On International Women’s Day, we’re excited to celebrate the achievements of women globally and energized to continue pressing for gender equality. If you’re looking to learn the latest in women’s studies, consider exploring a few of our newest works in this impactful and progressive field.
From experimental shorts and web series to Hollywood blockbusters and feminist porn, the work of African American lesbian filmmakers has made a powerful contribution to film history. But despite its importance, this work has gone largely unacknowledged by cinema historians and cultural critics. Assembling a range of interviews, essays, and conversations, Sisters in the Life, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, tells a full story of out African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades.
On January 21, 2017, over 5 million people marched all over the world in support of women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, environmental policy reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and worker’s rights, among other causes. A few weeks ago we shared recent scholarship on the 2017 Women’s March itself, as well as continued journal scholarship on feminism and women’s rights. Check out “Positions in Solidarity: Voices and Images from the US Women’s Marches” by Deborah Frizzell in Cultural Politics and “The Women’s March: New York, January 21, 2017” by Caroline Walker Bynum in Common Knowledge.
A landmark exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. The Brooklyn Museum published two volumes related to the exhibition. The first, the Sourcebook, republishes an array of rare and little-known documents from the period by artists, writers, cultural critics, and art historians such as Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace. The second volume, New Perspectives, includes original essays and perspectives by Aruna D’Souza, Uri McMillan, Kellie Jones, and Lisa Jones that place the exhibition’s works in both historical and contemporary contexts, and also includes two new poems by Alice Walker. The exhibition is currently on display at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, through May 27.
Our Read to Respond: Feminism and Women’s Rights reading list features journal articles and books tackling topics from abortion laws, maternity leave, Islamic feminism, and more. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.
In the spring of 1994, the tiny African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by a genocide that left nearly a million dead. After the violence subsided, Rwanda’s women—drawn by the necessity of protecting their families—carved out unlikely new roles for themselves as visionary pioneers creating stability and reconciliation in genocide’s wake. In Rwandan Women Rising, Swanee Hunt shares the stories of some seventy women—heralded activists and unsung heroes alike—who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society.
In The Pursuit of Happiness Bianca C. Williams traces the experiences of African American women as they travel to Jamaica, where they address the perils and disappointments of American racism by looking for intimacy, happiness, and a connection to their racial identities. Through their encounters with Jamaican online communities and their participation in trips organized by Girlfriend Tours International, the women construct notions of racial, sexual, and emotional belonging by forming relationships with Jamaican men and other “girlfriends.”
World Policy Journal (WPJ) is the flagship publication of the World Policy Institute. For over thirty years the journal has been home to both distinguished and emerging thinkers from around the globe. Articles inject new ideas into international debates on the world’s most pressing issues. Essays and reported pieces cover global security, regional conflict, political controversy, and cultural and social change. The journal is known for lively, intelligent writing that challenges conventional wisdom and offers fresh perspectives on underreported issues. We’re highlighting three important articles from WPJ for International Women’s Day, made freely available until the end of the month:
- “A Seat at the Table: The Fight for Gender Parity in Kenya and Somalia” by Nanjala Nyabola
- “Goods Girls Revolt: The Future of Feminism in China” by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
- “A ‘Witch Hunt Against Poor Women’: Across the Americas, Abortion Laws are Harming Health and Security” by Angelika Albaladejo
In Considering Emma Goldman Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker for contemporary feminist politics. Rather than attempting to resolve the tensions and problems that Goldman’s thinking about race, gender, and sexuality pose for feminist thought, Hemmings embraces them, finding them to be helpful in formulating a new queer feminist praxis. She shows how serious engagement with Goldman’s political ambivalences opens up larger questions surrounding feminist historiography, affect, fantasy, and knowledge production.
Sara R. Farris, in In the Name of Women’s Rights, examines the demands for women’s rights from an unlikely collection of right-wing nationalist political parties, neoliberals, and some feminist theorists and policy makers. Focusing on contemporary France, Italy, and the Netherlands, Farris labels this exploitation and co-optation of feminist themes by anti-Islam and xenophobic campaigns as “femonationalism.” She shows that by characterizing Muslim males as dangerous to western societies and as oppressors of women, and by emphasizing the need to rescue Muslim and migrant women, these groups use gender equality to justify their racist rhetoric and policies.
In Passionate and Pious Monique Moultrie explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women’s sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God. These popular ministries exist largely beyond the traditional church, with dialogues about sex taking place in chat rooms and through text messages, social media, email, and other media. Moultrie reframes biblical interpretations and conceptions of what constitutes a healthy relationship to provide a basis for sexual decision making that does not privilege monogamy or deny female pleasure.
We’re spotlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies this month to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Follow the blog or sign up for email alerts to read more of the JMEWS blog series featuring the most widely read articles, a theme on war and empire, a special feature on co-editor miriam cooke, and more.
In seventeenth-century Lima, pious Catholic women gained profound theological understanding and enacted expressions of spiritual devotion by engaging with a wide range of sacred texts and objects, as well as with one another, their families, and ecclesiastical authorities. In Embodying the Sacred, Nancy E. van Deusen considers how women created and navigated a spiritual existence within the colonial city’s complex social milieu, transforming early modern Catholicism.
In Domestic Economies, Susanna Rosenbaum examines how two groups of women—Mexican and Central American domestic workers and the predominantly white, middle-class women who employ them—seek to achieve the “American Dream.” By juxtaposing their understandings and experiences, she illustrates how immigrant and native-born women strive to reach that ideal, how each group is indispensable to the other’s quest, and what a vital role reproductive labor plays in this pursuit.
Want to show your feminism to the world? We now offer Feminist Killjoy t-shirts, inspired by Sara Ahmed’s book Living a Feminist Life, in both adult and children’s sizes! You can pick one up (or grab one for a friend) here.