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Chapter 1 explores the motherhood in the Vita et passio Willelmi Norwicensis, a mid-twelfth century text composed by a monk of Norwich Cathedral Priory. This was a hagiographical account of the twelve-year-old William's life and his death, as his family claimed, at the hands of Jews. Motherhood was frequently invoked: in foretelling the future martyr's birth, as witness to his precocious religiosity and to enhance the pathos of a child's death. William's mother was not only his intimate nurturer, but also a weak female, whose failure betrayed William to the Jews. The chapter also considers the experience of a feminist scholar as mother: can she draw on experience to further historical understanding?
Sara Paretsky’s contemporary hard-boiled detective novels featuring female private investigator V. I. Warshawski have placed Chicago firmly on the crime fiction map. In a series of twenty detective novels, Paretsky has depicted the uncompromising and passionate Warshawski as she navigates multicultural, industrial Chicago, taking on capitalism, patriarchy, and blue- and white-collar crime. This chapter examines Paretsky’s use of the crime genre’s conventions to investigate and represent crime in Chicago, arguing that gender, race, and class are central to this creative and imaginative process. The crime genre focuses on the quest for truth and justice for victims, themes which are central to Paretsky’s feminist sensibility and social criticism. The analysis centres on Paretsky’s triangulation of feminism, blue- and white-collar crime, and politics in her representation of Chicago. Stylistically hard-boiled but with explicit demonstrations of anger, empathy, and emotional intelligence, Paretsky’s Warshawski embodies a feminist challenge to the traditional masculinist tough guy detective character in her ongoing creative exploration of the history and geography of Chicago crime.
This chapter provides a definition of ecological security: a concern with the resilience of ecosystems themselves in the face of climate change. After noting antecedents to this account of security in engagement with environmental change generally and climate change specifically, the chapter goes on to outline the ethical assumptions upon which this discourse is built before defining and defending this account of the referent object of security and the nature of the threat climate change poses to it. It suggests the importance of the Anthropocene context in orienting our concern to ecosystems, noting how this focus, in turn, encourages practices oriented towards the rights and needs of the most vulnerable across time (future generations), space (impoverished and marginalized populations throughout the world) and species (other living beings).
Whereas Isaiah Berlin argued that positive liberty is not a theory of liberty at all, and that negative liberty is the only true conception of liberty, Dorothy Roberts argues that positive liberty is the only true conception of liberty, and that negative liberty is not a theory of liberty at all but rather a theory of power and privilege. This essay takes up that contrast with specific reference to disability. One could argue that disability takes a negative liberty view, because disabled persons are constrained by physical, legal, and attitudinal barriers from doing many things they want. But this requires a positive liberty gesture of expanding what we mean by “barriers,” such as seeing stairs as a barrier rather than a natural part of building architecture for which nobody is responsible. But this essay carries the positive liberty argument further, drawing on feminist insights about the social construction of desire and subjectivity, to argue that positive liberty is important to a full understanding of freedom for disabled persons.
This chapter examines some of the more powerful encounters between feminism and environmentalism to offer the reader an understanding of both historic points of tension and opportunities for rich collaboration. Reading the environmental humanities broadly, the chapter highlights diverse lines of feminist research that drive toward more just, inclusive, and ecologically vibrant futures. It focuses on critical feminist work that challenges hegemonic conceptions of gender and nature, the body and place, and dominant understandings of knowledge production. The reader will become acquainted with key concepts such as essentialism, intersectionality, the nature/culture dualism, environmental justice, and the anthropocene, and with key subfields including ecofeminism, feminist science studies, corporeal feminism, and biopolitics.
This article explores one tumultuous encounter between a religious legal tradition and the modern principle of equality—an encounter that also has the potential to shed light on a much wider cluster of questions. The author tracks the ways that the responsa written by prominent Conservative rabbis on the subject of female rabbinic ordination and gender equality implicitly (but unambiguously) reflect the push toward increased equality that weighed on the movement's trajectory, showing that the debate about the ordination of female rabbis reveals two principal trends in Conservative legal rulings, which differ in their responses to the challenge of egalitarianism and their visions of the law, and notes two outlier responsa that cannot be neatly classified within either trend. The author then examines the deep-seated historical, ideational, and sociological processes concurrent with the rise of what some have called the egalitarian age, which have produced these diverging responses and visions, and it determines an appropriate framework to understand them. The author shows that the fight for increased gender equality is situated within an intricate social context that imbues it with meaning and shapes its outcomes and modes of expression. In concluding, the author suggests applying the insights gained in the course of the analysis to other circumstances in which gender egalitarianism clashes with religious tradition. The framework by which the ordination of women in the Conservative movement is analyzed also proves useful, mutatis mutandis, in understanding and comparing the responses of other faith communities as they deal with challenges caused by the egalitarian age.
This afterword considers Mailer’s legacy in the context of the recent #MeToo movement, addressing the difficulties of studying a controversial author in this context, as well as the potential intellectual merits of doing so.
This article explores the regulation of sex work in South Africa and follows the trajectory of the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) in investigating whether sex work should be decriminalized. The legal regulation of sex work is a hotly contested topic. South Africa currently criminalizes the selling and buying of sex, but policy reform has been on the cards since the SALRC launched its project on the topic in the early 2000s. As most sex work policy responses are grounded in feminist theory, the article analyses the main theoretical ideologies and questions the influence of these ideologies in structuring sex work law reform in the South African context. The author calls for a more inclusive understanding of feminism and sex work, and the need to acknowledge the importance of rights discourse in furthering political growth and protecting sex workers’ constitutional rights.
There is an inherently Gothic lexicon at work in Betty Friedan’s landmark feminist study The Feminine Mystique (1963), connecting ‘the problem that has no name’ with the burial alive of the typical 1960s housewife. That language of unspeakable or unnameable enclosure recurs throughout the female Gothic and transcends the perceived disparity between its popular and literary manifestations. Victoria Holt’s popular Gothic romance, Mistress of Mellyn (1961), is shown to encapsulate just as successfully as more ‘serious’ Gothic texts many of the political concerns of second-wave feminism, including domestic incarceration, sisterhood, objectification by the masculine gaze and the allure of a ‘Super-Male’. Turning to the literary end of the Gothic spectrum, the chapter discusses these themes in selected works by Angela Carter; in Anne Sexton’s poem ‘Rapunzel’ (1971); Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987); and in Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (2002). Thereafter it examines the interface between second- and third-wave feminist generations, noting how often, in Gothics, older women continue to be associated with monstrosity or sexual redundancy. While, in the Gothic, women are depicted as the victims of libertine sexuality, violation and coercion, this chapter also explores the roles that women themselves perform in the patriarchal exploitation of their sisters.
Thee authority of human rights has diminished, even in liberal constitutional systems, international relations, and international human rights law. This enables illiberal democracies to depart from international standards. Majority will as the embodiment of the nation’s existential interest is entitled to overrule the foreign, doctrinal dictates of human rights. In many respects, this ideology corresponds to the antielitist criticism of human rights that is common in anticolonialist literature. However, in illiberal EU member states, the conflict with “international forces” does not extend to denying such rights; rather, it is limited to deceitful reinterpretation, relying on the ambiguities of the current system, pitting rights against rights and inventing new grounds for limitation. Such reinterpretation changes the meaning of existing rights, grants new powers to traditional grounds for limitation, and uses the concept of the state’s positive obligation to promote rights to instead promote the causes of the government, its values, and the interests of organizations allied with it.
Surrealist practice of the early twentieth century anticipates the biopolitics of contemporary animal philosophy. Modern surrealists welcomed Charles Darwin’s paradigm shift, moving beyond any bright line that distinguished humans as a species from the rest of the animal kingdom. Surrealism’s investment in evolutionary biology – promoted in journals such as Minotaure, Documents, and View – buttressed its political critique of humanist exceptionalism, sovereign individualism, and any ideal telos that defined the origins and destiny of humankind. Although surrealist animal representations frequently lapse into anthropocentric fantasy, surrealist manifestoes, art, poetry, fiction, and drama remain undeniably revolutionary in depicting human/animal hybridity and assailing the oppressive discursive linkages among classism, colonialism, and speciesism. In particular, the later careers of surrealists such as Leonora Carrington look ahead to recent ecofeminist and environmental debates concerning an “ethic of care,” defining kinship and companion networks in a decidedly posthuman community of human and nonhuman animals.
The CCP's commitment to gender equality since 1921 has produced vast gains in employment and education for countless women while overlooking established gender hierarchies in family life. Long-term research in Beijing reveals that crossing class, sectoral and generational differences, there is an apparent paradox between women's increasing access to education and employment and their abiding attachment to ideas and practices associated with their roles as wives, mothers and daughters-in-law. A reconfigured “patchy” form of patriarchy is sustained by a dominant discourse of gender difference that naturalizes women's association with the domestic sphere. Unprecedented engagements with international feminism after 1995 introduced new approaches to gender equality. Recently, young feminists from diverse backgrounds have launched public protests targeting expectations of women in marriage and family life, marking a contestation of previous articulations of gender equality. Online platforms are flooded with exchanges about women's empowerment in a market environment that grants them considerable leverage to manage their marital and domestic relationships. The focus of this new generation of feminists on social reproduction signifies a radical departure from the classical Marxist principles underpinning earlier approaches to women's emancipation. Nevertheless, a “patchy patriarchy” continues to characterize widely held gender assumptions and expectations, spanning class and sectoral difference.
The first chapter uses the lens of intersectionality to explore three different case studies involving masjid space on the continent. The first case study focuses on the development of spaces such as the Open Mosque (South Africa), which actively provides a space where men and women can engage equitably in performative spirituality. The second case study continues this discussion with the Al-Fitre Foundation, which is currently the continent’s first openly LGBT+ congregation and moves beyond gender-equitable sites to promote spaces for Muslims whose sexual identity does not conform to that traditionally interpreted by Islamic doctrine. The third case study addresses the destruction of Timbuktu’s masjid landscape by extremist group Ansar Dine in 2012 towards demonstrating that just as masjid spaces can empower identity, they can also disrupt, intervene, and even destroy it, given its function as a spatial text that articulates the specific sociopolitical character of its context.
Wright’s position within the American literary canon has been contested by feminist literary critics who take issue with the treatment of gender in his work. Wright’s women characters, both real and fictional, when examined within the breadth of his published and unpublished works contests this interpretation by demonstrating an archive of black women’s experience unlike any from the era. Wright’s oeuvre is composed of a complex array of black women who are portrayed as mothers, workers, leaders, activists, and theorists. They are representations of the world as it is. This lineage of black women (and Wright’s relationship to the real and fictional women in his life) also evolves alongside the author’s political consciousness.
While much of Roth’s work centers on male protagonists and their fraught masculine identities, his works also include an array of intriguing, if supporting, female characters. From Brenda Patimkin in Goodbye , Columbus to Lucy Nelson of When She Was Good (Roth’s only female lead) to Drenka Balich in Sabbath’s Theater to Faunia Farley in The Human Stain, the women in Roth’s fiction offer necessary depth and dimension to his narratives. Still, due to Roth’s admittedly central focus on the exploits of his masculine characters, his work has often been deemed sexist or misogynistic. This chapter will contend with such accusations, providing an overview of those criticisms, acknowledging places in his fiction where female characters are either thinly developed or stereotypical, as well as those places where his female characters belie the aforementioned accusations.
Discusses Identity, focusing specifically on issues around individual and social identity in the presentation of self, and how religious believers use language to present themselves as members of communities and hold specific beliefs, often implicitly, with particular language.
The 1970s and 1980s were decades of intense culture wars in Ireland, as the feminist movement did battle with the forces of conservatism over a host of high-profile constitutional issues. It was also a period of feminist awakening in Irish poetry. The poetry of Eavan Boland entered this world somewhat tentatively, beginning to establish its suburban terrain and slowly shedding the more static aspects of that writer’s juvenilia. A very different poet is Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, whose dominant note was from the outset one of uncertainty, searching, and transition. Where Boland will focus on the theme of unrecoverable women’s lives, Ní Chuilleanáin will typically be found actively recovering submerged and lost stories and lives. Medbh McGuckian’s approach is different again, and is often characterised in terms of écriture féminine, though scholarship of her extensive use of intertextuality has added new layers of complexity to our understanding of her work. Other poets, including Nuala Archer, Paula Meehan and Rita Ann Higgins, round out this survey of a busy and radical chapter in the history of modern Irish women’s poetry.
What prompted New York City teachers to form a union in the Progressive Era? The founding of the journal American Teacher in 1912 led to creation of the Teachers’ League in 1913 and then the Teachers Union in 1916, facilitating formation of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Despite historiographical claims that teacher union drives needed a focus on bread-and-butter issues to succeed, ideals of educational democracy and opposition to managerial autocracy motivated the Teachers’ League. Contrary to claims that early New York City teacher unionism was unrepresentative because dominated by radical male Jewish high-school instructors, heterogeneous majorities of women and elementary school teachers formed the Teachers’ League and Teachers Union leaderships. Board of Education representation, maternity leave, free speech, and pensions were aims of this radically democratic movement led by socialists and feminists, which received demonstrably greater mass teacher support than the conservative feminism of a rival association.
The style of George Meredith represents an opposite extreme from Trollope: dense with epigram and ornament, it is frequently denigrated as extravagant and obscure, violating the realist conventions that Trollope worked hard to establish. However, Chapter 6 demonstrates how Meredith drew on the virtues of Asiatic and baroque styles to create a new form of psychological realism characterized by “fervidness,” the intensity that arises when contradictory principles are held in tension. On the one hand, Meredith gravitated to short forms like epigram to distill complex thoughts into memorable phrases; on the other, he delighted in the flights of fancy permitted by prosaic expansiveness. Through a consideration of major and minor work, this chapter reveals how fervidness is embodied structurally as a drama between conditions of freedom and constraint that impinge upon the development of central characters. In this way, Meredith’s “fervidness” formally replicates a dynamic that plays out thematically, making his style much more referential in terms of its relation to content than that of either Thackeray or Trollope before him.
“Women’s Marginalization” aims at evaluating the marginalization of women in postcolonial Nigeria. It further provides an overview of the position of women in Nigeria and examines the role of colonialism in promoting women’s marginalization in the country. It considers the role of the patriarchal religions of Islam and Christianity as impediments to the full expression of women in major spheres of the society. It also identifies women’s financial incapacity as one of the reasons for their underrepresentation in politics. The predominant patriarchal culture in the country fosters the subordination of women, and therefore places women on the margins of society. In other words, in the sociopolitical, economic, and educational spheres, women have experienced and continue to experience discrimination and underrepresentation based on gender, which places Nigerian women in disempowered positions. Also, several constitutional provisions have been linked to the pervasive gender inequality in the country. However, while this discourse explores the implications of women’s marginalization in a developing economy like Nigeria's, it notes that although the nation has ratified and promulgated many policies and laws with the intention of eradicating gender inequality, the situation has persisted and seems to be waxing stronger.