Celebrate Women’s History Month with the University of Michigan Press!
March is Women’s History Month! What started as a small local celebration centered around International Women’s Day in Sonoma County, California became a nationally designated month-long recognition of the ways women are integral to every aspect of life and society. One great way to celebrate this March is to educate yourself on women’s issues throughout society. Here at the University of Michigan Press, you can find titles by, for, and about women in all sectors of life, including politics, art, writing, and music. We are committed to uplifting the voices of women, this month and every month. Below, you’ll find a wide variety of books from our collection that celebrate and appreciate women.
Women in Politics
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.” In these titles, you’ll find explorations of how women get into places where those decisions are being made and what happens once they get there.
Focused on structural and political intersectionalities, Gendered Pluralism takes a broader approach to understanding the constellation of factors that drive gender and racial differences on an array of public policy issues. Belinda Robnett and Katherine Tate examine a broader set of actors absent the contextual factors that may drive them to compromise their opinions.
Meredith Conroy and Sarah Oliver focus on the candidate emergence process (recruitment, perceived qualifications, and ambition), and investigate the effects of individuals’ gender personality on these variables to improve theories of women’s underrepresentation in government. By including a measure of gender personality we can more fully grapple with women’s progress in American politics, and consider whether this progress rests on masculine behaviors and attributes.
Gendered Vulnerability examines the factors that make women politicians more electorally vulnerable than their male counterparts. These factors combine to convince women that they must work harder to win elections—a phenomenon that Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt term “gendered vulnerability.” Since women feel constant pressure to make sure they can win reelection, they devote more of their time and energy to winning their constituents’ favor. Lazarus and Steigerwalt examine different facets of legislative behavior, finding that female members do a better job of representing their constituents than male members.
Find more in titles in The CAWP Series in Gender and American Politics.
Influential Women in Music, Theatre, and Art
The arts have long been a haven for those who don’t quite fit in, or who have a unique and original gift to share with the world. But women haven’t always gotten the appreciation and celebration they deserve for their contributions. These titles aim to elucidate the ways women have changed and impacted vital artistic institutions.
Betty Carter's lifelong influence on the music world is unparalleled. Her contributions to music as a jazz singer, composer, arranger, and teacher have fostered a generation of musicians and fans. This book looks at Betty Carter's contribution to the music world and delves behind the scenes to show Carter's growth as a businesswoman who took charge of her career. Drawing upon revealing interviews with Carter, the author shows how ever-changing shifts in the music industry affected the singer's life and influenced her music.
Subverting assumptions that American musical theater is steeped in nostalgia, cheap sentiment, misogyny, and homophobia, this book shows how the musicals of the '50s and early '60s celebrated strong women characters flouting gender expectations. A Problem Like Maria reexamines the roles, careers, and performances of four of musical theater's greatest stars—Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews, and Barbra Streisand—through a lesbian feminist lens. Focusing on both star persona and performance, Stacy Wolf argues that each of her subjects deftly crafted characters (both on- and offstage) whose defiance of the norms of midcentury femininity had immediate appeal to spectators on the ideological and sexual margins, yet could still play in Peoria.
At a time of few opportunities for women in general and even fewer for African American women, Jackie Ormes (1911–85) blazed a trail as a popular cartoonist with the major black newspapers of the day. Ormes was a member of Chicago’s black elite, with a social circle that included the leading political figures and entertainers of the day. Her cartoons and comic strips provide an invaluable glimpse into American culture and history, with topics that include racial segregation, U. S. foreign policy, educational equality, the atom bomb, and environmental pollution, among other pressing issues of the times—and of today’s world as well. This celebrated biography features a large sampling of Ormes’s cartoons and comic strips, and a new preface.
One of the most important things we can do during Women’s History Month is listen to women’s experiences in their own words. These titles demonstrate and explore the work of a few female literary greats.
The Body of Poetry collects essays, reviews, and memoir by Annie Finch, one of the brightest poet-critics of her generation. Finch's germinal work on the art of verse has earned her the admiration of a wide range of poets, from new formalists to hip-hop writers. And her ongoing commitment to women's poetry has brought Finch a substantial following as a "postmodern poetess" whose critical writing embraces the past while establishing bold new traditions.
The line between poetry (the delicate, surprising not-quite) and the essay (the emphatic so-there!) is thin, easily crossed. Both welcome a deep mulling-over, endlessly mixing image and idea and running with scissors; certainly each distrusts the notion of premise or formulaic progression. Marianne Boruch’s essays in The Little Death of Self emerged by way of odd details or bothersome questions that would not quit—Why does the self grow smaller as the poem grows enormous? Why does closure in a poem so often mean keep going? Must we stalk the poem or does the poem stalk us until the world clicks open?
Alicia Ostriker’s artistic and intellectual productions as a poet, critic, and essayist over the past 50 years are protean and have been profoundly influential to generations of readers, writers, and critics. In all her writings, both the feminist and the human engage fiercely with the material and metaphysical world. Ostriker is a poet concerned with questions of social justice, equality, religion, and how to live in a world marked by both beauty and tragedy.
Find more in titles in our Women’s Studies section.
This post was written by Emilia Ferrante, a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in English and Anthropology and a UM Press intern. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Residential College's literary magazine and has held several editorship positions in the Arts section of the Michigan Daily.