New Books in Women's History

Discussions with scholars of women's history about their new books

Books
History
Social Sciences
801
Elizabeth Goldsmith, “The King’s Mistresses” (P...
As Elizabeth Goldsmith writes in The King’s Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin (PublicAffairs, 2012), the Mazarin sisters were “arguably the first media celebrities.
41 min
802
Nwando Achebe, “The Female King of Colonial Nig...
When I saw Nwando Achebe‘s book The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe (Indiana University Press, 2011), I thought: “Really? A female king? Cool!” It turns out Ahebi Ugbabe was not only a female king, but also a female husband and father.
71 min
803
Timothy Grainey, “Beyond ‘Bend It Like Beckham’...
Two days before this year’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, the top two women’s clubs in Europe played on the same pitch, at Munich’s Olympic Stadium, in the final match of the Women’s Champions League.
52 min
804
Trevor Getz and Liz Clarke, “Abina and the Impo...
Imagine this: a young African girl, barefoot but wearing a dress and head wrap, clenches her fists and looks you in the eye. Behind her a semi-circle of men, some in suits and some in kente cloth, turn their backs to her. The girl is Abina,
74 min
805
Sally Bedell Smith, “Elizabeth the Queen: The L...
The second-longest reigning British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has always remained an elusive figure, a monumental accomplishment given the media attention focused upon her family. In her new book, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Ra...
41 min
806
Erin D. Chapman, “Prove It On Me: New Negroes, ...
Whoever states the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” grossly underestimates. So Erin D. Chapman shows in Prove It On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s (Oxford University Press, 2012).
71 min
807
Gail Hershatter, “The Gender of Memory: Rural W...
When I teach my course on gender, sexuality, and human rights, my students invariably want to talk about China’s one-child policy. They imagine living in a state where the government tells you how many children you can have – and they’re horrified.
74 min
808
Kathryn Lofton, “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon” ...
In December of 2011, Oprah Winfrey appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about her new big plans and her inspirations for the future. Oprah replied, “For me at this particular time in my life I recognize that everything is about moving closer to that whi...
76 min
809
Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr., “Margaret M...
Much ink has been spilled in telling the story of the making of Gone With the Wind– be it the book, the movie, or the subsequent musicals and merchandise. So it’s not only refreshing but downright commendable that in their biography,
36 min
810
Matthew Dennis, “Seneca Possessed: Indians, Wit...
The birth of the American republic produced immense and existential challenges to Native people in proximity to the fledgling nation. Perhaps none faced a greater predicament than the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (popularly known as the...
59 min
811
Anna Krylova, “Soviet Women in Combat: A Histor...
We’re all familiar with the film cliche of the little band of soldiers who in ordinary life never would have had met, but who learn to appreciate each other in the battles of World War II. All white, of course: African Americans would have to wait till...
82 min
812
Leslie Brody, “Irrepressible: The Life and Time...
For years, biographers have been fascinated by the Mitfords, a quiet aristocratic British family with six beautiful daughters, nearly all of them famous for their controversial and stylish lives. There’s Nancy,
51 min
813
Heather Munro Prescott, “The Morning After: A H...
What would a Presidential campaign be without a good dose of reproductive politics? To be sure, many of us are surprised to see contraception, and not just abortion, called into question – but maybe that’s because the intensity of abortion politics has...
41 min
814
Charlotte Witt, “The Metaphysics of Gender” (Ox...
Is your gender essential to who you are? If you were a man instead of a woman, or vice versa, would you be a different person? In her new bookThe Metaphysics of Gender (Oxford University Press, 2011), Charlotte Witt found that most people answered that...
69 min
815
Elizabeth West, “African Spirituality in Black ...
Elizabeth West has written an insightful study about the presence of African spirituality in the autobiographies, poetry, speeches and novels of African American women, ranging from Phylis Wheatley to Harriet Wilson to Zora Neale Hurston.
44 min
816
Karen Abbott, “American Rose: A Nation Laid Bar...
As a whole, the genre of biography trends towards linear narratives–wherein the events of a subject’s life are tracked in the order that they occurred. This makes sense, as it’s how we live our lives, but there are advantages that come with non-linear ...
36 min
817
William Kuhn, “Reading Jackie: Her Autobiograph...
Nearly twenty years after the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, biographers are not only continuing to tell her story but finding provocative new ways to do so. In particular, a big bravo to William Kuhn for considering the former First Lady in a co...
47 min
818
Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, “Dorothy West’s Parad...
One lesson that the ever-present trickster figure in African American folklore teaches is how to use signifying to protect one’s intimate self. A challenge of writing Dorothy West’s life is getting beyond the masks she presents before the ever-prying g...
69 min
819
Carolyn Burke, “No Regrets: The Life of Edith P...
Edith Piaf’s story is rife with drama. The daughter of an acrobat and a singer, she was the first French superstar and sang with wild abandon in a voice that rivaled Judy Garland’s. And yet, so often Piaf’s high-spirits are used against her and her lif...
4 min
820
Mia Bay, “To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of...
I can’t remember when I first saw one of those horrible photographs of a lynching, with crowds of white people, kids included, laughing and pointing at the mangled black body hanging from a tree. I do know that such images were part of my childhood men...
74 min
821
Vincent Carretta, “Phillis Wheatley: Biography ...
Few people can claim to have created a literary genre… Phillis Wheatley did. By the time she was twenty, her name- taken from the slave ship that carried her to America and the family that bought her upon arrival- would be known throughout the world.
50 min
822
Amanda Smith, “Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Li...
“When your grandmother gets raped, put it on the front page.” That was the Medill family editorial policy and Eleanor Medill “Cissy” Patterson embraced it enthusiastically. The granddaughter of the Chicago Tribune‘s founder,
60 min
823
Jean H. Baker, “Margaret Sanger: A Life of Pass...
Forty-five years after her death, the reproductive rights activist Margaret Sanger remains a polarizing figure. Conservatives attack her social liberalism while liberals shy away from her perceived advocacy of eugenics and her supposed socialist tenden...
63 min
824
Niamh Reilly, “Women’s Human Rights: Seeking Ge...
Today, you can open your newspaper and find stories about mass rape in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, death sentences for adulterous women in Iran, or Central American women smuggled into the US for the purposes of sexual slavery.
73 min
825
Alice Bag, “Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Ho...
I saw “The Decline of Western Civilization,” Penelope Spheeris’s film documenting the late seventies punk scene in Los Angeles, when it was first released in 1981/82. Performances by the “popular” bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, X,
61 min
826
Stacy Schiff, “Cleopatra: A Life” (Back Bay Boo...
Aside from being aesthetically equated to Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra has not fared well in history. In her riveting biography Cleopatra: A Life (Back Bay Books, 2011), which is now out in paperback, Stacy Schiff establishes that this was primarily bec...
39 min
827
Kitty Kelley, “Oprah: A Biography” (Three River...
When she emerged triumphant in a legal battle with the Texas beef industry, Oprah Winfrey took to the steps of the Amarillo court house and declared: “Free speech rocks!” She was likely a little less enthusiastic about the First Amendment following the...
53 min
828
Yi-Li Wu’s book, “Reproducing Women: Medicine, ...
In what must be one of the most well-organized and clearly-written books in the history of academic writing, Yi-Li Wu‘s book, Reproducing Women: Medicine, Metaphor, and Childbirth in Late Imperial China (University of California Press, 2010),
70 min
829
Jennifer Frost, “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Cele...
Any pop culture scholar worth her salt will tell you that discussion of Beyonce’s baby bump or Charlie Sheen’s unique sex life is far from apolitical, but, at times, gossip columnists have engaged more transparently in political debate. Hedda Hopper,
55 min
830
Yasmin Saikia, “Women, War, and the Making of B...
It’s almost a cliche to say that war dehumanizes those who participate in it – the organizers of violence, those who commit violent acts, and the victims of violence. In her new book, Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 (Duke Uni...
56 min
831
Jennifer Ring, “Stolen Bases: Why American Girl...
It’s October. In the American sports calendar, that means it’s time for the baseball playoffs. My team, the Minnesota Twins, wasn’t even close this year, going from first place last year to the cellar this year.
61 min
832
Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection: Choosin...
The students in my undergraduate class on gender, sexuality, and human rights are a pretty tough bunch. They know they’re in for some unpleasant topics: sex trafficking, domestic violence, mass rape in wartime.
52 min
833
Robert J. Corber, “Cold War Femme: Lesbianism, ...
The study of non-heteronormative sexualities in the academy continues to be remarkably dynamic. Despite the usual attempts to harden the frame around this scholarship, it remains consistently exciting and surprising. Robert J.
42 min
834
Deborah Whaley, “Disciplining Women: Alpha Kapp...
Deborah Whaley’s new book Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (SUNY Press, 2010) may be the first full-length study of a Black Greek-Letter Organization (BGLO) written by a non-BGLO...
53 min
835
Don Van Natta, Jr., “Wonder Girl: The Magnifice...
My older daughter is twelve years old. Like many girls her age, she has spent countless hours on the soccer field. She has played volleyball and run cross-country at her school. She was the catcher for her Little League baseball team.
55 min
836
Lori Meeks, “Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Fem...
Scholars have long been fascinated by the Kamakura era (1185-1333) of Japanese history, a period that saw the emergence of many distinctively Japanese forms of Buddhism. And while a lot of this attention overshadows other equally important periods of J...
56 min
837
Carrie Pitzulo, “Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sex...
Playboy is having (another) moment. Since its fiftieth birthday in 2003, the brand’s relevance has risen after a period of decline. The Girls Next Door, a reality television show about the goings-on at Hugh Hefner’s Los Angeles mansion,
70 min
838
Megan Marshall, “The Peabody Sisters: Three Wom...
This interview is re-posted with permission from Jenny Attiyeh’s ThoughtCast.] Author Megan Marshall has recently written a well-received biography of Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody: The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticis...
28 min
839
Pamela Cobrin, “From Winning the Vote to Direct...
Pamela Cobrin‘s book From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway: The Emergence of Women on the New York Stage, 1880-1927 (University of Delaware Press, 2009) investigates the suffragists and early feminists through the lens of performance.
66 min
840
Benjamin Binstock, “Vermeer’s Family Secrets: G...
Ben Binstock‘s Vermeer’s Family Secrets: Genius, Discovery, and the Unknown Apprentice (Routledge, 2009) is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It does what all good history books should do–tell you something you thought you knew but in...
72 min
841
Virginia Scharff, “The Women Jefferson Loved” (...
Most Americans could tell you who George Washington’s wife was. (Martha, right?) Most Americans probably couldn’t tell you who Thomas Jefferson’s wife was. (It was also Martha, but a different one of course). They might be able to tell you, however,
67 min
842
Elaine Tyler May, “America and the Pill: A Hist...
Don’t you find it a bit curious that there are literally thousands of pills that we in the developed world take on a daily basis, but only one of them is called “the Pill?” Actually, you probably don’t find it curious,
55 min
843
Sarah Ross, “The Birth of Feminism: Woman as In...
I’ll be honest: I have a Ph.D. in early modern European history from a big university you’ve probably heard of and I couldn’t name a single female writer of the Renaissance before I read Sarah Ross’s new book The Birth of Feminism.
64 min
844
Sally G. McMillen, “Seneca Falls and the Origin...
Think of this. From the origins of civilization roughly 5000 years ago to around 1900 AD, the condition of women did not fundamentally change. They weren’t “second class citizens.” Rather, they weren’t citizens at all.
60 min
845
Jennifer Burns, “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Ran...
When I was in high school I had several friends who went to Wichita’s only prep school. They were nice guys, played D&D, andsaid they were “Libertarians.”I thought that “Libertarian” might have something to do with the library,
73 min
846
Vicki Ruiz, “From Out of the Shadows: Mexican W...
There was a time when “history” was the history of powerful people. Shakespeare captures this notion of history in the prologue to Henry V: O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage,
44 min
847
Katherine Jellison, “It’s Our Day: America’s Lo...
If you ask me, the “white wedding” is the oddest thing. I’m a modern guy and my wife is a modern woman. We’re feminists. We have an equal partnership. But when it came to getting married we both agreed that I would play the role of Prince Charming and ...
68 min
848
Joyce Tyldesley, “Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egyp...
“Swords and Sandals” movies always amaze me. You know the ones I’m talking about: “Spartacus,” “Ben-Hur,” “Gladiator,” and the rest. These movies are so rich in detail–both narrative and physical–that you feel like you are “there.
63 min
849
Katy Turton, “Forgotten Lives: The Role of Leni...
A number of years ago I read Robert Service’s excellent biography of Lenin and came away thinking “We don’t really know enough about the women who surrounded Lenin throughout his life.” Katy Turton, a lecturer in modern European history at Queen’s Univ...
63 min
850
Kimberly Jensen, “Mobilizing Minerva: American ...
Today we have Professor Kimberly Jensen on the show. She teaches in the Department of History and in the Gender Studies Program at Western Oregon University. We’ll be talking with Kim today about her new book Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the F...
59 min
851
Eric Gardner, “Jennie Carter: A Black Journalis...
Today we talked with Eric Gardner, who is chair and professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University. The interview focuses on Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), a new book which Dr.
59 min
852
Matt Wasniewski, “Women in Congress, 1917-2006”...
This week we talk to Matt Wasniewski. Matt is the historian and publications manager in the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. He earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2004.
57 min