Feminisms: A Global History (Hardcover)

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Feminism’s origins have often been framed around a limited cast of mostly white and educated foremothers, but the truth is that feminism has been and continues to be a global movement. For centuries, women from all walks of life have been mobilizing for gender justice. As the last decade has reminded even the most powerful women, there is nothing “post-feminist” about our world. And there is much to be learned from the passion and protests of the past.

Historian Lucy Delap looks to the global past to give us a usable history of the movement against gender injustice—one that can help clarify questions of feminist strategy, priority and focus in the contemporary moment. Rooted in recent innovative histories, the book incorporates alternative starting points and new thinkers, challenging the presumed priority of European feminists and ranging across a global terrain of revolutions, religions, empires and anti-colonial struggles.

In Feminisms, we find familiar stories—of suffrage, of solidarity, of protest—yet there is no assumption that feminism looks the same in each place or time. Instead, Delap explores a central paradox: feminists have demanded inclusion but have persistently practiced their own exclusions. Some voices are heard and others are routinely muted. In amplifying the voices of figures at the grassroots level, Delap shows us how a rich relationship to the feminist past can help inform its future.

About the Author

Lucy Delap is reader and deputy chair of the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century and Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth-Century Britain.

Praise For…

"This outstanding work . . . takes a thematic approach to the topic of global feminist history to provide a unified vision that maintains appropriate nuance. . . . It's masterful."

— Jana Byars

"A brilliant work of feminist scholarship that is global in scope, rigorous in analysis, and inviting in its storytelling."

— Hyaeweol Choi, author of Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-Era Korea

"Delap's telling is unique amongst histories of feminism. As it tears across the globe, Feminisms reveals familiar organizations, projects, agitators, and obstacles in new garb and places them alongside ones conventionally overlooked. Start with any chapter and savor every generous, undogmatic page."

— Bonnie G. Smith, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, Rutgers University

"Delap wields the concept of feminism to show how activists 'politicize the injustices of gender' across 250 years and six continents. Attentive to the blind spots and complicities of many feminist ventures, she also recognizes its affinities and resonance across generations, geographies, and genders. This brilliant book probes feminism's meanings and materializations through chapters on dreams, feelings, objects, and songs as well as ideas, looks, spaces, and actions."

— Nancy A. Hewitt, author of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

"This is an extraordinary and beautiful history of the global struggles against the injustices of gender. It brings the battles of feminists to life, not only through their ideas and campaigns, but also their dreams, songs, anger, and the material dimensions of their activism—their bloomers, badges, and veils, their refuges, workplaces, and borderlands."

— Hannah Dawson, King's College London

“Delap provides a concise but thorough history of the variety of feminist movements that have formed over the last century, bringing a sense of shared vision and voice to a diverse history without forcing a false unity.”

— Carla Jones, University of Colorado Boulder
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226754093
ISBN-10: 022675409X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Pages: 256