Showing posts with label Feminism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feminism. Show all posts

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

John Paul Stevens has a review in the latest issue of The New York Review, "Law Without History?" that examines Robert A. Katzmann's Judging Statutes (Oxford University Press). 
"In the introduction to his book Katzmann notes “the simple reality” that an enormous increase in the number of new statutes has led to a corresponding increase in the number of judicial decisions in which federal courts are called upon to interpret them as they apply in one situation or another. Now a substantial majority of the Supreme Court’s caseload involves statutory construction. And of course the work of lower federal court judges, administrative agencies, and practicing lawyers increasingly involves the interpretation of federal statutes. His topic is unquestionably important, and he has shed new light on the ongoing debate between “purposivists” and “textualists.”"
This week Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Joan Biskupic is reviewed in The New York Times.

Nick Bunker's An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America (Knopf) is reviewed in the Washington Independent Review of Books.
"Everything that most of us know about the American Revolution comes from American historians because, as the old adage says, history is written by the winners. Now hear from an eloquent spokesman for the losers: Nick Bunker is a British writer who searches for the roots of the Revolution in the politics and economics of his homeland. He looks back to see “two overlapping empires,” political and commercial. In Bunker’s harsh and well-documented opinion, British politicians “valued their commercial empire more highly than the flags they had planted on the map.”"
The Washington Post has a review of Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America's Civil Rights Murders (Harvard University Press) by Renee Romano.

Jonathan Eig's The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (Norton) has been reviewed by Ann Friedman in The New Republic and reviewed by Irin Carmon for The New York Times:
"For much of the first half of the 20th century, women approached Margaret Sanger with a plea: “Do tell me the secret.” They wrote letters, too: “Doctors are men and have not had a baby so they have no pitty [sic] for a poor sick mother.” But she had no secret to not getting pregnant when you didn’t want to. By Sanger’s time, modern medicine had improved upon the crocodile dung ancient Egyptians used as vaginal plugs and the lemon half Casanova recommended as a cervical cap — but not by much. Diaphragms were faulty and ill-used. And condoms depended on men’s will, at a time when a doctor could advise a woman to sleep on her roof to avoid her husband’s advances."

There is a Q&A with Katha Pollitt about her book PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (Picador) in the LA Times, and the book is also reviewed in The New York Times.
"“I never had an abortion, but my mother did. She didn’t tell me about it, but from what I pieced together after her death from a line in her F.B.I. file, which my father, the old radical, had requested along with his own, it was in 1960, so like almost all abortions back then, it was illegal.”
Thus begins “Pro,” the abortion rights manifesto by the Nation columnist, poet and red diaper baby Katha Pollitt. While parents with F.B.I. files may be exotic, her departure point is that abortion was and is not. Like six out of 10 women who get abortions today, Pollitt’s mom was already a mother when she chose to abort. Why didn’t she carry this pregnancy to term? How far along was she? Why didn’t she tell her husband? Was her practitioner good? Did a friend go with her? Pollitt doesn’t know."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

Public Books has added two reviews this week, both dealing with higher ed. The first is a review by Neil Gross, "The Politics of For-Profit Higher Education," which reviews Degrees of Inequality: How The Politics of Higher education Sabotaged the American Dream by Suzanne Mettler (Basic Books). The second is a review from Salamishah Tillet, "Race and Campus Rape: Equal Under The Law?", which looks at Estelle Freedman's Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (Harvard University Press).
"The rise of campus rape activism is only a small part of Stanford historian Estelle Freedman’s latest book, Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation, but her attention to the unique interdependence between racial justice and sexual assault activism in American political history might give us some insight into the limits and the potential of our current moment. Using extensive newspaper articles, court records, and conference reports, as well as personal letters and memoirs, Freedman covers the history of anti-rape activism in the United States and reminds us that “for almost two centuries a regionally, racially, and politically varied group of reformers has tried, in the face of formidable obstacles, to change legal understanding of rape.”"
The Washington Post reviews To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party by Heather Cox Richardson (Basic).

On H-Net, The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America: A Reader on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights (University of Pittsburgh Press) edited by Javier Corrales and Mario Pecheny is reviewed.
"The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America represents a trailblazing contribution to the study of same-sex sexuality in Latin America. Its move beyond questions of sexual identity to the politicization of that identity, disciplinary and regional breadth, attempts to include studies of lesbians and the transgendered, and publication of primary sources by activists and politicians ensure that a wide audience—scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates from across the humanities and social sciences, as well as law and public policy—will find it useful. Several of the chapters would work well in graduate seminars, while more general pieces, as well as those by activists and politicians, will prove invaluable in undergraduate courses."
The New Republic reviews Jonathan Eig's The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (Norton).
"Jonathan Eig chronicles the decades-long effort to make that fantasy a reality. In his telling, this transformation is thanks to a unique alliance between feminists and scientists: the spotlight-seeking activist Margaret Sanger, the rebel researcher Goody Pincus, the single-minded heiress Katherine McCormick, and the photogenic family doctor John Rock. These four people provide a formula for what it takes to create scientific breakthroughs that are ahead of their time politically: an incredible amount of drive and little concern for traditional values, a willingness to flout powerful institutions and their rewards, a tremendous amount of money, and, eventually, a way to appeal to the mainstream." 
Over at New Books in American Studies Phillip Kretsedemas's Migrants and Race in the US: Territorial Racism and the Alien/Outside (Routledge) is discussed.

And, from New Books in Law, there's an interview with Susan Haack about her book Evidence Matters: Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law (Cambridge University Press).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

There is no shortage of book reviews this weekend. The new issue of Common Place is out with a review of Matthew Taylow Raffety's The Republic Afloat: Law, Honor, and Citizenship in Maritime America (University of Chicago Press).
"In The Republic Afloat, Matthew Raffety uses violent encounters on merchant vessels in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War to suggest that it was on the water, not on land, that Americans settled key dimensions of federal governance and citizenship."
HNN has a review of Antiwar Dissent and Peace Action in World War I America (University Press of Nebraska) edited by Scott H. Bennett and Charles F. Howlett.

The Los Angeles Times reviews Edward E. Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Dede Hatch/Basic Books). (If you want to read The Economist's apology for its now withdrawn review of the book, look here, and read on about the controversy here.)
"Plantations ("slave labor camps," he calls them) were run with the ruthless efficiency of your average sweatshop. This ambitious new economic and social history of antebellum America suggests that the bondage of African Americans is just another chapter in the rise of the global economy."
Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry's new book Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements (Liveright) is published in an excerpt titled, "From riot grrrls to “Girls”: Tina Fey, Kathleen Hanna, Lena Dunham and the birth of an inspiring new feminism" in Salon.

H-Net's review of a new volume Law and the Utopian Imagination edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas and Martha Merrill Umphrey (Stanford University Press) asks "Law v. Utopia: Are They Mutually Exclusive?"
"This book of six essays on law and the utopian imagination is written by scholars from a wide array of disciplines, including English literature, fine arts, art history and cultural studies, political science, and legal philosophy and jurisprudence. The result is wide ranging and highly stimulating. Although the topics seem almost at odds with one other, the authors each pursue a unique tangent and tap into their particular areas of expertise to tease out exceptionally interesting logical constructions and conclusions as to the meaning and relationship of imagined utopias and legal strictures."
The New York Times reviews Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century (The New Press), "a posthumously published collection of essays on “culture and society in the 20th century” by the British historian Eric Hobsbawm."

Karen Abbot's new work, Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War (Harper) is reviewed in both the Washington Post (here), and in the Los Angeles Times (here). Jonathan Yardley for the Post writes,
"The role of women on both sides of the Civil War has generally received scant attention in conventional histories of the conflict, but a few women did considerably more than make bandages and tend the home fires. “War, like politics, was men’s work,” Karen Abbott writes, “and women were supposed to be among its victims, not its perpetrators. Women’s loyalty was assumed, regarded as a prime attribute of femininity itself, but now there was a question — one that would persist throughout the war — of what to do with what one Lincoln official called ‘fashionable women spies.’ Their gender provided them with both a psychological and a physical disguise; while hiding behind social mores about women’s proper roles, they could hide evidence of their treason on their very person, tucked beneath hoop skirts or tied up in their hair. Women, it seemed, were capable not only of significant acts of treason, but of executing them more deftly than men.”"
As classes start up again, some readers might be interested in the Washington Post's review of Elizabeth Green's Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Everyone) (Norton). "Green describes with verve some of the key efforts to show that great teaching is a professional achievement rather than a natural ability." Green also spoke with Slate about her book this week. You can find that interview here.

Hillary Rodham Clinton reviews Henry Kissinger's latest book World Order (Penguin) for the Washington Post. (The Los Angeles Times also has a review of the book this week.)
"It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter. ... This long view can help us understand issues from Vladimir Putin’s aggression to Iran’s negotiating strategy, even as it raises the difficult question of “how divergent historic experiences and values can be shaped into a common order.”"
The latest issue of The New York Review of Books has a piece by David Cole reviewing Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout (Harvard University Press).

Robert Cassanello's To Render Invisible: Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville (University Press of Florida) is reviewed on H-Net. In the book, Cassanello "describes black life and labor in Jacksonville from the Civil War to the Great Migration, and he illustrates how racial tensions changed in New South Jacksonville as blacks made themselves more visible in public spaces."

New Books in American Studies has interviews with two authors this week. The first is with Staci Zavattaro, discussing her book Cities for Sale: Municipalities as Public Relations and Market Firms (SUNY Press). The second interview is with Matt Grossman, discussing his book Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945 (Oxford University Press).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

H-Net has posted several new reviews this week, one of which is of Edgar J. McManus and Tara Helfman's Liberty and Union: A Constitutional History of the United States (Taylor and Francis).
"In their new concise edition of Liberty and Union, Edgar J. McManus and Tara Helfman have done an admirable job of condensing what is a complicated and nuanced area of history into a “short” textbook. They focus on liberty as the cement that holds the Union together and forms the basis for constitutional development. While the book is promoted as an abridged history designed for single-semester courses, given its length and complicated material, it would be better suited for a two-semester class."
Another H-Net review is of The Woman Suffrage Movement in America: A Reassessment by Corrine M. McConnaughy (Cambridge).
"She argues that previous studies of the woman suffrage movement focused too closely on the suffragists and not enough on the lawmakers who actually gave women the right to vote. To fill this void, she examines the legislative process in several states to discover how and why a majority of their legislators were convinced to support woman suffrage." 
Other book reviews new on H-Net include a review of Brent Tarter's The Grandees of Government: The Origins of Persistence of Undemocratic Politics in Virginia (UVA Press), and a review of After Slavery: Race, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South edited by Bruce E. Baker and Brian Kelly (University Press of Florida).
"Coeditors Baker and Kelly, along with the contributors, provide an informative study of labor history in the Reconstruction South. The essays show that the working-class narrative is key to a complete understanding of the remaking of the South. Raising provocative questions about black/white relations in the labor movement, workers' responses to labor legislation, and the role of gender (especially conceptions of manhood), the work encourages additional analysis of laborers' experiences. In sum, After Slavery is enlightening scholarship on the history of labor and citizenship in the post-emancipation era."
 In The Washington Post Alice Goffman's On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City (University of Chicago Press) is reviewed.

The Daily Beast reviews Jack Shuler's The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose (Public Affairs), which "features an evocative account of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, which reached its infamous nadir when 38 American Indians were hanged in public in Mankato, Minnesota. At the heart of this chronicle of the country’s “largest simultaneous execution” is a mesmerizing bit of prose that even the most jaded reader is likely to find moving."

And, The Washington Post has a review of Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry (Liveright).
"“Feminism Unfinished,” however, argues that the “wave” metaphor obscures the history of a continuous American women’s movement sustained by labor activists, civil rights advocates and ­social-reform campaigners, who may have looked placid on the surface but were paddling like hell underneath. Each of the three authors contributes a chapter to their history of American feminism, and they declare together in their prologue that “there was no period in the last century in which women were not campaigning for greater equality and freedom.” They hope that uncovering the “multiple and unfinished feminisms of the twentieth century can inspire” the women’s movements of the 21st. That’s the surprise signaled in the teasing subtitle."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Sunday Book List: Women's Citizenship

[This is the third in a series of special book roundups. The first in the series can be found here.]

A favorite set of readings from my “major field” of American history focused on women’s citizenship. So, in this third post, I’ve gathered those into a short list. 

Most of these books will be familiar to readers, but fewer readers may recognize Sharon Wood’s The Freedom of the Streets. Let me fix that. 

By no means a work of traditional legal history, Wood writes an intimate narrative history of a small Midwestern city in the late nineteenth century. The "book examines how women who embraced the free-labor promise took up the tools of public and political life to assert the respectability of paid employment and to confront the demon of prostitution. It also examines how the policies these women championed were transformed in the hands of men who held very different views of male sexuality and political necessity—and far greater power.” (p. 8) What I like most about the book is Wood's meticulous source work: court dockets, newspapers, tax lists, census schedules, city directories, maps, records of women’s organizations and city council records are used imaginatively and scrupulously to construct not just her argument, but also an almost palpable world for the reader to inhabit alongside the book’s actors. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Wood’s book demonstrates that “great questions can be asked in small places.” (p. 13) Here’s a review from the Journal of the History of Sexuality via JSTOR.

What other great books on women's citizenship are missing?  What would other themed reading lists on citizenship look like? For example, here’s Charles Zelden’s essential reading list on the history of election law and voting rights. I’m especially curious if anyone has a reading list on American Indian citizenship…

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thomas on Gender Equality in the Northern District of Ohio

Tracy A. Thomas, University of Akron School of Law, has posted The Struggle for Gender Equality in the Northern District of Ohio, which originally appeared in Justice on the Shores of Lake Erie: A History of the Northern District of Ohio, ed. Roberta Alexander and Paul Finkelman (Ohio University Press, 2012), 165-87.  Here is the abstract:    
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, like many of its sister courts, was reluctantly drawn into the national debate over sex equality in the 1970s. The court’s response mirrored the greater social response, initially showing a hostility to claims of gender discrimination that was slowly displaced by recognition and endorsement of sex equality rights. Three of the district’s cases on women’s rights ended in the U.S. Supreme Court and helped navigate this shift toward gender equality. These cases are the focus of this book chapter written for a book collecting the "greatest hits" of Northern District court. The chapter provides the backstory, including oral narratives and original archival research, for the cases on mandatory maternity leave, LaFleur v. Cleveland School Board; informed consent abortion restrictions, Akron Center for Reproductive Health v. City of Akron; and minor abortion laws, Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health.

These three cases from Ohio together offer a snapshot of the larger societal change for women’s rights. The nascent women’s movement in the courts proceeded initially along dual fronts of employment and abortion. The Northern District cases show the tensions and commonalities between these approaches and exemplify the development of broad-scale gender litigation across the nation.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

Continuing with works published this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, The Washington Post reviews Todd S. Purdum's An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Holt). An excerpt can also be found here on NPR. Of the book, the Post writes,
"Probably “An Idea Whose Time Has Come” will be of most use to readers who were too young to appreciate what happened in Washington in 1964 (as indeed was Purdum, who was born in 1959) or who came along well after it had receded into dim memory, which is what most American historical memory tends to do anyway." 
It's also been 50 years since Rachel Carson's death in 1964, and her life and writings are celebrated by both the New Statesman, which discusses her "sea trilogy" here, and HNN, which has a review of Robert K. Musil's Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment (Rutgers University Press).
"Despite the central role of women in the environmental movement, surprisingly little is known about them. Furthermore, what is known is usually limited to the work of Rachel Carson, whose powerful call to action, Silent Spring (1962), is widely credited with jump-starting the modern environmental movement. But, as shown by Robert Musil’s new book, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters, Carson is merely the most visible of numerous women who have had a powerful impact upon how Americans have viewed the natural environment and sought to preserve it."
Also in biography, the Washington Independent Review of Books reviews Mark Perry's The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur (Basic Books).  And Jill Lepore discusses Senator Elizabeth Warren's memoir, A Fighting Chance (Metropolitan Books) in The New Yorker.

Two books on gay rights are featured in reviews this week. History Today reviews David A.J. Richards's The Rise of Gay Rights and the Fall of the British Empire: Liberal Resistance and the Bloomsbury Group (Cambridge University Press). The second book is Jo Becker's Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality (Penguin Press). The New Republic covers the book in a piece here, and The Washington Post reviews the book here.
"This book is not intended to be a tome on gay history, but Becker should brace for accusations of omission, particularly by longtime activists who will feel marginalized. “Forcing the Spring” is a riveting legal drama, a snapshot in time, when the gay rights movement altered course and public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train."
The Federal Lawyer has still more reviews online this month. Reviews of Andrew Kahrl's The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South (Harvard University Press)  and Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster) can be found here.

An excerpt of Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes (Oxford University Press) by Mark Robert Rank, Thomas Hirschl, and Kirk Foster can be found in Salon.

Slate reviews Nikil Saval's "detailed cultural history of how the office grew to become the definitive 20th century workplace," Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace (Doubleday).

H-Net adds several good reviews this week. There is a review of Emma Christopher's A Mericless Place: The Fate of Britain's Convicts after the American Revolution (Oxford University Press), a review of The Dunning School: Historians, Race and the Meaning of Reconstruction edited by John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery (University Press of Kentucky), a review of Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman's American Umpire (Harvard University Press), and a review of Anne E. Marshall's Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State (University of North Carolina Press).

The Los Angeles Times reviews Alex Beam's American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church (Public Affairs).  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Breger and Lynch on Albany Law's Feminist Tradition

Melissa L. Breger and Mary A. Lynch, Albany Law School, have posted From Kate Stoneman to Kate Stoneman Chair, Katheryn D. Katz: Feminist Waves and the First Domestic Violence Course at a United States Law School, which appears in the Albany Law Review 77 (2014).  Here is the abstract:

Credit: Town of Busti
Credit: Albany Law School
First-wave feminist, suffragette, and 1898 Albany Law School graduate, Katherine --Kate--Stoneman [left], pioneered the admission of women to the Bar of the State of New York. She led the charge against the statutory preclusion of women, overturning the statute in 1886 and winning legislative victory for non-discrimination in admission to the bar. Exactly one hundred years later, in 1986, second-wave feminist and Albany Law School graduate Katheryn D. Katz [right] pioneered the teaching of violence against women in law schools by teaching the first documented Domestic Violence seminar course in a United States law school. In 2007, Albany Law School named Professor Katz the first Kate Stoneman Chair in Law and Democracy. The impact these two women made continues to be felt far beyond Albany Law School and New York State. This article positions the role of Albany Law School and two of its graduates in the struggle for equality of women under the law and within law schools. It also documents Professor Katz‘s historical place as a second-wave feminist and the impact her activism has had on the study of domestic violence law, family law, reproductive rights, juvenile rights, and the advancement of issues concerning women and children nationwide.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

This week the internet world of book reviews is light on legal history. But the Washington Post has an engaging review of Myra MacPherson's The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage and Scandal in the Gilded Age (Twelve).
"Given how much scurrilous chatter surrounded the sisters, and how far they bent the truth to suit their ends, MacPherson is often tasked with choosing between rival tall tales. However, she resists the temptation to pick the most flattering story and cast the sisters simply as progressive heroines. Both were willing to use their femininity, as well as their feminism, to get what they wanted; Victoria especially could be self-centered and obsessed with her own persecution; and both sisters became conservative in later life, publicly repudiating most of their “sex radical” beliefs.
They left New York for London in 1877, in the wake of the Beecher trial, and “decided to use draconian measures to sanitize their image.” Like many of their most outlandish ruses, it worked — within a few years, both were married to wealthy Englishmen. By the early 20th century, they were recognized as suffrage pioneers, although to improve society they now prescribed religion and eugenics rather than female emancipation."
The Los Angeles Review of Books has a detailed review of The Death Penalty, Volume I: The Seminars of Jacques Derrida translated by Peggy Kamuf (University of Chicago Press).
"Jacques Derrida’s The Death Penalty (Volume I), the first half of a two-year seminar he gave from 1999 to 2001 in Paris and then again at American universities, offers a new perspective on the vexing, seemingly intractable debates that surround capital punishment in this country. The book’s appearance will undoubtedly be greeted with enthusiasm by those who have read and appreciated Derrida’s writings for some time (and there are many), but do its observations and arguments have the potential to reach a broader audience? During his lifetime, Derrida’s scholarly work exerted enormous influence on academic practices around the world, profoundly changing the ways people in numerous disciplines thought and wrote about thinking and writing. Like Jean-Paul Sartre or Michel Foucault, Derrida also came to enjoy considerable celebrity beyond the ivory tower. Profiled in news features and documentary films, he met with world leaders and figured in pop songs. His impact beyond the academy was registered in more subtle ways, as well. To this day, many who have never read a word of his work casually use the verb “to deconstruct.” For his part, Derrida expressed considerable unease about the “temptation” for intellectuals to “renounce the academic discipline normally required ‘inside’ the university and to try instead to exert pressure through the press and through public opinion, in order to acquire an influence or a semblance of authority that has no relation to their own work.”"
Common-Place reviews three books on emancipation in a piece titled, "The (Not So) Distant Kinship of Race, Family, and Law in the Struggle for Freedom." Books reviewed are Rebecca J. Scott and Jean M. Hébrard's Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press), Sydney Nathans's To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (Harvard University Press), and Mark Auslander's The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family (University of Georgia Press).


Two pieces this week, one in the Washington Post and a second in the New York Times, write about Peniel E. Joseph's Stokely, A Life (Basic).
"With “Stokely: A Life,” the historian Peniel E. Joseph says he set out to “recover” Stokely Carmichael, the man who popularized the phrase “black power” and led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC, a man whose diminished historical footprint, Mr. Joseph writes, “impoverishes our understanding of the most important movement in our national history.”"
New Books in History talks with Jose Angel Hernandez, author of Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of US-Mexico Borderlands (Cambridge).
"Americans talk a lot about the flow of Mexican immigrants across their southern border. To some that flow is seen as patently illegal and dangerous. To others it’s seen as unstoppable and essential for the functioning of the U.S. economy. Everyone agrees that something must be done about it though, in fact, little is ever done. It’s an American problem that seems to have no American solution. But, as José Angel Hernández points out in his pathbreaking book Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Cambridge University Press, 2012) , it’s not just an American problem: it’s also a Mexican one and always has been. "
On HNN, Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson's Struggle to Save the University that Changed America (University of Virginia Press) by journalists Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos is reviewed.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Gerard Magliocca's American Founding Son : John Bingham and the Invention of the 14th Amendment (NYU Press) in a piece titled "When Legislators Actually Mattered."
"Professor Gerard Magliocca spares no detail in his comprehensive review of John Bingham’s life and his drafting of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. For history buffs, constitutional scholars, and civil war experts, the book is a smorgasbord of facts about a critical period in America’s history. The reader is taken step by step through the political and legal hurdles required to enact one of the most significant post–Bill of Rights provisions of our Constitution."
HNN reviews James Tobin's The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency (Simon & Schuster).
"Yes, Roosevelt’s tale has been well told by a wide variety of accomplished historians. But Toobin’s book is unique in that it focuses on the crucial period following his 1921 polio diagnosis up until his election to the presidency in 1932. This is the story of not only FDR’s struggle with polio, but of the Democratic Party in the 1920s, and Roosevelt’s tenuous place in it.
How much did polio shape the essential character of the man? After reading this account, one can only come to the conclusion: a whole lot—and probably even more than anyone will ever know."
The Los Angeles Times reviews Joshua Zeitz's Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image (Viking Adult).

H-Net adds reviews of Guy Laron's Origins of the Suez Crisis: Postwar Development Diplomacy and the Struggle over Third World Industrialization, 1945-1956 (Woodrow Wilson Center Press) (here); and Melissa R. Klapper's Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940 (NYU Press) (here).
"In Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace, Melissa R. Klapper explores the activist trajectories of American Jewish women who “believed in [their] responsibility and power to make a difference not only to [their] own Jewish family and community but also to the wider world” (p. 2). Focusing on progressive movements for woman suffrage, birth control, and peace, Klapper provides a compelling portrait of Jewish women’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century efforts to navigate the intricate terrain of identity politics and to reconcile their religious, ethnic, national, and communal identities with their activist commitments during a time of significant change."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Selden Society Studentship Announced

[We have the following announcement.]

The Selden Society, founded in 1887 by F.W. Maitland and others to encourage the study and advance the knowledge of the history of English law, offers a Studentship for a person commencing research in English legal history leading to the degree of PhD (or equivalent) at a university in the United Kingdom in September/October 2014.

The studentship will be tenable for a maximum of three years, subject to an annual review of progress.  The maximum annual value of the studentship will be £20,000.  (Account will be taken of funding available from other sources).

Application forms may be obtained from the Secretary, Selden Society, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS, UK
selden-society@qmul.ac.uk.  The deadline for receipt of applications is 1st March 2014.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup


The Nation reviews Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing and the Public Domain (Oxford Univ. Press) by Robert Spoo.
"Sometimes, in the absence of copyright, publishers have paid authors and have abstained from reprinting the books of authors they haven’t paid. Ulysses, by James Joyce, considered by some the greatest novel of the twentieth century, lost its copyright protection in America on a technicality soon after it was published. But from the 1930s to the ’90s, Joyce and his estate were paid royalties from its publication in America anyway, thanks to exactly this kind of happy anarchy. In his new scholarly book Without Copyrights, the legal and literary historian Robert Spoo tells the remarkable tale, which Spoo doesn’t necessarily deem a pretty one. Spoo rather sympathizes, in fact, with the character many observers would consider the villain."
Salon publishes an excerpt of Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders (Knopf) by Denise A Spellberg, and NPR reviews Jill Lepore's book about a Founding Father's sister, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (Knopf).

H-Net adds several works this week, including one of Wolfgang Knobl and Hans Joas's War in Social Thought: Hobbes to the Present (Princeton University Press), another of Robert Cassanello's To Render Invisible: Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville (University Press of Florida) (audio interview in last week's post), a third of Nancy Kollmann's Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge), and a fourth of Judy Tzu-Chun Wu's Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Cornell University Press).
"As its title suggests, Radicals on the Road uses the transpacific journeys of anti-Vietnam War activists as a window into radical American and Vietnamese politics and culture in the 1960s. Its principal claim is as multipronged as its intended audience and intervention: in the 1960s American and Vietnamese antiwar activists created a transnational political community, beyond the confines of any nation-state or locality, based on a sustained critique of U.S. policy in Asia."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup

This week, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington brought with it several book reviews on race in America.

NPR has put together a list of "books that bring the civil rights movement to life" here, including two of my favorites - Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi (Random House, 1992) and the edited volume of personal accounts, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (University of Illinois Press, 2012).

The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley reviews William P. Jones's The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights (Norton). Yardley writes,
"This is the central theme of “The March on Washington”: The powerful economic impulses of the march have been lost to view as historians emphasize the eloquence of King’s speech and its effect on the political climate as the country moved to address the questions of basic civil rights and opportunities that he articulated. Initially the march’s organizers demanded “federal jobs creation, raising the minimum wage, a Fair Employment Practice law, and support for [President John F.] Kennedy’s civil rights bill,” demands that “expanded as new groups joined.”"

This week there are also several reviews of For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law (Pantheon) by Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy, including a lengthy L.A. Times review, a Washington Post review, and a Wall Street Journal review for subscribers.

H-Net has a review of Emily West's Family or Freedom: People of Color in the Antebellum South (University Press of Kentucky), which makes use of enslavement petitions to examine antebellum race and status relationships in the South.

Lewie Reece has tackled two books in a H-Net review titled, "The Lincoln Theme in the Twenty-First Century." The reviewed books are Michael Burlingame's Lincoln and the Civil War (Southern Illinois University Press) and Mark E. Neely's Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press).  Reece writes:

These two books serve as a reminder that the Lincoln theme, far from being exhausted, continues to be explored in new ways by historians. Pure biography remains a subject of lively interest, but so do efforts to connect Lincoln to issues related to antislavery and the Civil War. Additionally, several works are but marginally connected to history, and instead examine the ongoing impact Lincoln had, and continues to have, on American culture. Moreover, as these two volumes suggest, academic historians continue to widen the parameters of our understanding of Lincoln. 
Mark Neely and Michael Burlingame have written widely not only about Lincoln, but Civil War America as well. Their approach in these volumes is different, yet similar. Neely presents a constitutional and legal history of the Civil War which, despite the title, is only partly about Lincoln. Burlingame has written a compressed history of Lincoln’s presidency and its influence on the Civil War. Both works reveal these historians’ impressive scholarship and wide reading in manuscript sources; both provide insight into the subject. It takes courage to try and do something different and provocative, and both men are to be commended for seeking new approaches.
 n+1 reviews Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press).

Other reviews of interest include Washington Post's review of Higher Education in America (Princeton University Press) by Derek Bok.

HistoryToday asks "How could the first nation to cleave church from state remain so pious?"as it reviews The Creation of the American Soul: Roger Williams, Church and State, and the Birth of Liberty (Duckworth) by John Barry.

The New York Times reviews A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America (Norton) by Evan J. Mandery. (Previously mentioned in the Aug. 18 Book Roundup.)

And Salon has published an excerpt from Estelle B. Freedman's Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (Harvard University Press).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dodd on the Women's Suffrage Parade of 1913

Lynda G. Dodd, City University of New York City College, has pointed out to us that this Sunday, March 3, marks the centennial “the 1913 suffrage parade that Alice Paul organized in Washington, D.C. during Wilson's first inauguration. The parade launched Alice Paul's phase leading part of the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment.”  News of this weekend’s centennial celebration and images from the orgainzers of the event are here; the Washington Post's recent story is here.  We are also happy to post some of Professor Dodd’s writings relating to the original parade.

Parades, Pickets and Prison: Alice Paul and the Virtues of Unruly Constitutional Citizenship, Journal of Law and Policy 24 (2008): 339-433
Inez Milholland Boissevain (Credit: LC)
In recent years, constitutional scholars interested in "popular constitutionalism" have examined the role of citizens in interpreting and transforming the Constitution. This article analyzes the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment led by Alice Paul's Congressional Union and National Women's Woman's Party (NWP). To evaluate the impact of Paul's unyielding campaign of wartime picketing and prison protests in convincing President Wilson to endorse the federal amendment and to work on its behalf, the article scrutinizes the relationship between Paul's more militant tactics and the conciliatory posture adopted by her rival Carrie Chapman Catt and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The article offers an interdisciplinary analysis of Paul's strategy that incorporates the insights of research on American political development, social movements, and presidential leadership, and draws on the archival records of the NWP, presidential papers, and contemporary newspaper coverage.

Paul's more contentious, unruly methods played a decisive role in obtaining the necessary congressional votes in the House and Senate during Wilson's second term. Paul refused to merely to play the role of the insider lobbyist. She instead perfected the an outsider strategy by appealing directly to voters and the public-first through parades, deputations, petitions, and other well-publicized events, and later through much more oppositional activities, such as anti-incumbent campaigns, pickets, and prison protests. Paul had an astute sense of the power of emotional appeals, and it was this feature of her outsider strategy that made the NWP such a formidable force in the suffrage movement. A kind of insider-outsider dynamic-with Catt eventually serving as the more cooperative suffrage leader, and Paul as the unruly, contentious outsider-appears to have been the crucial combination needed to gain Wilson's help in pushing suffrage through Congress in 1918-19. Paul's most controversial tactics-the picketing and protests in 1917-were implemented with such ruthless determination that Wilson and other opponents in Congress began searching for a way to end the standoff. Paul's resort to civil disobedience may have appeared unruly to her political opponents and the public, but it was in reality a tactic, like all of her strategies, chosen and deployed after a careful consideration of its political impact. That Wilson gave Catt and NAWSA all of the public credit for the shift should not obscure the crucial role that Paul's campaign played in creating this pressure. Given this success, Alice Paul deserves more recognition as a leading exemplar of the transformative model of constitutional citizenship.
Sisterhood of Struggle: Leadership and Strategy in the Campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment, in Feminist Legal History (Tracey A. Thomas & Tracey Jean Boisseau eds., NYU Press, 2011) 
This chapter examines the role of Alice Paul's leadership in securing passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Recent scholarship on popular constitutionalism reminds us that constitutional history encompasses more than the work of litigators and judges; it also addresses movements for social and political reforms, including constitutional amendments. To achieve success, reformers must consider opportunities and constraints posed by the broader social and political context, make use of available resources, and devise appropriate tactics. All these strategic choices depend upon effective leaders and organizations. When the twenty-eight-year-old Paul assumed the leadership of the militant suffrage campaign, she sought to establish her place among an older generation of remarkable female reformers and activists: Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Carrie Chapman Catt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Florence Kelley, Mary Church Terell, Lillian Wald, among many others. Historians like Anne Firor Scott have called attention to the "extraordinary efflorescence of female leadership" in this era, and a rich literature in women's history has examined these leaders' lives and legacies. Paul's work in the militant suffrage campaign is one of the most notable examples of successful leadership in the "age of reform," and yet her role has never received similarly sustained appraisals.

This chapter focuses, in particular, on two important features of her strategy: her use of a passionate politics relying on emotional appeals for recruitment, mobilization, persuasion, and contention; and her commitment to unruly defiance, through the party accountability campaigns and wartime acts of civil disobedience. Rather than simply describe these tactics and their results, this chapter instead draws on recent scholarship examining the role of leadership style and organizational form in social movements-what one scholar has called "strategic capacity"-in order to explore how these strategies were chosen and implemented, and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Paul's approach.
 The Rhetoric of Gender Upheaval During the Campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment, Boston University Law Review (2013)
This essay examines the anti-suffragists' rhetoric of gender upheaval during the final years of the suffrage campaign in order to more precisely identify their concerns and justifications regarding the virtues of traditional gender roles and women's civic membership. When scholars of the history of women's civic status focus on "patriarchy's appeal" to "dominant white male citizens," they miss the prevalence of the women who opposed changes to their own civic status. This essay explores their arguments in two leading anti-suffrage journals, The Remonstrance and The Woman Protest, and considers what their legacy might offer to today's debates regarding the evolution of woman's roles.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Symposium on The History and Future of the Economic Equity Act

"Congressional Power to Effect Sex Equity: The History and Future of the Economic Equity Act" is the topic of a symposium this Thursday, February 21, at Harvard Law School. Here's the announcement:
Patricia Seith (credit)
This symposium, hosted by the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, explores the efforts of the Congressional Women’s Caucus and, more specifically, the Economic Equity Act, an omnibus piece of legislation active in Congress throughout the 1980s and first half of the 1990s. A bipartisan effort, the Economic Equity Act sought to improve the lives of women by tackling the economic challenges they faced as homemakers and caregivers, workers, consumers, and business owners. Focusing on practical reforms in areas such as tax, insurance, employee and retirement benefits, and credit and lending, the Act’s many successful provisions aimed to achieve sex equality not in theory, but in fact.
The event is tied to an article that we are publishing this winter, entitled Congressional Power to Effect Sex Equality and written by Patricia Seith. The article will provide a springboard for a discussion of efforts to legislate toward gender and class equity in the past and implications for the present and future. Confirmed speakers include Congresswomen Elizabeth Holtzman and Pat Schroeder, and scholars Alice Kessler-Harris (Columbia), Stephen Ansolabehere (Harvard University), Serena Mayeri (Penn Law), Patricia Seith (Stanford Law), and Suzanne Kahn (Columbia). A wine and cheese reception will follow. All are welcome!
[bold emphasis added]
We will update* the post when an electronic version of Seith's paper comes online. A few of the responses are already available:
Suzanne Kahn, Valuing Women’s Work in the 1970s Home and the Boundaries of the Gendered Imagination

Serena Mayeri, Filling in the (Gender) Gaps
For additional details, follow the link.

*UPDATE: Page proofs for Seith's article are available here, at SSRN.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mack on Obama, Pauli Murray and the 50th Anniversary of 1963

Kenneth Mack, Harvard Law School, has published Remembering Civil Rights in 1963, 50 Years On, on Huffington Post.  It commences:
President Obama's unprecedented endorsement of gay rights in his inauguration address last week–delivered on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday -- marks the beginning of a year when Americans will celebrate the 50th anniversary of so many groundbreaking events of 1963. . . . As the nation remembers these important milestones, it is important not to forget the work of a long-forgotten activist who emerged publicly that year to link civil rights to women's rights, and ultimately to her own closeted sexual identity. In doing so, an African American woman lawyer named Pauli Murray strongly criticized the leadership of the civil rights movement for excluding women as it was planning for the march that would bring 250,000 protesters to Washington that fall. More than any other individual, it is Murray who deserves credit for expanding the language of civil rights beyond the African American struggle for equality to women's rights, and ultimately to what she later called "human rights"– and for paving the way for a President of the United States to claim that it included gays and lesbians as well.
More.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Lost History of Providers' Abortion Rights


Abortion law is made in clinics, as I suggested in a recent post. At the same time, abortion laws have dramatically changed how clinics do business. As Johanna Schoen studies in a forthcoming book Abortion After Legalization, 1970-2000 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2013), law has remade abortion practice. Since at least the 1990s, the vast majority of abortions take place in independent clinics, allowing many physicians and hospitals to distance themselves from the abortion struggle. At the same time, in the 1970s, providers’ place in abortion politics changed. In the lead-up to Roe, physicians played a visible role in the movement to legalize abortion. For organizations like NARAL, the involvement of physicians like Ed Keemer or Milan Vuitch made legal abortion appear to be more mainstream and respectable. In the decade after Roe, by contrast, the abortion-rights movement highlighted the importance of women to the cause and the value of the cause to women. NARAL Executive Director Karen Mulhauser highlighted her own experiences with rape in explaining the importance of access to abortion. Other movement members invoked the death of Rosie Jimenez, a woman who could not afford a legal abortion and who died after a botched illegal procedure.

As providers became less central to movement rhetoric, abortion opponents created powerful narratives about the nature of abortion and abortion providers. Organizations like the National Right to Life Committee argued that providers misinformed women and exploited them for money. In well-publicized slide shows, abortion opponents brought into the open a particular, morally charged, and violent image of abortion.

In the 1970s, the providers’ wing of the abortion movement had just started to mobilize, and after 1976, the mainstream movement generally presented legal abortion as something to be prevented. Providers, in this account, facilitated a necessary evil. The movement offered no direct answer to claims about what the abortion procedure involved or about how providers behaved.

The providers movement organized gradually, with the formation of the National Abortion Federation in the late 1970s and the founding of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers in the 1990s. These organizations at times offered a more nuanced narrative about the abortion experience. Highlighting prayers and burial ceremonies preferred by some patients, providers emphasized that some women grieved the loss of a fetus while having no regret about an abortion decision. Citing the stories of actual patients, providers called for a change in the abortion-rights movement’s argumentative strategy, urging activists to acknowledge that abortion involved killing while maintaining that society should trust the moral agency of women. The advocacy of these organizations has at times pointed to mostly unexplored new directions in the law and policy of abortion rights.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roe, Women's Rights, and Population Control


As abortion opponents held different goals for movement incrementalism, before and after Roe, abortion-rights supporters had strikingly different identities and priorities. One issue, particularly explosive in contemporary historiography, involves the role of population-control politics in the pre- and post-Roe movement. As I have shown, population-control arguments played an important part in the pre-Roe rhetorical strategy of the movement (see Mary Ziegler, The Framing of a Right to Choose: Roe v. Wade and The Changing Debate on Abortion Law, 27 Law and History Review 272 (2009)). Abortion-rights pamphlets from the 1970s often highlight the benefits of legalizing abortion: the reduction of welfare costs, illegitimacy rates, and overall population growth. Movement leaders like Larry Lader and Richard Bowers worked within the population control movement. Others, like Judy Senderowitz, the feminist leader of Zero Population Growth, combined commitments to curbing population growth and legalizing abortion.

The meaning of the abortion-movement’s relationship to demands for population control was anything but straightforward, however. In the 1970s, population controllers themselves were diverse. Reva Siegel and Linda Greenhouse describe the commitment to sexual freedom evident in the work of organizations like Zero Population Growth, Inc. Donald Critchlow and Matthew Connelly have traced the movement’s ties to past demands for eugenic legal reform and government control of reproduction. Throughout the 1970s, different constituencies contested the identity and values of their movement. Some rifts tended to be generational. Older leaders more often had ties to earlier eugenic organizations or shared concerns about the relationship between population growth in the Third World and cold war politics. College students, by contrast, viewed the population control movement as a rallying cry for environmental stewardship, sexual freedom, and responsible childbearing within the white middle class.

Struggle about the meaning of the population control cause bled into battles within the abortion-rights movement. Were arguments for abortion based on population control merely politically expedient, or did these claims instead reflect the substantive beliefs of members of the abortion-rights movement? Were population arguments inherently incompatible with claims that abortion was a fundamental right for women? Gradually, feminists took positions of leadership and downplayed claims based on population control, at times, denying that related arguments had ever played a part in abortion rights advocacy. Significantly, the abortion-rights movement began rewriting its own history and the history of the population-control movement. Population control, in this account, involved government control over reproduction, something that a feminist abortion-rights movement had never endorsed. Perhaps the most controversial issue in this new narrative involved race and abortion, a subject I will take up next.