Women’s Studies

Reflections on Motherhood by Jane Lazarre

Mother’s Day was yesterday in the United States. Jane Lazarre originally wrote The Mother Knot, now a feminist classic, in 1976 and we republished it in 1997. The book has recently been translated into Spanish and is enjoying a resurgence in Spain. It remains highly relevant today and we hope you enjoy this excerpt from the preface.

978-0-8223-2039-5_prWhen I began to write seriously – that is in a disciplined way – when I was born, in other words, into being a writer, I also had just had a child. It was 1969. I thought I had nothing to write about because motherhood represented only something personal, not potentially transformative or transcendent, certainly not literary. It was a revelation to read writers such as Tillie Olsen who was using her experience of motherhood as metaphoric, enabling her to write of many layers of human experience. I have written many different stories since that revelation, but being a mother continued to be a central passion of my life, and so it was one of the experiences I most wanted to write about, for the same reasons any writer wants to write about her passions – to name them more accurately, to understand them, to convey meaning to others, to use one’s own life to think about life itself.

When I reread The Mother Knot today, I hear that voice, the young woman trying to learn how to be a mother while she is longing for a mother herself. She can be righteous, full of conviction, but she shouts for recognition of desire and the need for love.

I am a grandmother now. I have written about being a mother in fiction and memoir, about the ways motherhood and being a writer contradict each other in one life and the ways in which they enrich. I have written about sons being born, leaving home, becoming men, about being the white mother of Black sons – an education and transformation as profound as any I have experienced. I am a grandmother now, and still, the mother knot tightens and loosens for me. Protecting and constraining, it remains a source of my own reawakening.

Lazarre, Jane author photoJane Lazarre is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including The Communist and the Communist’s Daughter, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons, and Wet Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery, all also published by Duke University Press, as well as the novels Inheritance and Some Place Quite Unknown. She has won awards for her fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Lazarre founded and directed the undergraduate writing program at Eugene Lang College at the New School for ten years and taught creative writing and literature there for twenty years. She has also taught at the City College of New York and Yale University. Lazarre lives in New York City.

New Books in May

Jump-start your summer reading with one of our new titles this May!

In Coral Empire Ann Elias traces the history of two explorers whose photographs and films of tropical reefs in the 1920s cast corals and the sea as an unexplored territory to be exploited in ways that tied the tropics and reefs to colonialism, racism, and the human domination of nature.

The contributors to Remaking New Orleans, edited by Thomas Jessen Adams and Matt Sakakeeny, challenge the uncritical acceptance of New Orleans-as-exceptional narratives, showing how they flatten the diversity, experience, and culture of the city’s residents and obscure other possible understandings.

The ChasersRenato Rosaldo’s new prose poetry collection, The Chasers, shares his experiences and those of his group of twelve Mexican-American Tucson High School friends known as the Chasers as they grew up, graduated, and fell out of touch, conveying the realities of Chicano life on the borderlands from the 1950s to the present.

In Queering Black Atlantic Religions Roberto Strongman examines three Afro-diasporic religions—Hatian Vodou, Cuban Lucumí/Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé—to demonstrate how the commingling of humans and the divine during trance possession produce subjectivities whose genders are unconstrained by biological sex.

Written in 1937, published in Spanish in 1973, and appearing here in English for the first time, Freddy Prestol Castillo’s novel You Can Cross the Massacre on Foot is one of the few accounts of the 1937 massacre of tens of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.

Book Reports

In Book Reports, a generous collection of book reviews and literary essays, rock critic Robert Christgau shows readers a different side to his esteemed career with reviews of books ranging from musical autobiographies, criticism, and histories to novels, literary memoirs, and cultural theory.

The contributors to From Russia with Code, edited by Mario Biagioli and Vincent Antonin Lépinay, examine Russian computer scientists, programmers, and hackers in and outside of Russia within the context of new international labor markets and the economic, technological, and political changes in post-Soviet Russia.

In Camp TV Quinlan Miller reframes American television history by tracing a camp aesthetic and the common appearance of trans queer gender characters in both iconic and lesser known sitcoms throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

The coauthors of Decolonizing Ethnography integrate ethnography with activist work in a New Jersey center for undocumented workers, showing how anthropology can function as a vehicle for activism and as a tool for marginalized people to theorize their own experiences.

In Work! Elspeth H. Brown traces modeling’s history from the advent of photographic modeling in the early twentieth century to the rise of the supermodel in the 1980s, showing how it is both the quintessential occupation of a modern consumer economy and a practice that has been shaped by queer sensibilities.

In Figures of Time Toni Pape examines contemporary television that often presents a conflict-laden conclusion first before relaying the events that led up to that inevitable ending, showing how this narrative structure attunes audiences to the fear-based political doctrine of preemption—a logic that justifies preemptive action to nullify a perceived future threat.

In Anti-Japan Leo T. S. Ching traces the complex dynamics that shape persisting negative attitudes toward Japan throughout East Asia, showing how anti-Japanism stems from the failed efforts at decolonization and reconciliation, the U.S. military presence, and shifting geopolitical and economic conditions in the region.

The Cuba Reader

Tracking Cuban history from 1492 to the present, this revised and expanded second edition of The Cuba Reader presents myriad perspectives on Cuba’s history, culture, and politics, including a new section that explores the changes and continuities in Cuba since Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2006.

The Fernando Coronil Reader, a posthumously published collection of anthropologist Fernando Coronil’s most important work, highlights his deep concern with the global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach.

The extensively updated and revised third edition of the bestselling Social Medicine Reader (Volume I and Volume II) provides a survey of the challenging issues facing today’s health care providers, patients, and caregivers with writings by scholars in medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. It will be a great addition to courses in public health, medicine, nursing, and more.

Catherine Waldby traces how the history of the valuing of human oocytes—the reproductive cells specific to women—intersects with the biological and social life of women in her new book The Oocyte Economy.

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New Books in April

We’ve got great new reads in April in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, feminism and women’s studies, and much more.

978-1-4780-0390-8_prIn Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia in the second half of the twentieth century, showing democracy to be a historically unstable and contentious practice.

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Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers in Mumbai—who are assumed to not exist—to live during a period of deindustrialization, showing in The Archive of Loss how mills and workers’ bodies constitute an archive of Mumbai’s history that challenge common thinking about the city’s past, present, and future.

Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century polar explorers, showing in The News at the Ends of the Earth how ship newspapers and other writing shows how explores wrestled with questions of time, space, and community while providing them with habits to survive the extreme polar climate.

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In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical conditions for the persistence of art’s autonomy from the realm of the commodity by showing how an artist’s commitment to form and by demanding interpretive attention elude the logic of capital.

In a revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

Exploring a wide range of sonic practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors to Remapping Sound Studies, edited by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, reorient the field of sound studies toward the global South in order to rethink and decolonize modes of understanding and listening to sound.

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In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of seventeen year old Víctor Manuel Vital, aka Frente, who was killed by police in the slums of Buenos Aires.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities.

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On Chantal Akerman: Camera Obscura’s 100th Issue

cob_34_1_100_coverCongratulations to Camera Obscura, which just published its 100th issue, “On Chantal Akerman”!

This special issue recognizes the work and legacy of Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1950–2015), among the world’s most influential filmmakers. Akerman and her film Jeanne Dielman were covered in the first issues of Camera Obscura.

Contributors to this issue include Camera Obscura‘s founding editors Janet Bergstrom and Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Jeanne Dielman cinematographer Babette Mangolte, leading Akerman scholars Maureen Turim and Ivone Margulies, film editor Claire Atherton, and composer and cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton, among many others.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, freely available.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

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Today is International Women’s Day, a day to recognize the achievements of women globally. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter: building a more gender-balanced world. We’re excited to share recent books and journals from Duke University Press that align with this mission and celebrate women around the world and throughout history.

Black Feminism Reimagined

In Black Feminism Reimagined Jennifer C. Nash reframes black feminism’s engagement with intersectionality, contending that black feminists should let go of their possession and policing of the concept in order to better unleash black feminist theory’s visionary and world-making possibilities.

The contributors to Seeking Rights from the Left, edited by Elisabeth Jay Friedman, evaluate the impact of the Latin American “Pink Tide” of left-leaning governments (2000-2015) on feminist, women’s, and LGBT movements and issues.

Second World, Second SexKristen Ghodsee recuperates the lost history of feminist activism in Second World, Second Sex by showing how women from state socialist Bulgaria and socialist-leaning Zambia created networks and alliances that challenged American women’s leadership of the global women’s movement.

A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History by Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching women, gender, and sexuality history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate the subject into their world history classes.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities. Spirit on the Move will be out in April.

Vexy ThingIn Vexy Thing Imani Perry recenters patriarchy to contemporary discussions of feminism through a social and literary analysis of cultural artifacts—ranging from nineteenth-century slavery court cases and historical vignettes to literature and contemporary art—from the Enlightenment to the present.

Drawing on numerous examples from popular culture, Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny in her book, Empowered, as it plays out in advertising, online and multi-media platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns, showing how feminism is often met with a backlash of harassment, assault, and institutional neglect.

You may also be interested in these journals in feminist and women’s studies:

MER_17_2_coverimageMeridians, an interdisciplinary feminist journal, features scholarship and creative work by and about women of color in U.S. and international contexts. It engages the complexity of debates around feminism, race, and transnationalism in a dialogue across ethnic, national, and disciplinary boundaries.

differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies highlights interdisciplinary, theoretical debates that address the ways concepts and categories of difference—notably but not exclusively gender—operate within culture. It first appeared in 1989 at the moment of a critical encounter—a head-on collision, one might say—of theories of difference (primarily Continental) and the politics of diversity (primarily American).

MEW_15_1_coverimageThe Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Camera Obscura provides a forum for scholarship and debate on feminism, culture, and media studies. It explores areas such as the conjunctions of gender, race, class, and sexuality with audiovisual culture; new histories and theories of film, television, video, and digital media; and politically engaged approaches to a range of media practices.

 

Remembering Carolee Schneemann

We are sorry to learn of the death of feminist artist Carolee Schneemann, best known for her performance pieces Meat Joy and Interior Scroll. Several of our books feature or engage with Schneemann’s innovative and influential work.

978-0-8223-4511-4_prIn 2010 we published Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle, edited by Duke University Professor of Art Kristine Stiles. The book collects correspondence between Schneemann and those she called “her tribe,” including composer James Tenney, the filmmaker Stan Brakhage, the artist Dick Higgins, the dancer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer, the poet Clayton Eshleman, and the psychiatrist Joseph Berke.

Our 2000 book M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Theory, and Criticism features an interview with Schneemann by Aviva Rahmani. In the interview, about the censorship of her work, Shneemann says, “My work within erotic and political taboos has been fueled by the constraints of sexism, but my work has offended both men and women, and been defended by both women and men; my work has offended granting agencies and institutions, and been supported by granting agencies and institutions. I like the margins to slip on . . . the uncertainty. From the margins I’ve been free to attack, to sniff out the leaking repressions and denial of subordination.”

The 2007 collection Women’s Experimental Cinema contains an article by M.M. Serra and Kathryn Ramey entitled “Eye/Body: The Cinematic Paintings of Carolee Schneemann,” which begins with a quote from Schneemann: “I’m still a painter and I will always be in essence a painter. . . . Painting doesn’t have to mean that you’re holding a brush in your hand. It might or it might not. It might be a camera. It might be a microphone. It might be your own body that when you go inside the frame and when you adjust your focus you see that the materiality of what you’re working with might include yourself in a force
field.” The authors analyze Schneeman’s use of her own body in her art. They conclude, “Carolee Schneemann persistently enacts the ‘eye/body,’ the seeing, active artist agent and continues to make work that challenges convention and expands our understanding of what painting, performance, and film are or can be.”

Kristine Stiles says, “Carolee Schneemann’s legacy will remain vibrant in her consummately original work. It was a privilege to be her friend for some forty years, however tumultuous. I will miss our regular Sunday telephone calls, her brilliant mind, lively sense of humor, and intrepid devotion to art.”  We join Stiles in mourning this important artist.

New Books in March

Spring brings a fresh crop of new books. Check out what’s new in March.

The Politics of Operations, edited by Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, investigates how capital reshapes its relation with politics, showing how contemporary capitalism operates through the extraction of mineral resources, data, and cultures; the logistical organization of relations between people, property, and objects; and the penetration of financialization into all realms of economic life.

Zorach cover with border low resIn Art for People’s Sake Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how its artistic innovations, institution building, and community engagement helped the residents of Chicago’s South and West Sides respond to social, political, and economic marginalization.

Drawing on previously unexamined archives, the contributors to The Revolution from Within, edited by Michael Bustamante and Jessica Lambe, examine the Cuban Revolution from a Cuba-centric perspective by foregrounding the experience of everyday Cubans in analyses of topics ranging from agrarian reform and fashion to dance and the Mariel Boatlift.

978-1-4780-0380-9.jpgIn Hush Mack Hagood outlines how noise-cancelling headphones, tinnitus maskers, white noise machines, nature-sound mobile apps, and other forms of media give users the ability to create sonic safe spaces for themselves, showing how the desire to block certain sounds are informed by ideologies of race, gender, and class.

In Thought Crime Max Ward explores the Japanese state’s efforts to suppress political radicalism in the 1920s and 1930s through the enforcement of what it called thought crime, providing a window into understanding how modern states develop ideological apparatuses to subject their respective populations.

In Breaking Bad and Cinematic Television, Angelo Restivo uses the innovative show Breaking Bad as a point of departure for theorizing a new aesthetics of television in which the concept of the cinematic points to the ways in which television can change the ways viewers relate to and interact with the world.978-1-4780-0092-1.jpg

Examining the work of writers and artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Allan deSouza, in The Difference Aesthetics Makes Kandice Chuh advocates for what she calls “illiberal humanism” as a way to counter the Eurocentric liberal humanism that perpetuates structures of social inequality.

In Surrogate Humanity Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system that is entrenched in and reinforces racial capitalism and patriarchy.

In The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery Alys Eve Weinbaum investigates the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary capitalism, showing how black feminist thought offers the best means through which to understand the myriad ways slavery continues to haunt the present.

Eliza Steinbock’s Shimmering Images traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change, thereby opening up new means to understand transgender ontologies and epistemologies.

978-1-4780-0091-4.jpgGökçe Günel’s Spaceship in the Desert examines the development and construction of Masdar City, a zero-carbon city built by Abu Dhabi that houses a research institute for renewable energy which implemented a series of green technologies and infrastructures as a way to deal with climate change and prepare for a post-oil future.

In Developments in Russian Politics 9 an international team of experts provide a comprehensive and critical discussion of the country’s most recent developments, offering substantive coverage of the key areas in domestic and foreign Russian politics, perfect for courses on Russia today.

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Intersectional Before It Was Cool: A Guest Post by Kristen Ghodsee

Kristen Ghodsee 2017 BW (1)Today’s guest post is by Kristen Ghodsee, author, most recently, of Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women’s Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War, out this month.

Four years before Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw’s seminal 1989 paper, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” African women were fighting to have a discussion of apartheid included on the program of the United Nations Third World Conference on Women to be held in Nairobi in the summer of 1985. Ever since the First World Conference on Women held in Mexico City a decade earlier, liberal feminists from the United States had insisted that a women’s conference should only discuss the status of women. Other topics not relevant to the promotion of gender equality, they argued, should be discussed (by the men) in the General Assembly. In response, women from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, together with their allies from the state socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Cuba, protested that a women’s conference should allow women the chance to speak about all global concerns, regardless of whether they were specifically “women’s issues.”

For their part, the Americans in the official delegation considered the discussion of topics like apartheid or the need for a New International Economic Order (NIEO) an unnecessary “politicization” of the meetings. Directives from the Department of State and the U.S. House of Representatives admonished the official American delegates to the women’s conferences to narrowly focus on “women’s issues.” In response, the women of the Second and Third Worlds argued that you could not separate “women’s issues” from issues of racism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. What was the point, the African women asked, of discussing women’s rights in South Africa when the category of “woman” was so obviously divided by race? What was the point, the East European women queried, of discussing women’s rights in societies divided into classes of oppressors and oppressed?

978-1-4780-0181-2Although they did not have a name for their shared perspective, those women in the Global South and the state socialist East who believed that you could not discuss the issues of gender independently from issues of race and class were in fact promoting a kind of proto-intersectionality, one fiercely resisted by representatives from the First World countries. In Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women’s Activism and Global Solidarity During the Cold War, I trace the important alliances between socialist and socialist-leaning women in Bulgaria and Zambia and their impacts on the shape of the global women’s movement during the United Nations International Women’s Year (1975) and the subsequent United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985). I argue that the story of the international coalition of women who advocated for stronger states and larger social safety nets (supported by the public ownership of industry) is one that has been erased by the Western feminist historiography of this era. This political solidarity of non-Western women provided an important challenge to liberal feminism on the world stage, and in many respects, the Cold War competition between the West and the East/South over which economic system could best promote women’s rights proved an important catalyst for rapid social progress.

In her intellectual history of women and the United Nations, the Indian economist Devaki Jain lamented the loss of the Cold War context because with its demise she believed that women of the Global South lost their ability to forge paths independent of Western economic and political hegemony: “The fading out of the Cold War . . . removed a vital political umbrella that had sheltered the women of the South, given them a legitimacy to stake a claim for justice as part of the movements to address domination” (Jain 84). Jain clearly acknowledged the important role of the solidarity between women the state socialist East and women from the Global South: “The Socialist bloc had supported approaches that required a strong state, a thrust toward public provision of basic services, and a more equitable global economic program such as the New International Economic Order. It was often an ally of the newly liberated states as they attempted to forge coalitions . . . to negotiate with their former colonial masters” (Jain 103). The liberal feminists in the United States and Western Europe had access to financial resources that far exceeded those of the women’s activists in the rest of the world, but I argue that the rest of the world’s women forged coalitions that gave them strength in numbers.

Although there is no doubt that larger geopolitical concerns informed these ongoing relationships (the Eastern Bloc countries were always trying to score moral points against the United States and its allies), I argue that the women affiliated with this global leftist women’s movement truly believed in the idea of proto-intersectionality and that issues of gender equality could not (and should not) ever be separated from the larger political contexts within which women lived. The records of the debates at the United Nations as well as countless international publications produced and circulated during the International Women’s Year and the International Women’s Decade clearly show us today that non-Western socialist women were intersectional ­­– before it was cool.

Kristen Ghodsee is Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of five books with Duke University Press. You can save 30% on her most recent title, Second World, Second Sex, on our website using coupon code E19SWSS.

Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema

The most recent issue of Camera Obscura, “Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema,” edited by Hester Baer and Angelica Fenner, is now available.

cob_33_3_99_coverSince German unification, many of the gains achieved during the feminist film movement of the 1970s have been undone, not least as a result of the dismantling of redistributive funding policies in the face of the global free market. Yet the rise of the Berlin School, the development of production collectives fostering women’s filmmaking, and the Pro Quote Film movement promoting gender parity in the film industry through quotas make the time ripe for a reconsideration of the relations between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in Germany.

This special issue reframes the legacies of the feminist film movement of the 1970s and 1980s in the context of the resurgence of film feminism in the 2010s. Arguing that German cinema constitutes a key site for theorizing women’s film authorship and feminist film production today, contributors to the issue investigate the relationship between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in light of neoliberalism and post-feminism.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

You may also find these titles on international women’s cinema interesting.

Womens_Cinema_World_Cinema_coverWomen′s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms, edited by Patricia White, explores the dynamic intersection of feminism and film in the twenty-first century by highlighting the work of a new generation of women directors from around the world:  Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf, Nadine Labaki, Zero Chou, Jasmila Zbanic, and Claudia Llosa, among others. The emergence of a globalized network of film festivals has enabled these young directors to make and circulate films that are changing the aesthetics and politics of art house cinema and challenging feminist genealogies.

Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, tells a full story of African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades. In essays on filmmakers including Angela Robinson, Tina Mabry and Dee Rees; on the making of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman(1996); and in interviews with Coquie Hughes, Pamela Jennings, and others, the contributors center the voices of black lesbian media makers while underscoring their artistic influence and reach as well as the communities that support them.

In The Battle of the Sexes in French Cinema, 1930–1956, by Noël Burch and Geneviève Sellier, adopt a sociocultural approach to films made in France before, during, and after World War II, paying particular attention to the Occupation years (1940–44). The authors contend that the films produced from the 1930s until 1956—when the state began to subsidize the movie industry, facilitating the emergence of an “auteur cinema”—are important, both as historical texts and as sources of entertainment. Citing more than 300 films and providing many in-depth interpretations, Burch and Sellier argue that films made in France between 1930 and 1956 created a national imaginary that equated masculinity with French identity.

African Feminisms

coverimageThe most recent special issue of Meridians, “African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Alicia C. Decker and Gabeba Baderoon, is now available.

Read the full issue, freely available until March 5.

As the contributors to this issue show, African feminisms not only vary widely in form but also maintain vibrant and sometimes tense relations with one another around topics such as sexuality, national policies, and transnational solidarity. Such diversity and tensions, far from presenting a disadvantage, spur innovative and politically radical approaches in the field. The multiplicity of feminisms theorized in this issue help challenge patriarchal ideologies and structures both in Africa and beyond. “African Feminisms” includes poetry, memoir, interview, testimonio, and more, alongside essays on topics such as the framing of Nigerian girls as victims in need of saving, feminisms in African hip-hop, and sex worker advocacy groups in Africa.

Also check out these recent recent related titles:

An Intimate RebukeIn An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

In Rwandan Women Rising, Ambassador Swanee Hunt shares the stories of over ninety women, who in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, overcame unfathomable brutality, suffering, loss, and seemingly unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society by addressing common problems ranging from health care, rape, and housing to poverty, education, and mental health.

Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance in Illegible Will to examine the absence of black women’s will from that archive, showing that alternative critical imaginings juxtaposed against traditional historical research can help to locate where agency and will may reside.