadly.

 

The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging the Persistence of Patriarchy
By Cynthia Enloe

The Big Push exposes how patriarchal ideas and relationships continue to be modernized to this day. Through contemporary cases and reports, renowned political scientist Cynthia Enloe exposes the workings of everyday patriarchy—in how Syrian women civil society activists have been excluded from international peace negotiations; how sexual harassment became institutionally accepted within major news organizations; or in how the UN Secretary General’s post has remained a masculine domain.
Timely, globally conscious, and ever-relevant in the wake of today’s #MeToo movement, The Big Push is a call for feminist self-reflection and strategic action with a belief that exposure complements resistance.

 

Smart Girls: Success, School, and the Myth of Post-Feminism
By Shauna Pomerantz and Rebecca Raby

Girls are said to outperform boys in high school exams, university entrance and graduation rates, and professional certification. As a result, many in Western society assume that girls no longer need support. But the reality is far more complicated. Smart Girls investigates how academically successful girls deal with stress, the “supergirl” drive for perfection, race and class issues, and the sexism that is still present in schools. Describing girls’ varied everyday experiences, including negotiations of traditional gender norms, Shauna Pomerantz and Rebecca Raby show how teachers, administrators, parents, and media commentators can help smart girls thrive while working toward straight As and a bright future.

 

The Diva Nation: Female Icons from Japanese Cultural History
Edited By Laura Miller and Rebecca Copeland 

Diva Nation explores the constructed nature of female iconicity in Japan. From ancient goddesses and queens to modern singers and writers, this edited volume critically reconsiders the female icon, tracing how she has been offered up for emulation, debate or censure. The research in this book culminates from curiosity over the insistent presence of Japanese female figures who have refused to sit quietly on the sidelines of history. The diva is ripe for expansion, fantasy, eroticization, and playful reinvention, while simultaneously presenting a challenge to patriarchal culture. Diva Nation asks how the diva disrupts or bolsters ideas about nationhood, morality, and aesthetics.

 

Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought
By Edited By Susan Bordo, M. Cristina Alcalde, and Ellen Rosenman

The first collection of its kind, Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought is historically organized and transnational in scope, highlighting key ideas, transformative moments, and feminist conversations across national and cultural borders. Emphasizing feminist cross-talk, transnational collaborations and influences, and cultural differences in context, this anthology heralds a new approach to studying feminist history.

 

Gender in the Twenty-First Century: The Stalled Revolution and the Road to Equality
Edited By Shannon N. Davis, Sarah Winslow, and David J. Maume

This engaging and accessible work, aimed at students studying gender and social inequality, provides new insight into the uneven and stalled nature of the gender revolution in the twenty-first century. Honing in on the family, higher education, the workplace, religion, the military, and sports, key scholars look at why gender inequality persists. The volume explores how to address current inequities through political action, research initiatives, social mobilization, and policy changes. Conceived of as a book for gender and society classes with a mix of exciting, accessible, pointed pieces, Gender in the Twenty-First Century is an ideal book for students and scholars alike.

 

Abusive Endings: Separation and Divorce Violence against Women
By Walter S. DeKeseredy, Molly Dragiewicz, and Martin D. Schwartz

Abusive Endings offers a thorough analysis of the social-science literature on one of the most significant threats to the health and well-being of women today—abuse at the hands of their male partners. The authors provide a moving description of why and how men abuse women in myriad ways during and after a separation or divorce. The material is punctuated with the stories and voices of both perpetrators and survivors of abuse, as told to the authors over many years of fieldwork. Written in a highly readable fashion, this book will be a useful resource for researchers, practitioners, activists, and policy makers.

The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development
By Kathryn Moeller

Drawing on more than a decade of research in the U.S. and Brazil, this book focuses on how the philanthropic, social responsibility, and business practices of various corporations use a logic of development that positions girls and women as instruments of poverty alleviation and new frontiers for capitalist accumulation. Using the Girl Effect, the philanthropic brand of Nike, Inc., as a central case study, the book examines how these corporations seek to address the problems of gendered poverty and inequality, yet do so using an instrumental logic that shifts the burden of development onto girls and women without transforming the structural conditions that produce poverty. With a keen eye towards justice, author Kathryn Moeller concludes that these corporatized development practices de-politicize girls’ and women’s demands for fair labor practices and a just global economy.


In the comments section, tell us your favorite herstory book from UC Press. Were there books in the Herstory Series that you would’ve included?


The Fifth Element: A Two-Day Global Symposium and Think Tank

by Casey Philip Wong, in collaboration with H. Samy Alim and Jeff Chang


On November 8th and 9th, Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA) will host an international community of scholars, artists, and educators for a ground-breaking symposium, “The 5th Element: The Future and Promise of Hip Hop Pedagogy.” The free and public two-day global symposium and think tank takes place at the Graduate School of Business Common. Attendees will collectively engage in intellectual inquiry to discuss the future and promise of Hip Hop pedagogy as a growing academic field, and as a social justice-based, global educational movement.

Flier for The Fifth Element Hip Hop Pedagogy Symposium and Think Tank

The symposium begins with UCLA Professor H. Samy Alim and IDA Executive Director Jeff Chang, who will frame the breadth and importance of Hip Hop pedagogy in this current political and educational moment. Dr. Alim will theorize Hip Hop in relation to Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and host a screening and dialogue of the critically-acclaimed, South African Hip Hop documentary Afrikaaps, along with a featured performer in the film, the legendary Hip Hop artist and educator, Emile YX? of Black Noise and Heal the Hood in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Keynote Panel will offer a discussion with world-renowned Hip Hop feminists: Joan Morgan, Brittney Cooper, Treva Lindsey and Kaila Story. They will discuss how Hip Hop feminism is rigorously pushing Hip Hop toward liberation—pedagogically, epistemologically, and ethically—in ways that offer implications for how we teach young women and girls, specifically, and future directions for Hip Hop educators and scholars, more generally.

Student participants at hip hop pedagogy symposium

The first day will also feature four simultaneous workshops with leading Hip Hop artists, educators and scholars to share their scholarship and dynamic teaching practices with youth. A featured panel, “Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Indigenous Hip Hop Pedagogy,” facilitated by Tim San Pedro, will highlight the groundbreaking indigenous educators and artists of the Dream Warriors (Tanaya Winder, Tall Paul, Frank Waln and Mic Jordan) whose work bears testament to how Hip Hop pedagogy is transforming the lives of indigenous youth. Other featured workshops will be offered by the co-founders of the award-winning Hip Hop organization operating out of Chicago, Kuumba Lynx; Bay Area teaching artist Itoco Garcia-Davenport and elementary school principal Elliot Gann; and Keith Cross, a freestyle lyricist, scholar and teaching artist, who will feature an innovative, interactive presentation of expert freestyle lyricists’ neurological processing of rhyme.

Classroom image of hip hop pedagogy symposium

While thinking globally, the symposium will also highlight how scholars and organizers are acting locally. The IDA Arts and Education Project, presented by Casey Philip Wong, Measha Ferguson Smith, Adorie Howard and Reagan Ross, will share their research findings on the Hip Hop arts ecosystem in East Palo Alto, California and offer a new frame for understanding the impact of Hip Hop pedagogy by exploring the work of an exemplary community-based Hip Hop organization led by Executive Director Tefferi Mogus Brook, the Music Mural and Arts Project (MMAP), and a performing arts program within a public charter high school, East Palo Alto Academy (EPAA), led by teacher Andy Robinson. The presentation will feature performances, scholarly debate, and open dialogue with audience members.

Day two offers a rare opportunity for debate and discussion among educators, artists and scholars making use of Hip Hop pedagogy to teach youth. The gathering will center practitioners and praxis. Co-presented with the Hip Hop Education Center, the “Think Tank IV: It’s Yours! Sustaining and Reimagining Our Movement” will open with networking and youth performances before launching into two hours of facilitated conversations led by Youth Speaks’ Michelle Lee. Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, Adia Winfrey, Martha Diaz, Melina Jones, Allegra Gilfenbaum, Rahman Jamaal and Sam Seidel will engage in critical exchanges around the best practices and needs of teaching artists. The conversation will present the Hip Hop Education Center Platform, a digital interface developed to support and sustain the collaboration of Hip Hop teaching artists from around the world.

To register: diversityarts.stanford.edu/5ESymposium

*IDA would like to acknowledge the Surdna Foundation, whose generous support has allowed us to explore Hip Hop pedagogies over the last four years and to host this convening.


Casey Philip Wong is a PhD Candidate in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education Program at Stanford University and Assistant Investigator for the IDA Arts and Education Project. He is also Founding Director of the TRIUMPH After-School Program, which utilizes critical feminisms, hip-hop and martial arts to mentor, inspire and empower youth.

H. Samy Alim is the David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences at UCLA and Jeff Chang is Executive Director of IDA at Stanford University. They are the series editors for UC Press’ new Hip Hop Studies Series.

Banned Books Week 2017: What Feminism Means

As part of Banned Books Week, we share a list of recommended titles that promote the freedom to seek and express ideas. UC Press is proud to publish esteemed feminist scholars and activists who argue for inclusivity and social justice in all forms, who advocate for feminism and the movement towards an equal society for all people, without discrimination.

During Banned Books Week (ending September 30), get a 30% discount on these selected titles on Feminism.

Below, enjoy some highlights from our list:

How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump
by Laura Briggs

“This book is a tour de force that highlights the failures of neoliberalism for many American families. With intensity and verve, Laura Briggs reveals the crisscrossing binds that constrain women, particularly women of color, queer women, and poor women.”—Alexandra Minna Stern, author of Eugenic Nation and Telling Genes

“Move over Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter. Here comes Laura Briggs, who shows how questions of care stand at the center of all politics. Briggs unmasks the racialized, classed, and gendered politics of this neoliberal moment with verve, sophistication, and vision.”—Eileen Boris, coauthor, Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State

 

The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging the Persistence of Patriarchy
by Cynthia Enloe

“With Cynthia’s accessible and engaging style, The Big Push shines an important new light on contemporary and historical events.”—Sandra Whitworth, author of Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping

“Women and men who care about democracy and social justice need to read this book. Cynthia Enloe’s astute and far-sighted interpretation of ‘sustainable patriarchy’ is just what we need for the feminist struggles unfolding in the twenty-first century.”—Kathryn Kish Sklar, author of Women’s Rights Emerges within the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1830-1870

 

 

Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and Sex in the 1960s
by Rachel Middleman

“With detailed discussions of the bold ways that heterosexual women artists foregrounded their sexuality as confrontational, critical, and political, Radical Eroticism makes an important contribution to the literature on Sixties art and adds to the revisions of its history that locate sex and gender as defining characteristics of the decade.”—David J. Getsy, Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

“A crucial resource for future studies of contemporary women’s erotic art and the sexual politics of erotic representations.”—Susan Richmond, Associate Professor of Art History, Georgia State University

 

Provocations: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought
by Susan Bordo

Provocations is an ambitious, pioneering, interdisciplinary anthology that promises to disrupt hegemonic narratives of the complex histories of feminisms that permeate women’s studies classrooms in the U.S. academy. From the ancient world to the recent Arab Spring, Provocations engages some of the most compelling and contentious debates in the centuries old ‘woman question.’”—Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and Founding Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College

 

 

Reproductive Justice: An Introduction
by Loretta Ross & Rickie Solinger

“Controlling reproduction and the bodies of women seems to be the first step in every hierarchy. That’s why reproductive justice—women having power over our own bodies—is the crucial first step toward any democracy, any human rights, and any justice.” —Gloria Steinem

“We need to know the history laid out in Reproductive Justice, because we need to not repeat the ugliness of the past. Our strategies need to be inclusive and intersectional.None of us are free until we’re all free.”—Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 

 

Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life in Song
by Ronnie Gilbert with a foreword by Holly Near 

“Activism is just one of the threads winding through this title, along with music, theater, performance, politics, and the challenges of building a life outside of the 20th-century mainstream. . . . Yet it’s the music that shines the brightest in this memoir; Gilbert’s time with the Weavers and her creative partnership with Holly Near bookend a life no less remarkable for being remarkably nonlinear.”—Library Journal

“Gilbert’s memoir brings to life the frightening political climate of the times. . . . We are fortunate that Gilbert took the time to document her singular experiences as a committed activist and singer whose soaring contralto and “dangerous songs” both accompanied and animated the progressive movements of her time.”—San Francisco Chronicle


Banned Books Week 2017: Promoting Progressive Change

As part of Banned Books Week, occurring September 24 – 30, we’ll be sharing recommended reading lists that promote the freedom to seek and express ideas. At UC Press, we believe that scholarship is a powerful tool for fostering a deeper understanding of our world and changing how people think, plan, and govern. Our mission is to drive progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds and giving them voice, reach, and impact.

During #BannedBooksWeek, get a 30% discount on these selected titles that promote progressive change in feminism, politics, Islam, and free speech. #BannedBooks

What’s your favorite UC Press book that you think should have made the list for Banned Books Week? Let us know in the comment section below.


Feminist Media Histories Celebrates Women’s Equality Day with Free Articles

Guest post by Shelley Stamp, UC Santa Cruz and Editor of Feminist Media Histories

Women’s Equality Day (August 26, 2017) commemorates ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in America.  It is a day to celebrate women’s history and histories of feminist activism. To mark the occasion select articles from past issues of Feminist Media Histories will be freely available all day.

Histories of women, particularly women of color and LGBTQ communities, continue to be untold and unrecognized. At FMH we honor the struggle to tell women’s histories—which is ultimately the struggle to change the larger historical narratives—by highlighting select articles from past issues.

Workers demand equal pay in The Amazing Equal Pay Show, 1974. (Still courtesy Fran McLean). From FMH article “Rising Up: A Memoir of the London Women’s Film Group, 1972–1977” by Barbara Evans
  • New translations of writing by pioneering Soviet filmmaker and theorist Esfir Shub demonstrate her centrality to Soviet montage style.
  • Sarah Murray documents how the brand personalityBetty Crocker was shaped on golden-age radio.
  • Sara Saljoughi shows how Marva Nabili’s Iranian New Wave classic The Sealed Soil marks “a cinema of refusal.”
  • Candace Moore studies the “proto-queer” film criticism of lesbian writer Lisa Ben, penned while she worked as a secretary at RKO in the 1940s.
  • Chika Kinoshita examines an abortion scandal that ruined the career of Japanese actress Shiga Akiko in the 1930s.
  • Suvadip Sinha considers Tun Tun, a central, but often overlooked star of Bollywood comedies.

Featured articles showcase the range of special issues published by Feminist Media Histories, including Women and Soundwork, Histories of Celebrity, Gender and Comedy, and Middle Eastern Media. Follow Feminist Media Histories on Facebook and Twitter for news about other upcoming free downloads. And watch for future issues on Labor, Comics, and Asian Media.

 


The Regional Roots of Transnational Digital Activism

This guest post is published in conjunction with the meeting of the Latin American Studies Association taking place April 29-May 1 in Lima, Peru. #LASA17

by Elisabeth Jay Friedman, author of Interpreting the Internet: Feminist and Queer Counterpublics in Latin America

Latin American digital border crossers have much to teach us about “the way transnational flows of people and ideas have shaped Latin America,” a theme of this year’s Latin American Studies Association conference. Such transnational flows have gone in both directions on the internet, as I have learned from the Argentine, Brazilian, and Mexican feminist and queer activists whom I interviewed for my book, Interpreting the Internet: Feminist and Queer Counterpublics in Latin America.

The conversion of a technology supposedly invented by the US military into a strategic tool for activists around the world is often taken for granted. But how did it happen? A closer look reveals that progressive computer engineers, programmers, and administrators, all dedicated to expanding digital resources beyond the politically powerful, economically fortunate, and socially advantaged, ensured that social change organizations and movements would be some of the earliest adopters. In Latin America, communities emerging out of the fiercely repressive regimes of the 1970s and 1980s embraced and expanded new communications technologies. For example, Brazil’s AlterNex became the first non-academic internet provider in all of Latin America, even before the military left power. Housed at IBASE, one of Brazil’s most important and durable civic organizations, it was connected to the public data network – run through the state telephone company. The company knew enough to be suspicious of IBASE’s oppositional efforts, and periodically would cut off their telephone service. But IBASE had enough clout to insist that it be restored.

In the 1990s, many feminists also seized on the still-evolving internet. They had been creating alternative media for well over a century, using it to connect transnationally: activists eagerly engaged extra-regional ideas while they contemplated their own pathways towards improving women’s status and rights. As in later periods, editors and writers often literally carried these ideas across borders in their suitcases. Take for example the 19th century Argentine writer Juana Manuela Gorriti, whose travels and passions led her to found both an Argentine and a Peruvian newspaper. In the late 20th century, contextually rooted border crossing continued. Projects such as Modemmujer in Mexico connected national audiences to each other and fostered transnational discussions through an early listserv, initially founded to monitor developments at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Throughout the decades since then, Latin American feminist and queer communities have interpreted the internet into their own vernacular. They have built chains of access across seemingly unbridgeable chasms of inequality, such as race, geography, and class. And they have hacked the intentions of popular applications, making distribution lists into interactive spaces and blogs into historical archives. Latin American activists have long taken part in transnational flows of ideas, and have appropriated global technology to serve their own ends.


Elisabeth Jay Friedman is Chair and Professor of Politics and Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of Unfinished Transitions: Women and the Gendered Development of Democracy in Venezuela, 1936–1996 and the coauthor of Sovereignty, Democracy, and Global Civil Society: State-Society Relations at UN World Conferences.


Celebrating Women’s History with Grace Lee Boggs: “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls”

Grace Lee Boggs was a tireless activist for feminism, Black Power, civil rights, environmental justice, and workers’ rights. A recipient of many human rights and lifetime achievement awards, including a place in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Boggs remained a crusader for social justice right up to her 100th year.

In her 2012 book The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, written with Scott Kurashige, Boggs drew from seven decades of activist experience to redefine “revolution” for our times. During the presidential election, co-author Kurashige edited together the following excerpts from the chapter “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls” to share how Boggs continues to motivate us. This post originally appeared on the Grace Lee Boggs Facebook page, and we turn to this excerpt during Women’s National History Month as a reminder of the life and work of an extraordinary activist whose revolutionary legacy continues to inspire fundamental change today.


These are the times that try our souls. Each of us needs to undergo a tremendous philosophical and spiritual transformation. Despite the powers and principals that are bent on objectifying and commodifying us and all our human relationships, the interlocking crises of our time require that we exercise the power within us to make principled choices in our ongoing daily and political lives—choices that will eventually although not inevitably (since there are no guarantees) make a difference.

How are we going to bring about these transformations? Politics as usual—debate and argument, even voting—are no longer sufficient. Our system of representative democracy, created by a great revolution, must now itself become the target of revolutionary change. For too many years counting, vast numbers of people stopped going to the polls, either because they did not care what happened to the country or the world or because they did not believe that voting would make a difference on the profound and interconnected issues that really matter. Now, with a surge of new political interest having give rise to the Obama presidency, we need to inject new meaning into the concept of the “will of the people.”

The will of too many Americans has been to pursue private happiness and take as little responsibility as possible for governing our country. As a result, we have left the job of governing to our elected representatives, even though we know that they serve corporate interests and therefore make decisions that threaten our biosphere and widen the gulf between the rich and poor both in our country and throughout the world. In other words, even though it is readily apparent that our lifestyle choices and the decisions of our representatives are increasing social injustice and endangering our planet, too many of us have wanted to continue going our merry and not-so-merry ways, periodically voting politicians in and out of office but leaving the responsibility for policy decisions to them. Our will has been to act like consumers, not like responsible citizens.

Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History with Grace Lee Boggs: “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls””


Finding Women in the State

by Wang Zheng, author of Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1964

This is our final guest post published in conjunction with the Association for Asian Studies conference in Toronto. Thank you for reading!

Hundreds and thousands of Chinese women from diverse backgrounds had joined the Communist Revolution between the early 1920s and late 1940s. Like many of their male comrades, many Communist women had died in battlefields or on execution grounds in their fight against the warlords, Japanese fascists, and Nationalist government. When the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war in 1949, there were five hundred and thirty thousands women members in the CCP who now became the state power holder. Except for a few books in English presenting portraits of Chinese Communist women who endured tremendous hardship in the vicissitudes of the revolutionary journey, these women who had been an important part of the epic of the Communist Revolution curiously vanished in scholarship examining the CCP’s leadership in building a socialist country.

Parallel to the absence of Communist women in scholarship in and outside China have been the dominant narratives of how the party-state did or did not liberate Chinese women. Accomplishments or failures in advancing women’s equal rights and social economic progress have been unfailingly attributed to a monolithic abstract entity – the party-state, a patriarch paradoxically adopting many pro-women policies in the socialist period. If feminist scholars in the English speaking world since the 1980s have shown logical coherence in criticizing the Chinese patriarchal state’s failure to fulfill its revolutionary promise of women’s liberation, scholars in post-socialist China have articulated many contradictory statements without historical research, from “Chinese women have been the most liberated in the world,” to “a crime of Maoist women’s liberation was to have masculinized Chinese women.”

Based on archival research and interviews of Communist women who were officials of the socialist state at various administrative levels, my book reveals the concealed and erased history of socialist state feminists’ endeavors to materialize their visions of socialist revolution. Continuing an anti-feudalist New Culture agenda, state feminists operated in diverse fields including the film industry to transform patriarchal cultural norms and promote gender equality laws, discourse, and practices. Their conscious combat against sexism in and outside the CCP constituted a contentious “gender line” of struggle within the power structure of the Party. Excavating a hidden feminist history in the Chinese socialist revolution, my book presents the first scholarly effort to investigate the high politics of the CCP and examines the demise of a socialist revolution from a gender perspective. I also raise critical questions of methodology in scholarship dealing with specific historical moments but without a historical approach.


Wang Zheng is Professor of Women’s Studies and History and Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Women in the Chinese Enlightenment: Oral and Textual Histories and the coeditor of From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society, Translating Feminisms in China,  and Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era.


Feminist Media Histories Celebrates Women’s History Month

To celebrate Women’s History Month Feminist Media Histories will be highlighting articles from past issues. Each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of March one FMH article will be free to download for 48 hours. We begin with Chika Kinoshita’s article, “Something More Than A Seduction Story: Shiga Akiko’s Abortion Scandal and Late 1930s Japanese Film Culture,” published in the inaugural issue two years ago and available now. A stunning example of how feminist media history can illuminate histories of stardom and moviegoing, while demonstrating the centrality of movie culture to larger discussions of gender and politics in many global contexts. Other articles featured this month will highlight writing on the cinema by filmmaker Esfir Shub and Ms. Magazine critics, the unsung work of female costume designers and radio pioneers, the challenge of digital preservation, lesbian film distribution in the 1970s, contemporary cyberfeminism in Iran and much more.

Featured articles will also showcase the range of special issues published by FMH, including Women and Soundwork, Histories of Celebrity, Materialisms, Found Footage, and Archives and Archivists.

Follow Feminist Media Histories on Facebook and Twitter to catch every free download this month. And watch for future issues on Gender + Comedy, Data, and Comics.

— Shelley Stamp
Editor, Feminist Media Histories