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“These essays exemplify all the virtues of interdisciplinarity in consideration of that most multidisciplined of writers, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The contributors simultaneously clarify and complicate our understanding of some of the more vexed areas of Gilman's work by engaging saliently with her theories of ethnicity, class, prostitution, and the dynamics of gender; posing difficult questions to contemporary feminist scholars; and providing sensitive and insightful guidance to a well-chosen and wide range of texts.”—Janet Beer, author of Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction
Trail of Tears, Civil War, and Allotment, 1838-1907
Explains how traditional Cherokee women's roles were destabilized, modified, recovered, and in some ways strengthened during three periods of great turmoil.
American Indian women have traditionally played vital roles in social hierarchies at the family, clan, and tribal levels. In the Cherokee Nation, specifically, women and men are considered equal contributors to the culture. With this study, however, we learn that three key historical events in the 19th and early 20th centuries—removal, the Civil War, and allotment of their lands—forced a radical renegotiation of gender roles and relations in Cherokee society.
Carolyn Johnston (who is related to John Ross, principal chief of the Nation) looks at how Cherokee women navigated these crises in ways that allowed them to retain their traditional assumptions, ceremonies, and beliefs and to thereby preserve their culture. In the process, they both lost and retained power. The author sees a poignant irony in the fact that Europeans who encountered Native societies in which women had significant power attempted to transform them into patriarchal ones and that American women struggled for hundreds of years to achieve the kind of equality that Cherokee women had enjoyed for more than a millennium.
Johnston examines the different aspects of Cherokee women's power: authority in the family unit and the community, economic independence, personal autonomy, political clout, and spirituality. Weaving a great-grandmother theme throughout the narrative, she begins with the protest of Cherokee women against removal and concludes with the recovery of the mother town of Kituwah and the elections of Wilma Mankiller and Joyce Dugan as principal chiefs of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokees.
The Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance
The choreographies of Bill T. Jones, Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels, Zab Maboungou, David Dorfman, Marie Chouinard, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and others, have helped establish dance as a crucial discourse of the 90s. These dancers, Ann Cooper Albright argues, are asking the audience to see the body as a source of cultural identity -- a physical presence that moves with and through its gendered, racial, and social meanings.
Through her articulate and nuanced analysis of contemporary choreography, Albright shows how the dancing body shifts conventions of representation and provides a critical example of the dialectical relationship between cultures and the bodies that inhabit them. As a dancer, feminist, and philosopher, Albright turns to the material experience of bodies, not just the body as a figure or metaphor, to understand how cultural representation becomes embedded in the body. In arguing for the intelligence of bodies, Choreographing Difference is itself a testimonial, giving voice to some important political, moral, and artistic questions of our time.
"... wonderfully imaginative and provocative in its interdisciplinary approach to the study of nineteenth-century American religion and women's role within it." -- Choice
"... an important addition to the fields of religious studies, women's history, and American cultural history." -- Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"... a complete and complex portrait of the Christian home." -- The Journal of American History
Or Woman's Trials and Triumphs
When Laura Curtis Bullard wrote the novel Christine in 1856, she created one of antebellum America’s most radical heroines: a woman’s rights leader. Addressing the major social, political, and cultural issues surrounding women from within an unusually overt feminist framework for its time, Christine openly challenges a social and legal system that denies women full and equal rights. Christine defies her family, rejects marriage, and leaves a job as a teacher to embark on her career, rewriting the script for a successful nineteenth-century heroine. Along the way, she recreates domesticity on her own terms, helping other young women gain economic independence so that they, too, have the autonomy to make their own choices in love and life. One of the triumphs of the novel is the author’s ability to create a sympathetic heroine and a fast-paced plot that intertwines vivid scenes of suicide, destitution, and an insane asylum with theoretical and political discussions—so skillfully that the novel successfully appealed to otherwise hesitant middle-class readers.
Essays on Chicana/Latina Literature and Criticism
Although there have been substantial contributions to Chicana literature and criticism over the past few decades, Chicanas are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the mainstream literary world and virtually nonexistent in the canon. Writers like Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Gloria Anzaldúa have managed to find larger audiences and critical respect, but there are legions of Chicana writers and artists who have been marginalized and ignored despite their talent. Even in Chicano anthologies, the focus has tended to be more on male writers. Chicanas have often found themselves without a real home in the academic world. Tey Diana Rebolledo has been writing about Chicana/Latina identity, literature, discrimination, and feminism for more than two decades. In this collection of essays, she brings together both old and new works to give a state-of-the-moment look at the still largely unanswered questions raised by vigilant women of color throughout the last half of the twentieth century. An intimate introductory essay about Rebolledo's personal experiences as the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Peruvian father serves to lay the groundwork for the rest of the volume. The essays delve into the historical development of Chicana writing and its early narratives, the representation of Chicanas as seen on book covers, Chicana feminism, being a Chicana critic in the academy, Chicana art history, and Chicana creativity. Rebolledo encourages “guerrillera” warfare against academia in order to open up the literary canon to Chicana/Latina writers who deserve validation.
Women, Work, and Welfare in a Reservation Community
Studies how women in a reservation economy have creatively responded to federal policy. Circle of Goods compiles the stories of Native American women and examines their kinship, wage work, and informal economies. Responding to the upheavals of reservation life brought about by federal policies—from commodity rations to welfare reform—Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara women, each with distinct histories and cultural practices, stand at the center of the Fort Berthold reservation economy. Berman introduces the concept of ceremonial relations of production to explain the contradictory effects of economic incentives and cultural commitments, and argues that the historical movement of people and goods through a series of structured dependencies often gives rise to creative strategies for survival and new social identities.
Jewish and Muslim Women Reclaim Their Rights
Religious women in liberal democracies are "dual citizens" because of their contrasting status as members of both a civic community (in which their gender has no impact on their constitutional guarantee of equal rights) and a traditional religious community (which distributes roles and power based on gender).
This book shows how these "dual citizens"--Orthodox Jewish women in Israel, Muslim women in Kuwait, and women of both those faiths in the U.S.--have increasingly deployed their civic citizenship rights in attempts to reform and not destroy their religions. For them, neither "exit" nor acquiescence to traditional religious gender norms is an option. Instead, they use the narrative of civic citizenship combined with a more authentic, if alternative reading of their faith tradition to improve their status.
Feminist Soldiers and Feminist Antimilitarists
In the United States, the question of women in the armed services has been continuously and hotly debated. Among feminists, two fundamentally differing views of women in the military have developed. Feminist antimilitarists tell us that militarism and patriarchy have together pressed women into second class citizenship. Meanwhile, feminist soldiers and their advocates regard martial service as women's right and responsibility and the ticket to first class citizenship.
Citizenship Rites investigates what is at stake for women in these debates. Exploring the perspectives of both feminist antimilitarists and feminist soldiers, Ilene Feinman situates the current combat controversy within the context of the sea change in United States politics since the 1970s-from ERA debates over drafting women to recent representations of military women such as the film GI Jane. Drawing on congressional testimony, court cases, feminist and antiracist political discourse, and antimilitarist activism, Feinman addresses our pressing need for an analysis of women's increasing inclusion in the armed forces while providing a provocative investigation of what this changing role means for women and society alike.
In this risk-taking book, a major feminist philosopher engages the work of the actor and director who has progressed from being the stereotypical man's manto pushing the boundaries of the very genres-the Western, the police thriller, the war or boxing movie-most associated with American masculinity. Cornell's highly appreciative encounter with the films directed by Clint Eastwood revolve around the questions What is it to be a good man?and What is it to be, not just an ethical person, but specifically an ethical man?Focusing on Eastwood as a director rather than as an actor or cultural icon, she studies Eastwood in relation to major philosophical and ethical themes that have been articulated in her own life's work.In her fresh and revealing readings of the films, Cornell takes up pressing issues of masculinity as it is caught up in the very definition of ideas of revenge, violence, moral repair, and justice. Eastwood grapples with this involvement of masculinity in and through many of the great symbols of American life, including cowboys, boxing, police dramas, and ultimately war-perhaps the single greatest symbol of what it means (or is supposed to mean) to be a man. Cornell discusses films from across Eastwood's career, from his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me to Million Dollar Baby.Cornell's book is not a traditional book of film criticism or a cinematographic biography. Rather, it is a work of social commentary and ethical philosophy. In a world in which we seem to be losing our grip on shared symbols, along with community itself, Eastwood's films work with the fragmented symbols that remain to us in order to engage masculinity with the most profound moral and ethical issues facing us today.