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

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The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress

Poor White Women in Southern Literature of the Great Depression

Ashley Craig Lancaster

In The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress, Ashley Craig Lancaster examines how converging political and cultural movements helped to create dualistic images of southern poor white female characters in Depression-era literature. While other studies address the familial and labor issues that challenged female literary characters during the 1930s, Lancaster focuses on how the evolving eugenics movement reinforced the dichotomy of altruistic maternal figures and destructive sexual deviants. According to Lancaster, these binary stereotypes became a new analogy for hope and despair in America’s future and were well utilized by Depression-era politicians and authors to stabilize the country’s economic decline. As a result, the complexity of women’s lives was often overlooked in favor of stock characters incapable of individuality. Lancaster studies a variety of works, including those by male authors William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and John Steinbeck, as well as female novelists Mary Heaton Vorse, Myra Page, Grace Lumpkin, and Olive Tilford Dargan. She identifies female stereotypes in classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and in the work of later writers Dorothy Allison and Rick Bragg, who embrace and share in a poor white background. The Angelic Mother and the Predatory Seductress reveals that these literary stereotypes continue to influence not only society’s perception of poor white southern women but also women’s perception of themselves.

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Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway

Eve Golden

" Anna Held (1870?-1918), a petite woman with an hourglass figure, was America's most popular musical comedy star during the two decades preceding World War I. In the colorful world of New York theater during La Belle �poque, she epitomized everything that was glamorous, sophisticated, and suggestive about turn-of-the-century Broadway. Overcoming an impoverished life as an orphan to become a music-hall star in Paris, Held rocketed to fame in America. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and quickly replaced Lillian Russell as the darling of the theatrical world. The first wife of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held was the brains and inspiration behind his Follies and shared his knack for publicity. Together, they brought the Paris scene to New York, complete with lavish costumes and sets and a chorus of stunningly beautiful women, dubbed ""The Anna Held Girls."" While Held was known for a champagne giggle as well as for her million-dollar bank account, there was a darker side to her life. She concealed her Jewish background and her daughter from a previous marriage. She suffered through her two husbands' gambling problems and Ziegfeld's blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of fighting in Europe, Held returned to France to support the war effort. She entertained troops and delivered medical supplies, and she was once briefly captured by the German army. Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway reveals one of the most remarkable women in the history of theatrical entertainment. With access to previously unseen family records and photographs, Eve Golden has uncovered the details of an extraordinary woman in the vibrant world of 1900s New York.

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Anna Howard Shaw

The Work of Woman Suffrage

Trisha Franzen

With this first scholarly biography of Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), Trisha Franzen sheds new light on an important woman suffrage leader who has too often been overlooked and misunderstood.An immigrant from a poor family, Shaw grew up in an economic reality that encouraged the adoption of non-traditional gender roles. Challenging traditional gender boundaries throughout her life, she put herself through college, worked as an ordained minister and a doctor, and built a tightly-knit family with her secretary and longtime companion Lucy E. Anthony.Drawing on unprecedented research, Franzen shows how these circumstances and choices both impacted Shaw's role in the woman suffrage movement and set her apart from her native-born, middle- and upper-class colleagues. Franzen also rehabilitates Shaw's years as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, arguing that Shaw's much-belittled tenure actually marked a renaissance of both NAWSA and the suffrage movement as a whole.

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Anna Hubbard

Out of the Shadows

Mia Cunningham

Anna Eikenhout (1902-1986) was an honors graduate of Ohio State University, a fine-arts librarian, a skilled pianist, and an avid reader in three languages. Harlan Hubbard (1900-1988), a little-known painter and would-be shantyboater, seemed an unlikely husband, but together they lived a life out of the pages of Thoreau's Walden. Much of what is known about the Hubbards comes from Harlan's books and journals. Concerning the seasons and the landscape, his writing was rapturous, yet he was emotionally reticent when discussing human affairs in general or Anna in particular. Yet it was through her efforts that their life on the river was truly civilized. Visitors to Payne Hollow recall Anna as a generous, gracious hostess, whose intelligence and artistry made the small house seem grander than a mansion.

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Anonymous in Their Own Names

Doris E. Fleischman, Ruth Hale, and Jane Grant

Susan Henry

Anonymous in Their Own Names recounts the lives of three women who, while working as their husbands' uncredited professional partners, had a profound and enduring impact on the media in the first half of the twentieth century. With her husband, Edward L. Bernays, Doris E. Fleischman helped found and form the field of public relations. Ruth Hale helped her husband, Heywood Broun, become one of the most popular and influential newspaper columnists of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925 Jane Grant and her husband, Harold Ross, started the New Yorker magazine.


Yet these women's achievements have been invisible to countless authors who have written about their husbands. This invisibility is especially ironic given that all three were feminists who kept their birth names when they married as a sign of their equality with their husbands, then battled the government and societal norms to retain their names. Hale and Grant so believed in this cause that in 1921 they founded the Lucy Stone League to help other women keep their names, and Grant and Fleischman revived the league in 1950. This was the same year Grant and her second husband, William Harris, founded White Flower Farm, pioneering at that time and today one of the country's most celebrated commercial nurseries.


Despite strikingly different personalities, the three women were friends and lived in overlapping, immensely stimulating New York City circles. Susan Henry explores their pivotal roles in their husbands' extraordinary success and much more, including their problematic marriages and their strategies for overcoming barriers that thwarted many of their contemporaries.

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Anthropology at the Front Lines of Gender-Based Violence

Edited by Jennifer R. Wies and Hillary J. Haldane

Anthropology at the Front Lines of Gender-Based Violence is a broad and accessible volume, with a truly global approach to understanding the lives of front-line workers in women's shelters, anti-violence organizations, and outreach groups. Often written from a first-person perspective, these essays examine government workers, volunteers, and nongovernmental organization employees to present a vital picture of practical approaches to combating gender-based violence.

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Antonia Mercé, “LaArgentina”

Flamenco and the Spanish Avant Garde

Ninotchka Bennahum

Antonia Mercé, stage-named La Argentina, was the most celebrated Spanish dancer of the early 20th century. Her intensive musical and theatrical collaborations with members of the Spanish vanguard -- Manuel de Falla, Frederico García Lorca, Enrique Granados, Néstor de la Torre, Joaquín Nín, and with renowned Andalusian Gypsy dancers -- reflect her importance as an artistic symbol for contemporary Spain and its cultural history. When she died in 1936, newspapers around the world mourned the passing of the "Flamenco Pavlova."

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Anxiety of Erasure

Trauma, Authorship, and the Diaspora in Arab Women's Writings

by Hanadi Al-Samman

Far from offering another study that bemoans Arab women’s repression and veiling, Anxiety of Erasure looks at Arab women writers living in the diaspora who have translated their experiences into a productive and creative force. In this book, Al-Samman articulates the therapeutic effects of revisiting forgotten histories and of activating two cultural tropes: that of the maw’udah (buried female infant) and that of Shahrazad in the process of revolutionary change. She asks what it means to develop a national, gendered consciousness from diasporic locals while staying committed to the homeland. Al-Samman presents close readings of the fiction of five prominent authors whose works span over half a century and define the current status of Arab diaspora studies—Ghada al-Samman, Hanan al-Shaykh, Hamida al-Na‘na‘, Hoda Barakat, Samar Yazbek, and Salwa al-Neimi. Exploring the journeys in time and space undertaken by these women, Anxiety of Erasure shines a light on the ways in which writers remain participants in their homelands’ intellectual lives, asserting both the traumatic and the triumphant aspects of diaspora. The result is a nuanced Arab women’s poetic that celebrates rootlessness and rootedness, autonomy and belonging.

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Aphrodite's Daughters

Three Modernist Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

By Maureen Honey

Aphrodite’s Daughters introduces us to Angelina Weld Grimké, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Mae V. Cowdery, African American poetic iconoclasts who viewed the female body as a source of strength and transcendence as they pioneered forthright modes of erotic self-expression during the Harlem Renaissance. Drawing from their published and unpublished poetry, along with rare periodicals and biographical materials, Maureen Honey immerses us in the lives of these remarkable women and the world in which they lived.

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Appalachian Women

An Annotated Bibliography

Sidney Saylor Farr

Appalachian women have been the subject of song, story, and report for nearly two centuries. Now for the first time a fully annotated bibliography makes accessible this large body of literature. Works covered include novels, short stories, magazine articles, manuscripts, dissertations, surveys, and oral history tapes -- altogether over 1,200 items.

The annotated listings are grouped under broad subject headings, including biography, coal mining, education, fiction, health care, industry, migrants, music, poetry, and religion. An author/title/subject index provides easy access to the listings.

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