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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality

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Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home

Women, Cultural Identity, and Community

Carol E. Kelley

The effect of immigration on individual lives is not short lived. Those who stay in an adopted country permanently go through a continual process of adjustment and learning both about their new country-and about themselves. The four women profiled in Carol Kelley's poignant Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home challenge immigrant stereotypes as their lives are transformed by moving to new countries for reasons of marriage, education, or career--not economics or politics.

The intimate stories of these "accidental" immigrants broaden conventional notions of home. From a Maori woman who moves to Norway to the daughter of an Iranian diplomat now living in France, Kelley weaves together these stories of the personal and emotional effects of immigration with interdisciplinary discussions drawn from anthropology and psychology. Ultimately, she reveals how the lifelong process of immigration affects each woman's sense of identity and belonging and contributes to better understanding today's globalized society.
 

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Aching For Beauty

Footbinding in China

Wang Ping

Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet, enduring rotting flesh, throbbing pain, and hampered mobility throughout their lives? What compelled mothers to bind the feet of their young daughters, forcing the girls to walk about on doubled-over limbs to achieve the breakage of bones requisite for three-inch feet? Why did Chinese men find women’s “golden lotuses”-stench and all-so arousing, inspiring beauty contests for feet, thousands of poems, and erotica in which bound, silk-slippered feet were fetishized and lusted after?

Wang Ping interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a womanly heritage--“a roaring ocean current of female language and culture.” She claims that footbinding should not be viewed merely as a function of men’s oppression of women, but rather as a phenomenon of male and female desire deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture. Written in an elegant and powerful style, and filled with personal and intriguing insights, Aching for Beauty builds bridges from past to present, East to West, history to literature, imagination to reality.

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Activist Faith

Grassroots Women in Democratic Brazil and Chile

Carol Ann Drogus, Hannah Stewart-Gambino

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Acts of Angry Writing

On Citizenship and Orientalism in Postcolonial India

Alessandra Marino

From Aristotle to Seneca, ancient philosophers considered anger to be aggressive and incompatible with rational conduct, and later thinkers associated this "illogical" emotion with femininity and its flaws. In Acts of Angry Writing: On Citizenship and Orientalism in Postcolonial India, author Alessandra Marino looks at anger differently, as an essential condition for writing in contexts of struggle. Analyzing the activist literature and autobiographical writings of Indian writers Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, and Sampat Pal, Marino sheds light on anger as a trigger for the political writing where struggles for the basic rights of indigenous people and lower castes are fought.Acts of Angry Writing is divided into four parts. In the first two, Marino focuses on Roy and Devi to analyze the relation between the authors' works and some of the most famous actions of social protest in which they have been involved. In the third part, Marino examines the representation of anger as a productive emotion in Warrior in a Pink Sari, the autobiography of Sampat Pal, a telling example of the close relation between literature, social reality, and ongoing political debates.Marino concludes by reflecting on the link between an ethical call that initiates acts of social protest and the writing related to active citizenship movements in contemporary rural India.Acts of Angry Writing will be informative reading for scholars in a range of fields, from cultural and postcolonial studies to gender studies, South Asian studies, and citizenship studies. Its rich discussion of performativity and speech acts theory bridges the gap between the fields of literary theory, law, and citizenship.

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Acts of Gaiety

LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure

Sara Warner

Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political performance by LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that have inspired and sustained deadly serious struggles for revolutionary change. The book explores antics such as camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap actions, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades alongside more familiar forms of "legitimate theater." Against queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a national agenda that urges homosexuals to renounce pleasure if they want to be taken seriously by mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political value for LGBT activism. The book mines the archives of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay at the center of the social and theatrical performances of the era and uncovering original documents long thought to be lost. Juxtaposing historical figures such as Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with more recent performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, Bitch & Animal, and the Five Lesbian Brothers), Warner shows how reclaiming this largely discarded and disavowed past elucidates possibilities for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the mutually informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, along with the centrality of liveliness to queer performance and protest.

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Acts of Narrative Resistance

Women's Autobiographical Writings in the Americas

Laura J. Beard

This exploration of women's autobiographical writings in the Americas focuses on three specific genres: testimonio, metafiction, and the family saga as the story of a nation. What makes Laura J. Beard’s work distinctive is her pairing of readings of life narratives by women from different countries and traditions. Her section on metafiction focuses on works by Helena Parente Cunha, of Brazil, and Luisa Futoranksy, of Argentina; the family sagas explored are by Ana María Shua and Nélida Piñon, of Argentina and Brazil, respectively; and the section on testimonio highlights narratives by Lee Maracle and Shirley Sterling, from different Indigenous nations in British Columbia. In these texts Beard terms "genres of resistance," women resist the cultural definitions imposed upon them in an effort to speak and name their own experiences. The author situates her work in the context of not only other feminist studies of women's autobiographies but also the continuing study of inter-American literature that is demanding more comparative and cross-cultural approaches.

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Adela Breton

A Victorian Artist Amid Mexico's Ruins

Mary F. McVicker

Mary McVicker writes of Adela Breton, her independence from the strictures of Victorian life, her career as a pioneering artist-archaeologist, and the enduring significance of her work.

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The Adventures of Eddie Fung

Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War

by Judy Yung

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Aemilia Lanyer

Gender, Genre, and the Canon

edited by Marshall Grossman

Aemilia Lanyer was a Londoner of Jewish-Italian descent and the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain. But in 1611 she did something extraordinary for a middle-class woman of the seventeenth century: she published a volume of original poems.

Using standard genres to address distinctly feminine concerns, Lanyer's work is varied, subtle, provocative, and witty. Her religious poem "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" repeatedly projects a female subject for a female reader and casts the Passion in terms of gender conflict. Lanyer also carried this concern with gender into the very structure of the poem; whereas a work of praise usually held up the superiority of its patrons, the good women in Lanyer's poem exemplify worth women in general.

The essays in this volume establish the facts of Lanyer's life and use her poetry to interrogate that of her male contemporaries, Donne, Jonson, and Shakespeare. Lanyer's work sheds light on views of gender and class identities in early modern society. By using Lanyer to look at the larger issues of women writers working within a patriarchal system, the authors go beyond the explication of Lanyer's writing to address the dynamics of canonization and the construction of literary history.

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Aesthetics of Sorrow

The Wailing Culture of Yemenite Jewish Women

Tova Gamliel

The term “wailing culture” includes an array of women’s behaviors and beliefs following the death of a member of their ethnic group and is typical of Jewish life in Yemeni culture. Central to the practice is wailing itself—a special artistic genre that combines speech with sobbing into moving lyrical poetry that explores the meaning of death and loss. In Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing Culture of Yemenite Jewish Women, Tova Gamliel decodes the cultural and psychological meanings of this practice in an ethnography based on her anthropological research among Yemenite Jewish communities in Israel in 2001–2003. Based on participant-observervation in homes of the bereaved and on twenty-four in-depth interviews with wailing women and men, Gamliel illuminates wailing culture level by level: by the circles in which the activity takes place; the special areas of endeavor that belong to women; and the broad social, historical, and religious context that surrounds these inner circles. She discusses the main themes that define the wailing culture (including the historical origins of women’s wailing generally and of Yemenite Jewish wailing in particular), the traits of wailing as an artistic genre, and the wailer as a symbolic type. She also explores the role of wailing in death rituals, as a therapeutic expertise endowed with unique affective mechanisms, as an erotic performance, as a livelihood, and as an indicator of the Jewish exile. In the end, she considers wailing at the intersection of tradition and modernity and examines the study of wailing as a genuine methodological challenge. Gamliel brings a sensitive eye to the vanishing practice of wailing, which has been largely unexamined by scholars and may be unfamiliar to many outside of the Middle East. Her interdisciplinary perspective and her focus on a uniquely female immigrant cultural practice will make this study fascinating reading for scholars of anthropology, gender, folklore, psychology, performance, philosophy, and sociology.

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