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New Books in Gender

Interviews with Scholars of Gender about their New BooksSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

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Erika Denise Edwards, "Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic" (U Alabama Press, 2020)

Argentina promotes itself as a country of European immigrants. This makes it an exception to other Latin American countries, which embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic (University of Alabama Press, 2020) traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and that of their children.Erika Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in Córdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.Adam McNeil is a 2nd-year Ph.D. Student in History at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 12mins

21 Feb 2020

Rank #1

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Okezi Otovo, "Progressive Mothers, Better Babies: Race, Public Health, and the State in Brazil, 1850-1945" (U Texas Press, 2016)

Okezi Otovo’s Progressive Mothers, Better Babies: Race, Public Health, and the State in Brazil, 1850-1945 (U Texas Press, 2016) explores the intersecting histories of race, gender, and class in modern Brazil. Between 1850 and 1945, the period covered in the book, Brazil experienced a range of profound socio-political transformations: from the end of the transatlantic slave trade (1850), to the wholesale abolition of slavery (1988), the demise of the monarchy followed by the rise of a republican system of government, and the ultimate inauguration of the Vargas dictatorship. Set in Bahia, the book considers the impact of these changes in the lives of black mothers and their children by following the rise of the maternalist movement in Brazil and its relationship to international discourses on race, public health reform, and national modernity. In addition to tracking changes to medical ideas about motherhood and children, Okezi Otovo gives agency to these black and brown mothers and considers both how they acted and were acted upon by physicians, public health reformers, and newly-formed welfare institutions. Progressive Mothers, Better Babies provides an important contribution to scholarship working at the intersections of race, class, gender, public health, and medical thought. It will be an important read to anyone seeking to grapple with the essential role assigned to mothers – specifically to black and brown, poor women – by physicians and public health reformers in a deeply patriarchal society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 13mins

30 Jul 2019

Rank #2

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Julian Gill-Peterson, "Histories of the Transgender Child" (U Minnesota Press, 2018)

With transgender rights front and center in American politics, media, and culture, the pervasive myth still exists that today’s transgender children are a brand new generation—pioneers in a field of new obstacles and hurdles. Histories of the Transgender Child (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) shatters this myth, uncovering a previously unknown twentieth-century history when transgender children not only existed but preexisted the term transgender and its predecessors, playing a central role in the medicalization of trans people, and all sex and gender.Beginning with the early 1900s when children with “ambiguous” sex first sought medical attention, to the 1930s when transgender people began to seek out doctors involved in altering children’s sex, to the invention of the category gender, and finally the 1960s and ‘70s when, as the field institutionalized, transgender children began to take hormones, change their names, and even access gender confirmation, Julian Gill-Peterson reconstructs the medicalization and racialization of children’s bodies. Throughout, they foreground the racial history of medicine that excludes black and trans of color children through the concept of gender’s plasticity, placing race at the center of their analysis and at the center of transgender studies.Until now, little has been known about early transgender history and life and its relevance to children. Using a wealth of archival research from hospitals and clinics, including incredible personal letters from children to doctors, as well as scientific and medical literature, this book reaches back to the first half of the twentieth century—a time when the category transgender was not available but surely existed, in the lives of children and parents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 4mins

8 Jan 2019

Rank #3

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Emily Skidmore, "True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the 20th Century" (NYU Press, 2017)

In True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the 20th Century (New York University Press, 2017), Emily Skidmore weaves in a vibrant discussion on how trans men created community and crafted their lives in rural America at the turn of the twentieth century. As Skidmore contends, “True Sex reveals not only did trans men at the turn of the twentieth century often chose to live in small towns and rural outposts, but they also often sought to pass as normative men aligning themselves with the values of their chosen communities rather than seeking consolation in the presence of other queer individuals.” Her work contributes and also challenges conventional understandings of LGBT community formation. By incorporating the stories of Harry Gorman, Jack Garland, Frank Dubois, George Green, Ralph Kerwineo, and many more, Skidmore illustrates that local newspapers and residents understood queer embodiment under heteronormativity, whiteness, and acceptability, but this positionality was not always in accordance with national newspapers. And more specifically, Skidmore finds that U.S. involvement in global affairs also influenced the ways in which Americans understood the lived experiences of trans men at the turn of the century. Skidmore has conducted meticulous research and thereby opens a window for understanding the richness that comes from relying on digital advancements for writing LGBT histories. Turn the volume up and listen in to this episode!Tiffany Jasmin González is a Ph.D. candidate of History at Texas A&M University. Her research centers on the 20th Century US, Latinx history, American politics, social movements, borderlands, and women & gender. Her dissertation, Representation for a Change: Women in Government and the Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement in Texas showcases the labor that Latinas conducted for the realignment of the Democratic Party since the 1970s. You can follow Tiffany on Twitter @T_J_Gonzalez Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 3mins

23 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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Kelly J. Beard, "An Imperfect Rapture" (Zone 3 Press, 2018)

Many of you listening to this now probably recall growing up in a household of faith. You may have fond memories of the familiar rituals, the holidays, the shared family values. A weekly service at a church, a temple or a mosque. For many worshippers, religion can provide a sense of comfort in an otherwise uncertain universe. But for some, being in communion with God can mean placing your faith above all else—including your own children.Such was the case for writer Kelly J. Beard, whose family struggled to feed themselves under the fundamentalist purview of the Desert Chapel. In a new book, An Imperfect Rapture, Beard describes growing up in a community that required its members to participate in excessive tithing, among other practices designed to prey on those who had the least to give. As a child of the 1960s with a strong spirit, Beard defied the religious tenants of her upbringing, seeking to learn more about the world beyond the church and discovering her love of music, travel, and writing in the process. Winner of the Zone 3 Press Nonfiction Book Prize, An Imperfect Rapture (2018) tells the incredible story of one woman’s redemptive journey through an oppressive religious childhood, exploring the ways we both can and can’t transcend the circumstances we’re born into.Today on New Books in Literature, join us as we sit down with Kelly J. Beard to learn more about An Imperfect Rapture, available now from Zone 3 Press.Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral student at Ohio University, where she studies creative nonfiction and teaches writing classes. For more NBn interviews, follow her on Twitter @zoebossiere or head to zoebossiere.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

54mins

15 Apr 2019

Rank #5

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Elizabeth Otto, "Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics" (MIT Press, 2019)

In this segment of New Books in History, Jana Byars talks with Elizabeth “Libby” Otto, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies and Executive Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Buffalo about her forthcoming work, Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (MIT Press, 2019). The MIT press release appropriately notes that Otto “liberates Bauhaus history” with this work, drawing the focus from the handful of male artists like Klee and Breuer outward as she considers the other 1200 odd Bauhäusler. Otto discusses spiritism, gender constructions, and the nature of queer before turning her attention to the unavoidable political landscape of the 1930s. Our conversation was wide ranging and as edifying as it was fun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 14mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #6

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Greta LaFleur, "The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2018)

In The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), Greta LaFleur invites readers to consider a different body. The book effectively historicizes categories that are often take for granted (sex, race, vice, habit), and shows us not only their temporal contingency, but by inviting the reader to delve into the strangeness of early modern ontologies and epistemologies. Prof. LaFleur ultimately crafts a space of possibility for different futures as well. These are futures of greater intersectional solidarity in which we are invited to think about the collective, and move past the dominance of the individual, the subjective and modern biopoliticized body. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 20mins

4 Jul 2019

Rank #7

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Kristen R. Ghodsee, "Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War" (Duke UP, 2019)

Last week, I had the privilege to talk with Dr. Kristen R. Ghodsee about her most recent book Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War (Duke University Press, 2019) and the behind-the-scene details of its making. Ghodsee is a professor in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of nine books and many more articles and essays.Second World, Second Sex addresses a telling gap in the historiography of women rights movements – the contributions of the Second World women rights activists. While careful not to idealize the socialist authoritarian regimes, Ghodsee reveals how deeply problematic and unfair it is to define feminism based on Western-inspired definitions of self-fulfillment or grassroot activism and to dismiss the achievements of women’s state organizations in the Eastern bloc as top-down policies and socialist propaganda.Aiming to retell the UN Decade for Women from a non-Western perspective, this book follows the participation of the Bulgarian and Zambian delegations in the international conferences in Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi (1985). The author makes use of a painstaking multi-site archival research and compassionate oral histories, to reconstruct the conferences and their context of arduous preparations and ideological tensions. The book’s approach to the conferences is very factual but also offers a lot of context, which helps the reader to better understand the main points of conflict between the Western delegates and the delegates from the developing and non-aligning countries. Ironically, what was rebranded in the 1990’s as “intersectionality” was the main argument of the state socialist women activists much earlier, namely, that the discussions of women’s rights separately from other social injustices such as racism, imperialism and colonialism are ultimately futile.Curiously enough, Ghodsee’s comparative overview of the state of women’s rights before the UN Decade reveals that socialist states were forerunners of women’s rights with generous maternal leaves and state-run childcare among others. Moreover, the author reminds us, that the US government’s attention to women’s issues in the 1960s was actually a direct response to the threat coming from the USSR where women’s brains and forces were put into service of the rivalry with the West.Thus, in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War, Ghodsee sees the current political and cultural hegemony of the West as rather disadvantageous in terms women’s rights. There is no rivalry to push governments to do better and women remaining in the periphery hardly benefit from having equal access to the free market in their crime-ridden and economically dependent from the West countries with dismantled welfare systems.Marina Kadriu is an international MA student in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

1hr 9mins

20 Jun 2019

Rank #8

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Leigh Goodmark, "Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence" (U California Press, 2018)

Thanks to the efforts of activists concerned that the problem of “battered women” was being ignored -- and treated as a private, family matter rather than a broader social problem -- since the 1980s interpersonal/domestic violence has been treated as a criminal act enforced by the institutions of American criminal justice. But too seldom have we asked if this approach has actually worked. In her powerful and provocative new book, Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence (University of California Press, 2018), Leigh Goodmark asks us to evaluate the effects of criminalizing domestic violence and to consider what might be gained by thinking about interpersonal violence as a problem of economics, public health, community, and human rights.Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A Peoples History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/gender-studies

28mins

4 Feb 2019

Rank #9