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Jonathan Eig

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Jonathan Eig is a New York Times best-selling author of four books and former journalist for the Wall Street Journal. His book The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (W.W. Norton, 2014) gives us a lively narrative history of the development and marketing of the birth control pill. He presents us with four risk-taking outsiders whose path became intertwined in the pursuit of a reliable and simple contraceptive. The feminist Margaret Sanger, in her campaign for the rights of women, sought a reliable birth control method as a means to sexual and social liberation. The genius scientist Gregory Pincus's research stretched the boundaries of law and ethics and tied him to the business interest of Searle pharmaceuticals. The wealthy socialite Katharine McCormick's singular focus and funding kept the research going. The handsome promoter John Rock, a Catholic infertility doctor, was willing to go against his church's teaching and provide untested drugs to desperate patients. The story begins in the radical and sexually freewheeling Greenwich Village of the early twentieth century. Eig follows Sanger's crusade for birth control information, cultural change, scientific victories and defeats, and the marketing of what became the first FDA-approved contraceptive pill in 1960. This is a well-researched and riveting story of four exceptional people and a revolution in the intimate lives of women and men. The birth control pill forever changed how we think about marriage, sexuality, and parenting.

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Claire Virginia EbyUntil Choice Do Us Part: Marriage Reform in the Progressive Era

June 23, 2015

Clare Virginia Eby is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut. In Until Choice Do Us Part: Marriage Reform in the Progressive Era (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Eby examines the origins of how we think of marriage through the theoretical and experimental reform of the institution in the progressive era. Marriage theorist […]

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Anita M. HarrisIthaca Diaries: Coming of Age in the 1960s

June 20, 2015

Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll. That's the stereotypical view of the 1960s. But in her memoir, Ithaca Diaries, Coming of Age in the 1960s (Cambridge Common Press, 2014), journalist and writer Anita M. Harris tells a more nuanced story about her tumultuous undergraduate years at Cornell University.    

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Sally McMillenLucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life

June 14, 2015

Sally G. McMillen is the Mary Reynolds Babcock professor of history at Davidson College. In her book Lucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life (Oxford University Press, 2015) McMillen has given us a rich biography of the life and times of the abolitionist and women's rights advocate Lucy Stone. Born in 1818 into a farming community in […]

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Julie Billaud Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan

June 10, 2015

Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) by Julie Billaud is a fascinating account of women and the state and ongoing 'reconstruction' projects in post-war Afghanistan. The book moves through places such as gender empowerment training programmes and women's dormitories, and analyses such topics as the law and veiling in public. Subtle […]

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Marion Holmes KatzWomen in the Mosque: A History of Legal Thought and Social Practice

June 2, 2015

Recently, there have been various debates within the Muslim community over women's mosque attendance. While contemporary questions of modern society structure current conversations, this question, 'may a Muslim woman go to the mosque,' is not a new one. In Women in the Mosque: A History of Legal Thought and Social Practice (Columbia University Press, 2014), […]

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Robin JamesResistance and Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism and Neo-Liberalism

June 2, 2015

How are contemporary pop culture ideas about resilience used by Neoliberal capitalism? Robin James addresses this question using philosophy of music (and by doing philosophy through music) in her new book Resistance and Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, and Neoliberalism (Zero Books, 2015). The book opens with a discussion of Calvin Harris (& Florence Welch's) Sweet Nothing as […]

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Eva IllouzHard-Core Romance: Fifty Shades of Grey, Best-Sellers, and Society

April 27, 2015

Eva Illouz is professor of sociology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her book Hard-Core Romance: Fifty Shades of Grey, Best Sellers, and Society (University of Chicago Press, 2014), provides a feminist-sociological analysis of the soft pornographic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The book, and its two […]

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Torild SkardWomen of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide

April 26, 2015

Torild Skard is the author of Women of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide (Policy Press, 2015). Skard is a senior researcher in women's studies at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo and is a former member of parliament and the first woman president of the Norwegian Upper […]

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Melissa DabakisA Sisterhood of Sculptors: American Artists in Nineteenth-Century Rome

April 20, 2015

In A Sisterhood of Sculptors: American Artists in Nineteenth-Century Rome (Penn State University Press, 2014), Melissa Dabakis takes readers on an unexpected journey from Boston to Rome to discover multiple American women sculptors working in studios, winning public commissions, and earning artistic renown in the mid-19th Century. The book navigates through the worlds of sculpture, feminism, […]

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