Readings for International History of Feminism Course

Lisa Greenwald's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I'm working on creating an elective for advanced high school students on the international history of feminism.  I haven't quite fastened on the shape of the course yet although my bent is to ground whatever I do in material history (although there would be a theoretical component).  My students are intellectually sophisticated but as the course would meet daily and students are taking on average 8 other advanced classes, I can't demand too much reading (as in monographs).  I'm looking for teachable articles--either stand-alone or in collections--but am willing to entertain other readings (book chapters, blogs, etc.). My own book, Daughters of 1968: Redefining Feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement came out in 2019 so I'm good on France in the second half of the 20th c. but I would be grateful for any and all suggestions.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

Best, Lisa G.

Dear Lisa,
Sounds like a great class. And, thanks for the book rec.
Colleagues and I are prepping a similar class so, if you're interested in sharing,

Here are three:
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Radicals on the Road Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era(Cornell University Press, 2013 (Excerpts)

Joann Meyerowitz, "Transnational sex and Us History," Journal of American History(Vol 114, No. 5 2009): 1273-1286

Afsaneh Najmabadi, "Beyond the Americas: Are Gender and Sexuality Useful Categories of Historical Analysis?" Journal of Women's History, Vol 18, No. 1 (Spring 2006): 11-21

For relatively short political and cultural readings on the history of feminist ideas internationally, c. 15th -21st centuries, I collected the most useful documents from years of teaching my feminist studies: THE ESSENTIAL FEMINIST READER (Modern Library), ed. Estelle Freedman It has worked well with first year college students and has been used in high school classes.

Hi Lisa,
You may also want to look at the edited collections Developing Power, Irene Tinker and Arvonne Fraser eds. (Feminist Press at CUNY, 2004), and Women and Girls Rising, Ellen Chesler and Terry McGovern, eds. (Routledge, 2015). Both provide writings/chapters from women/feminists around the world. Developing Power is a collection of feminists telling their own stories about how they got involved in women/gender and development programs, primarily in the 1970s and 1980s. Women and Girls Rising has more recent entries and includes some first person narratives as well as secondary sources.

A couple other readings I have assigned that students have enjoyed (in an upper-level undergrad course so not sure if they'd work for you):
“An Interview with Uprising’s Sonali Kolhatkar,” in New Directions in Feminism and Human Rights (Routledge, 2015)
Dutt, Mallika. “Some Reflections on US Women of Color and the UN Fourth World Conference” in Global Feminisms since 1945 (Routledge, 2000)

These suggestions are incredibly helpful! Can I ask you if you know of any more recent collection on nineteenth century feminisms around the world (or in the west, which would be more likely). Even if the answer is no, a million thanks for these suggestions.
Best, Lisa G.

Estelle and Caroline,
Somehow I didn't see these posts till now. Thank you so much! And yes, The Essential Feminist Reader. I had forgotten. This is all so helpful. LG

Dear Lisa,

Have you looked at Lucy Delap's new book, "Feminisms: A Global History"? I wonder if chapter 5 on feminism and fashion might be readable for high school students? If nothing else, you should mine the book for background lecture material and anecdotes.

My new book, "Peace on Our Terms: The Global Battle for Women's Rights After the First World War," came out last year while my son was a junior in high school, and he read it and enjoyed it. The chapters can be assigned pretty easily as stand-alone stories. Your students my particularly enjoy chapter 5 on Soumay Tcheng, China's bomb-smuggling feminist, lawyer, and diplomat. You could give them excerpts from her (out of print) memoir to read along with it: "My Revolutionary Years: The Memoir of Madame Wei Tao Ming." Another chapter in my book chronicles early Egyptian feminism, and there too you have as a complement Margot Badran's fabulous translation of Huda Shaarawi's "Harem Years" that you could excerpt.

Good luck!
Mona Siegel

I suggest Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945, edited by Karen Offen.