Global: Zed Books Feminist Reading List of Inspiringly Dangerous Women Print E-mail


International Women's Day: A Reading List

Emerging out of the labour movement, #IWD is a moment to stop and reflect on the ongoing struggle for women's liberation across the world, as well as a time to celebrate and commemorate fights and victories for women throughout history. To mark this, Zed has put together a reading list for #IWD.

The books we've selected highlight the huge range of political struggles than women are involved in across the world, from the "leftover women" dealing with gender inequality in China to ongoing debates about the veil in the Muslim world. And as well as dealing with both historic and contemporary campaigns, these books also look ahead, asking important questions about what women's sexuality and reproductive rights might look like in a more emancipated future. They also look at the intersections of race and gender, including, for the first time, the autobiography of legendary Black Panther Assata Shakur available as an ebook.

From Nawal El Saadawi to Ifi Amadiume, from Vandana Shiva to Holly Lewis, this reading list aims to provide an informative and moving introduction to the multiplicity of battles still being fought by the women of the world.
 
Three incredible books from Egyptian feminist Nawal El-Saadawi:
The story of Firdaus, one of the greatest characters ever created in fiction.
Paperback / £9.99 / $12.95 / 9781783605941

plus God Dies by the Nile and Other Novels

Three classic Saadawi novels in one volume, tackling religion, love and women's emancipation.  
Paperback / £12.99 / $14.95 / 9781783605965

Hidden Face of Eve

Presents an account of brutality against women in the Muslim world. This work explores the causes of the situation through a discussion of the historical role of Arab women in religion and literature. It argues that the veil, polygamy and legal inequality are incompatible with the just and peaceful Islam.  
Paperback / £12.99 / $18.95 / 9781783607471
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By Leta Hong-Fincher

After the 1949 revolution in China, Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that €œwomen hold up half the sky.€ In the early years of the People€™s Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives. Yet those gains are being eroded in China€™s post-socialist era.

Contrary to many claims made in the media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of rights and gains relative to men. Leftover Women lays out the structural discrimination against women and speaks to broader problems with China€™s economy, politics, and development.
Paperback / £15.99 / $26.95 / 9781780329215
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By Jenny Hawley

Women's empowerment is critical to environmental sustainability, isn't it? When Friends of the Earth asked this question on Facebook half of respondents said yes and half said no, with women as likely to say no as men. This collection of articles and interviews, from some of the leading lights of the environmental and feminist movements, demonstrates that achieving gender equality is vital if we are to protect the environment upon which we all depend. It is a rallying call to environmental campaigning groups and other environmentalists who have, on the whole, neglected women's empowerment in their work.

We hope that the book will encourage the environmental movement and women's movement to join in fighting the twin evils of women's oppression and environmental degradation, because social justice and environmental sustainability are two sides of the same coin.
Paperback / £9.99 / $12.95 / 9781783605798
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By Holly Lewis

The Politics of Everybody examines the production and maintenance of the terms 'man', 'woman', and 'other' within the current political moment; the contradictions of these categories and the prospects of a Marxist approach to praxis for queer bodies. Few thinkers have attempted to reconcile queer and Marxist analysis. Those who have propose the key contested site to be that of desire/sexual expression. This emphasis on desire, Lewis argues, is symptomatic of the neoliberal project and has lead to a continued fascination with the politics of identity. By arguing that Marxist analysis is in fact most beneficial to gender politics within the arena of body production, categorization and exclusion Lewis develops a theory of gender and the sexed body that is wedded to the realities of a capitalist political economy.

Boldly calling for a new, materialist queer theory, Lewis defines a politics of liberation that is both intersectional, transnational, and grounded in lived experience.
Paperback / £16.99 / $29.95 / 9781783602872
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By Marc Epprecht

The persecution of people in Africa on the basis of their assumed or perceived homosexual orientation has received considerable coverage in the popular media in recent years. Gay-bashing by political and religious figures in Zimbabwe and Gambia; draconian new laws against lesbians and gays and their supporters in Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda; and the imprisonment and extortion of gay men in Senegal and Cameroon have all rightly sparked international condemnation.

However, much of the analysis has been highly critical of African leadership and culture without considering local nuances, historical factors and external influences that are contributing to the problem. Such commentary also overlooks grounds for optimism in the struggle for sexual rights and justice in Africa, not just for sexual minorities but for the majority population as well. Based on pioneering research on the history of homosexualities and engagement with current lgbti and HIV/AIDS activism, Marc Epprecht provides a sympathetic overview of the issues at play and a hopeful outlook on the potential of sexual rights for all.
Paperback / £13.99 / $24.95 / 9781780323817
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By Ifi Amadiume

In 1987, more than a decade before the dawn of queer theory, Ifi Amadiume wrote Male Daughters, Female Husbands, to critical acclaim. This compelling and highly original book frees the subject position of 'husband' from its affiliation with men, and goes on to do the same for other masculine attributes, dislocating sex, gender and sexual orientation. Boldly arguing that the notion of gender, as constructed in Western feminist discourse, did not exist in Africa before the colonial imposition of a dichotomous understanding of sexual difference, Male Daughters, Female Husbands examines the structures in African society that enabled people to achieve power, showing that roles were not rigidly masculinized nor feminized. At a time when gender and queer theory are viewed by some as being stuck in an identity-politics rut, this outstanding study not only warns against the danger of projecting a very specific, Western notion of difference onto other cultures, but calls us to question the very concept of gender itself.
Paperback / £12.99 / $18.95 / 9781783603329
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By Mimi Marinucci  

Feminism is Queer is an introduction to the intimately related disciplines of gender and queer theory. Whilst guiding the reader through complex theory, the author develops the original position of queer feminism, which presents queer theory as continuous with feminist theory. Whilst there have been significant conceptual tensions between second wave feminism and traditional lesbian and gay studies, queer theory offers a paradigm for understanding gender, sex and sexuality that avoids the conflict in order to develop solidarity among those interested in feminist theory and those interested in lesbian and gay rights.

An essential guide to anyone with an interest in gender or sexuality, this accessible and comprehensive textbook carefully explains nuanced theoretical terminology and provides extensive suggested further reading to provide the reader with full and thorough understanding of both disciplines.
Paperback / £17.99 / $36.95 / 9781848134751
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Edited by Srila Roy  

South Asian Feminism is in crisis. Under constant attack from right-wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism and co-opted by 'NGO-ization' and neoliberal state agendas, once autonomous and radical forms of feminist mobilization have been ideologically fragmented and replaced. It is time to rethink the feminist political agenda for the predicaments of the present.

This timely volume provides an original and unprecedented exploration of the current state of South Asian feminist politics. It will map the new sites and expressions of feminism in the region today, addressing issues like disability, Internet technologies, queer subjectivities and violence as everyday life across national boundaries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Written by young scholars from the region, this book addresses the generational divide of feminism in the region, effectively introducing a new 'wave' of South Asian feminists that resonates with feminist debates everywhere around the globe.
Paperback / £20.99 / $37.95 / 9781780321899
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By Laura Agustin

This groundbreaking book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' disempowers them. Based on extensive research amongst migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustín, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry. Although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
Paperback / £19.99 / $34.95 / 9781842778609
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By Kristin Aune and Catherine Redfern

Feminism is so last century. Surely in today's world the idea is irrelevant and unfashionable? Wrong. Since the turn of the millennium a revitalised feminist movement has emerged to challenge these assumptions. Based on a survey of over a thousand feminists, Reclaiming the F Word reveals the what, why and how of today's feminism, from cosmetic surgery to celebrity culture, from sex to singleness and now, in this new edition, the gendered effects of possibly the worst economic crisis ever. This is a generation-defining book demanding nothing less than freedom and equality, for all.
Paperback / £8.99 / $14.95 / 9781780326276
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By Vandana Shiva and Maria Mies

This groundbreaking work remains as relevant today as when it was when first published. Two of Zed's best-known authors argue that ecological destruction and industrial catastrophes constitute a direct threat to everyday life, the maintenance of which has been made the particular responsibility of women. In both industrialized societies and the developing countries, the new wars the world is experiencing, violent ethnic chauvinisms and the malfunctioning of the economy also pose urgent questions for ecofeminists. Is there a relationship between patriarchal oppression and the destruction of nature in the name of profit and progress? How can women counter the violence inherent in these processes? Should they look to a link between the women's movement and other social movements? Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva offer a thought-provoking analysis of these and many other issues from a unique North-South perspective. They critique prevailing economic theories, conventional concepts of women's emancipation, the myth of 'catching up' development, the philosophical foundations of modern science and technology, and the omission of ethics when discussing so many questions, including advances in reproductive technology and biotechnology. In constructing their own ecofeminist epistemology and methodology, these two internationally respected feminist environmental activists look to the potential of movements advocating consumer liberation and subsistence production, sustainability and regeneration, and they argue for an acceptance of limits and reciprocity and a rejection of exploitation, the endless commoditization of needs, and violence.
Paperback / £12.99 / $19.95 / 9781780325637
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By Assata Shakur
With foreword by Angela Davis
NOW AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK! £4.99 / $7.00

In 2013 Assata Shakur, founding member of the Black Liberation Army, former Black Panther and godmother of Tupac Shakur, became the first ever woman to make the FBI's most wanted terrorist list.

Assata Shakur's trial and conviction for the murder of a white state trooper in the spring of 1973 divided America. Her case quickly became emblematic of race relations and police brutality in the USA. While Assata's detractors continue to label her a ruthless killer, her defenders cite her as the victim of a systematic, racist campaign to criminalize and suppress black nationalist organizations.

This intensely personal and political autobiography reveals a sensitive and gifted woman, far from the fearsome image of her that is projected by the powers that be. With wit and candour Assata recounts the formative experiences that led her to embrace a life of activism. With pained awareness she portrays the strengths, weaknesses and eventual demise of black and white revolutionary groups at the hands of the state.

A major contribution to the history of black liberation, destined to take its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.
Paperback / £8.99 / $14.95 / 9781783601783
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By Carol Dyhouse  

Girls behave badly. If they're not obscenity-shouting, pint-swigging ladettes, they're narcissistic, living dolls floating around in a cloud of self-obsession, far too busy twerking to care. And this is news. In this witty and wonderful book, Carol Dyhouse shows that where there's a social scandal or a wave of moral outrage, you can bet a girl is to blame. Whether it be stories of 'brazen flappers' staying out and up all night in the 1920s, inappropriate places for Mars bars in the 1960s or Courtney Love's mere existence in the 1990s, bad girls have been a mass-media staple for more than a century. And yet, despite the continued obsession with their perceived faults and blatant disobedience, girls are infinitely better off today than they were a century ago. This is the story of the challenges and opportunities faced by young women growing up in the swirl of the twentieth century, and the pop-hysteria that continues to accompany their progress.
Paperback / £8.99 / $14.95 / 9781783601608
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By Caron Gentry and Laura Sjoberg

Beyond Mothers, Monsters, Whores takes the suggestion in Mothers, Monsters, Whores that it is important to see genderings in characterizations of violent women, and to use critique of those genderings to retheorize individual violence in global politics. It begins by demonstrating the interdependence of the personal and international levels of global politics in violent women's lives, but then shows that this interdependence is inaccurately depicted in gender-subordinating narratives of women's violence. Such narratives, the authors argue, are not only normatively problematic on the surface but also intersect with other identifiers, such as race, religion, and geopolitical location.
Paperback / £18.99 / $29.95 / 9781783602070
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Edited by Shahrzad Mojab

Global events, from economic crisis to social unrest and militarization, disproportionately affect women. Yet around the world it is also women who are leading the struggle against oppression and exploitation. In light of renewed interest in Marxist theory among many women activists and academics, Marxism and Feminism presents a contemporary and accessible Marxistfeminist analysis on a host of issues. It reassesses previous debates and seeks to answer pressing questions of how we should understand the relationship between patriarchy and capitalism, and how we can envision a feminist project which emancipates both women and society. With contributions from both renowned scholars and new voices, Marxism and Feminism is set to become the foundational text for modern Marxist-feminist thought.
Paperback / £21.99 / $30.95 / 9781783603244
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By Nikki van der Gaag

Feminism has changed the world; it is radically reshaping women€™s lives. But what about men? They still hold most of the power in the economy, in government, in religions, in the media and often in the family too. At the same time, many men are questioning traditional views about what it means to be a man. Others resent the gains women have made and want to turn back the clock. Feminism and Men asks: how might feminism improve the lives of men as well as women? And is there a place for men in the feminist story?
Paperback / £15.99 / $26.95 / 9781780329116
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By Robin L. Riley

This powerful book exposes how gendered Orientalism is wielded to justify Western imperialism. Over the last ten years, Western governments and mainstream media have utilized concepts of white masculine supremacy and feminine helplessness, juxtaposed with Orientalist images depicting women of color as mysterious, sinister, and dangerous, to support war. Oscillating between Mrs Anthrax, female suicide bomber and tragic, helpless victim, representations of 'brown women' have spawned both rescue narratives and terrorist alerts. Examining media and pop culture from Sex and the City 2 to Vanity Fair and Time magazine, Robin Riley uses transnational feminist analysis to reveal how this kind of transnational sexism towards Muslim women in general and Afghan and Iraqi women in particular has led to a new form of gender imperialism.
Paperback / £18.99 / $34.95 / 9781780321288