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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality > Gender Studies

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Embodied Resistance Cover

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Embodied Resistance

Challenging the Norms, Breaking the Rules

Edited by Chris Bobel and Samantha Kwan

Embodied Resistance engages the rich and complex range of society’s contemporary “body outlaws”—people from many social locations who violate norms about the private, the repellent, or the forbidden. This collection ventures beyond the conventional focus on the “disciplined body” and instead, examines conformity from the perspective of resisters. By balancing accessibly written original ethnographic research with personal narratives, Embodied Resistance provides a window into the everyday lives of those who defy or violate socially constructed body rules and conventions.

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Embracing Arms

Cultural Representation of Slavic and Balkan Women in War

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Emerging Intersections

Race, Class, and Gender in Theory, Policy, and Practice

Edited by Bonnie Thornton Dill and Ruth Enid Zambrana

The United States is known as a "melting pot" yet this mix tends to be volatile and contributes to a long history of oppression, racism, and bigotry. Emerging Intersections, an anthology of ten previously unpublished essays, looks at the problems of inequality and oppression from new angles and promotes intersectionality as an interpretive tool that can be utilized to better understand the ways in which race, class, gender, ethnicity, and other dimensions of difference shape our lives today. The book showcases innovative contributions that expand our understanding of how inequality affects people of color, demonstrates the ways public policies reinforce existing systems of inequality, and shows how research and teaching using an intersectional perspective compels scholars to become agents of change within institutions. By offering practical applications for using intersectional knowledge, Emerging Intersections will help bring us one step closer to achieving positive institutional change and social justice.

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Enduring Violence

Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala

Cecilia Menjívar

Drawing on revealing, in-depth interviews, Cecilia Menjívar investigates the role that violence plays in the lives of Ladina women in eastern Guatemala, a little-visited and little-studied region. While much has been written on the subject of political violence in Guatemala, Menjívar turns to a different form of suffering—the violence embedded in institutions and in everyday life so familiar and routine that it is often not recognized as such. Rather than painting Guatemala (or even Latin America) as having a cultural propensity for normalizing and accepting violence, Menjívar aims to develop an approach to examining structures of violence—profound inequality, exploitation and poverty, and gender ideologies that position women in vulnerable situations— grounded in women’s experiences. In this way, her study provides a glimpse into the root causes of the increasing wave of feminicide in Guatemala, as well as in other Latin American countries, and offers observations relevant for understanding violence against women around the world today.

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Every Home a Distillery

Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake

Sarah Hand Meacham

In this original examination of alcohol production in early America, Sarah Hand Meacham uncovers the crucial role women played in cidering and distilling in the colonial Chesapeake. Her fascinating story is one defined by gender, class, technology, and changing patterns of production. Alcohol was essential to colonial life; the region’s water was foul, milk was generally unavailable, and tea and coffee were far too expensive for all but the very wealthy. Colonists used alcohol to drink, in cooking, as a cleaning agent, in beauty products, and as medicine. Meacham finds that the distillation and brewing of alcohol for these purposes traditionally fell to women. Advice and recipes in such guidebooks as The Accomplisht Ladys Delight demonstrate that women were the main producers of alcohol until the middle of the 18th century. Men, mostly small planters, then supplanted women, using new and cheaper technologies to make the region’s cider, ale, and whiskey. Meacham compares alcohol production in the Chesapeake with that in New England, the middle colonies, and Europe, finding the Chesapeake to be far more isolated than even the other American colonies. She explains how home brewers used new technologies, such as small alembic stills and inexpensive cider pressing machines, in their alcoholic enterprises. She links the importation of coffee and tea in America to the temperance movement, showing how the wealthy became concerned with alcohol consumption only after they found something less inebriating to drink. Taking a few pages from contemporary guidebooks, Every Home a Distillery includes samples of historic recipes and instructions on how to make alcoholic beverages. American historians will find this study both enlightening and surprising.

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Everyday Revolutionaries

Gender, Violence, and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador

Irina Carlota Silber

Everyday Revolutionaries provides a longitudinal and rigorous analysis of the legacies of war in a community racked by political violence. By exploring political processes in one of El Salvador's former war zones-a region known for its peasant revolutionary participation-it offers a searing portrait of the entangled aftermaths of confrontation and displacement, aftermaths that have produced continued deception and marginalization. Beautifully written and offering rich stories of hope and despair, this book contributes to important debates in public anthropology and the ethics of engaged research practices.

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Excision: Les jeunes changent líAfrique par les TIC

Assessing the impact of twenty-five years of action to promote the discontinuation of female circumcision (FGM) in Francophone West Africa, should consider a key issue: the contribution of the digital revolution, and how young people - girls and boys - have been associated. As victims, subjects, objects, actors, citizens, leaders and family and community stakeholders, FGM is for them a matter of concern. Youth, ICTs and FGM reveal gender issues that must be transversally integrated in public, private, citizen and personal development policies. This is the main message of this book, which presents the results of an innovative action research conducted by ENDA Tiers Monde, with the participation of girls and boys in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. The study is in the French language.

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The Expert Cook in Enlightenment France

Sean Takats

In the eighteenth-century French household, the servant cook held a special place of importance, providing daily meals and managing the kitchen and its finances. In this scrupulously researched and witty history, Sean Takats examines the lives of these cooks as they sought to improve their position in society and reinvent themselves as expert, skilled professionals. Much has been written about the cuisine of the period, but Takats takes readers down into the kitchen and introduces them to the men and women behind the food. It is only then, Takats argues, that we can fully recover the scientific and cultural significance of the meals they created, and, more importantly, the contributions of ordinary workers to eighteenth-century intellectual life. He shows how cooks, along with decorators, architects, and fashion merchants drove France’s consumer revolution, and how cooks' knowledge about a healthy diet and the medicinal properties of food advanced their professional status by capitalizing on the Enlightenment’s new concern for bodily and material happiness. The Expert Cook in Enlightenment France explores a unique intersection of cultural history, labor history, and the history of science and medicine. Relying on an unprecedented range of sources, from printed cookbooks and medical texts to building plans and commercial advertisements, Takats reconstructs the evolving role of the cook in Enlightenment France. Academics and students alike will enjoy this fascinating study of the invention of the professional chef, of how ordinary workers influenced emerging trends of scientific knowledge, culture-creation, and taste in eighteenth-century France.

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Facing It

AIDS Diaries and the Death of the Author

Ross Chambers

For a generation or more, literary theorists have used the metaphor of "the death of the author" in considering the observation that to write is to abdicate control over the meanings one's text is capable of generating. But in the case of AIDS diaries, the metaphor can be literal. Facing It examines the genre not in classificatory terms but pragmatically, as the site of a social interaction. Through a detailed study of three such diaries, originating respectively in France, the United States, and Australia, Ross Chambers demonstrates that issues concerning the politics of AIDS writing and the ethics of reading are linked by a common concern with the problematics of survivorhood. Two of the diaries chosen for special attention in this light are video diaries: La Pudeur ou l'impudeur by Herv+ Guibert (author of To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life), and Silverlake Life, by the American videomaker Tom Joslin (aided by his lover and friends, notably Peter Friedman). The third is a defiant but anxious text, Unbecoming, by an American anthropologist, Eric Michaels, who died in Brisbane, Australia, in 1988. Other authors more briefly examined include Pascal de Duve, Bertrand Duqu+nelle, Alain Emmanuel Dreuilhe, David Wojnarowicz, Gary Fisher, and the filmmaker (not a diarist) Laurie Lynd. Finally, Facing It takes on the issue of its own relevance, asking what contributions literary criticism can make in the midst of an epidemic. "Groundbreaking in its approach and potentially wide in its appeal. . . . The rigor of the ideas, their dramatic nature, and the political drive of the rhetoric all should win Facing It a large readership that could extend far beyond students of narrative or queer theory." --David Bergman, Towson University, editor of Camp Grounds: Style and Homosexuality Ross Chambers is Distinguished University Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, and author of Room for Maneuver: Reading (the) Oppositional (in) Narrative and Story and Situation: Narrative Seduction and the Power of Fiction.

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Families That Work

Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment

Parents around the world grapple with the common challenge of balancing work and child care. Despite common problems, the industrialized nations have developed dramatically different social and labor market policies—policies that vary widely in the level of support they provide for parents and the extent to which they encourage an equal division of labor between parents as they balance work and care. In Families That Work, Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers take a close look at the work-family policies in the United States and abroad and call for a new and expanded role for the U.S. government in order to bring this country up to the standards taken for granted in many other Western nations. In many countries in Europe and in Canada, family leave policies grant parents paid time off to care for their young children, and labor market regulations go a long way toward ensuring that work does not overwhelm family obligations. In addition, early childhood education and care programs guarantee access to high-quality care for their children. In most of these countries, policies encourage gender equality by strengthening mothers’ ties to employment and encouraging fathers to spend more time caregiving at home. In sharp contrast, Gornick and Meyers show how in the United States—an economy with high labor force participation among both fathers and mothers—parents are left to craft private solutions to the society-wide dilemma of “who will care for the children?” Parents—overwhelmingly mothers—must loosen their ties to the workplace to care for their children; workers are forced to negotiate with their employers, often unsuccessfully, for family leave and reduced work schedules; and parents must purchase care of dubious quality, at high prices, from consumer markets. By leaving child care solutions up to hard-pressed working parents, these private solutions exact a high price in terms of gender inequality in the workplace and at home, family stress and economic insecurity, and—not least—child well-being. Gornick and Meyers show that it is possible–based on the experiences of other countries—to enhance child well-being and to increase gender equality by promoting more extensive and egalitarian family leave, work-time, and child care policies. Families That Work demonstrates convincingly that the United States has much to learn from policies in Europe and in Canada, and that the often-repeated claim that the United States is simply “too different” to draw lessons from other countries is based largely on misperceptions about policies in other countries and about the possibility of policy expansion in the United States.

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