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New Books Spotlight: Women Who Tell Our Stories

Howe Library celebrates Women’s History Month! Check out our New Books Spotlight for books featuring women who tell our stories.

 

Badass feminist politics : exploring radical edges of feminist theory, communication, and activism edited by Sarah Jane Blithe and Janell C. Bauer

“In the late 2010s, the United States experienced a period of widespread silencing. Protests of unsafe drinking water have been met with tear gas; national park employees, environmentalists, and scientists have been ordered to stop communicating publicly. Advocates for gun control are silenced even as mass shootings continue. Expressed dissent to political power is labeled as fake “news." DREAMers, Muslims, Trans military members, women, black bodies, the LGBTQI+ community, Latina/o/x communities, rape survivors, sex workers, and immigrants have all been systematically silenced. During this difficult time and despite such restrictions, advocates and allies persist and resist, forming dialogues that call to repel inequality in its many forms. Addressing the oppression of women of color, white women, women with (dis)abilities, and LBTQI+ individuals across cultures and contexts remains a central posit of feminist struggle and requires "a distinctly feminist politics of recognition." However, as second wave debates about feminism have revealed, there is no single way to express a feminist politic. Rather, living feminist politics requires individual interpretation and struggle, collective discussion and disagreement, and recognizing difference among women as well as points of convergence in feminist struggle. Badass Feminist Politics includes a diverse range of engaging feminist political projects to not only analyze the work being done on the ground but provide an overview for action that can be taken on by those seeking to engage in feminist activism in their own communities. Contributors included here are working for equality and equity and resisting violent, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and sexist language and action during this tension-filled political moment. Collectively, the book explores what it means to live and communicate feminist politics in everyday choices and actions, and how we can facilitate learning by analyzing these examples. Taking up current issues and new theoretical perspectives, the authors offer novel perspectives into what it means to live feminist politics. This book is a testament to resilience, resistance, communication, and forward thinking about what these themes all mean for new feminist agendas. Learning how to resist oppressive structures through words and actions is particularly important for students. Badass Feminist Politics features scholars from non-dominant groups taking up issues of marginalization and oppression, which can help people accomplish their social justice goals of inclusivity on the ground and in the classroom"

 

Phyllis Frye and the fight for transgender rights by Michael G. Long and Shea Tuttle ; foreword by Shannon Minter

"The first openly transgender judge to be appointed in the United States, the first attorney to obtain corrected birth certificates for transgender people who had not undergone gender confirmation surgery, a survivor of conversion therapy, and author of a law review article that helped thousands of employers adopt supportive policies for their workers, Phyllis Frye is truly a pioneer in the fight for transgender rights. Among her many accomplishments, Frye founded the first national organization devoted to shaping transgender law-the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy, which has since created a body of work that includes the International Bill of Gender Rights-trained a cadre of future trans activists, and built the first national movement for transgender legal and political rights. Based on interviews with Frye, Phyllis Frye and the Fight for Transgender Rights covers her early life, the discrimination she faced while struggling with her identity-including being discharged from the army and fired from a subsequent job at her alma mater, Texas A&M-her transition in 1976, her many years of activism, and her current position as an associate judge for the municipal courts of Houston. This gripping account of Frye's efforts to establish and protect the constitutional rights of transgender individuals not only fills a gap in existing histories of LGBTQ activism but will also inform and instruct contemporary trans activists"

 

When women were dragons: a novel by Kelly Barnhill

"Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950's America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex's beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn't know. It's taboo to speak of. Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this disturbing event: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and helping to raise a beloved younger girl obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the forced limitations of girlhood. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small-their lives and their prospects-and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve"

 

No stopping us now: a novel by Lucy Jane Bledsoe

“Louisa loves to play basketball, but in 1974, her Portland, Oregon high school only offers a team for boys. An encounter with feminist Gloria Steinem teaches her about Title IX--the law that bans discrimination based on gender--so she asks her principal to start a girls team. Little does she know that she'll soon be viciously targeted by male coaches at her school, lied to by the school board, and fall in love--a couple of times--as she fights for a fair chance to be an athlete. Based on the author's true story, it is a compelling examination of the courage it takes to stand up for what's right.”

 

Contemporary art and feminism by Jacqueline Millner and Catriona Moore

"This important new book examines contemporary art while understanding the key role feminism has played in enabling current modes of artmaking, spectatorship and theoretical discourse. Contemporary Art and Feminism carefully argues the links between feminist theory and practice of the last four decades and contemporary art and provides a radical re-reading of the contemporary movement. Rather than focus on filling in the gaps of accepted histories by 'adding' the 'missing' female and queer artists, the authors seek to revise broader understandings of contemporary practice providing case studies contextualized in a robust art historical and theoretical basis. Readers are encouraged to see where art ideas come from and evaluate past and present art strategies. What strategies, materials or tropes no longer work in today's networked, event-driven art economies? What strategies and themes should we keep hold of, or develop in new ways? This is an important new intervention ideal for students studying courses on women and contemporary art within Visual Studies, History of Art, Gender Studies and Queer Studies"

 

Girlhood: essays by Melissa Febos ; with illustrations by Forsyth Harmon

"With characteristic honesty, lyricism, and insight, acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the forces that shape girls and the adults they become. When her body started to change at eleven years old, Melissa Febos immediately understood that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she had defined herself accordingly--by outside expectations. Over time, she questioned the stories she'd been told about being female, asking why they had so devalued her personal safety, happiness, and freedom. Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reframed the narrative, reimagined relationships, and made room for the grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny. This is a philosophical treatise, an anthem, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self."

 

Eloquent rage : a black feminist discovers her superpower by Brittney Cooper

"Far too often, Black women's anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women's eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It's what makes Beyoncé's girl power anthems resonate so hard. It's what makes Michelle Obama an icon. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don't have to settle for less. In the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting."

 

Call us what we carry : poems by Amanda Gorman

"The luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, her poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future"