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After-School Clubs for Kids
Thematic Programming to Encourage Reading
Lisa M. Shaia
American Library Association, 2014

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Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs
Gender Violence and Reproductive Rights
Jutta M. Joachim
Georgetown University Press, 2007

In the mid-1990s, when the United Nations adopted positions affirming a woman's right to be free from bodily harm and to control her own reproductive health, it was both a coup for the international women's rights movement and an instructive moment for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to influence UN decision making.

Prior to the UN General Assembly's 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and the 1994 decision by the UN's Conference on Population and Development to vault women's reproductive rights and health to the forefront of its global population growth management program, there was little consensus among governments as to what constituted violence against women and how much control a woman should have over reproduction. Jutta Joachim tells the story of how, in the years leading up to these decisions, women's organizations got savvy—framing the issues strategically, seizing political opportunities in the international environment, and taking advantage of mobilizing structures—and overcame the cultural opposition of many UN-member states to broadly define the two issues and ultimately cement women's rights as an international cause.

Joachim's deft examination of the documents, proceedings, and actions of the UN and women's advocacy NGOs—supplemented by interviews with key players from concerned parties, and her own participant-observation—reveals flaws in state-centered international relations theories as applied to UN policy, details the tactics and methods that NGOs can employ in order to push rights issues onto the UN agenda, and offers insights into the factors that affect NGO influence. In so doing, Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs departs from conventional international relations theory by drawing on social movement literature to illustrate how rights groups can motivate change at the international level.


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American Girls and Global Responsibility
A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War
Helgren, Jennifer
Rutgers University Press, 2017
American Girls and Global Responsibility brings together insights from Cold War culture studies, girls’ studies, and the history of gender and militarization to shed new light on how age and gender work together to form categories of citizenship.
Jennifer Helgren argues that a new internationalist girl citizenship took root in the country in the years following World War II in youth organizations such as Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, YWCA Y-Teens, schools, and even magazines like Seventeen. She shows the particular ways that girls’ identities and roles were configured, and reveals the links between internationalist youth culture, mainstream U.S. educational goals, and the U.S. government in creating and marketing that internationalist girl, thus shaping the girls’ sense of responsibilities as citizens. 

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The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism
Anne Meis Knupfer
University of Illinois Press, 2006
Following on the heels of the Harlem Renaissance, the Chicago Renaissance was a resonant flourishing of African American arts, literature, theater, music, and intellectualism, from 1930 to 1955. Anne Meis Knupfer's The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism demonstrates the complexity of black women's many vital contributions to this unique cultural flowering.

The book examines various groups of black female activists, including writers and actresses, social workers, artists, school teachers, and women's club members to document the impact of social class, gender, nativity, educational attainment, and professional affiliations on their activism. Together, these women worked to sponsor black history and literature, to protest overcrowded schools, and to act as a force for improved South Side housing and employment opportunities. Knupfer also reveals the crucial role these women played in founding and sustaining black cultural institutions, such as the first African American art museum in the country; the first African American library in Chicago; and various African American literary journals and newspapers. As a point of contrast, Knupfer also examines the overlooked activism of working-class and poor women in the Ida B. Wells and Altgeld Gardens housing projects.


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Cross Currents in the International Women’s Movement, 1848–1948
Patricia Ward D'Itri
University of Wisconsin Press, 1999

This study portrays individuals, organizations, and events that contributed to the development of the world movement for women's rights between 1848 and 1948.


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Equals in Learning and Piety
Muslim Women Scholars in Nigeria and North America
Beverly Mack
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
Equals in Learning and Piety is an intellectual history of the ‘Yan Taru (Associates) movement, a women-led Islamic educational organization that continues to this day in both northern Nigeria and in the United States. Drawing on extensive scholarship across disciplines including history, Islamic studies, anthropology, gender and women’s studies, and literary studies—and alongside rigorous ethnographic research and interviews with leading Nigerian Muslim scholars—Beverly Mack argues that this formidable Muslim women’s movement consolidated the religious and social order established by the Sokoto Jihad in the early nineteenth century. 

Mack shows how women scholars instructed rural Hausa and Fulani women in Muslim ethics, doctrine, traditions, and behavior that followed and replaced the traumatic experience of warfare unleashed by the Jihad. She shows that these unique social engagements shaped people’s agency in the dynamic process of social change throughout the nineteenth century. Women imaginatively reconciled Muslim reformist doctrines and traditional practices in Nigeria, and these doctrines have continued to be influential in the diaspora, especially among Black American Muslims in the United States in the twenty-first century. With this major investigation of a little-studied phenomenon, Mack demonstrates the importance of women to the religious, political, and social transformation of Nigerian Muslim society.

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Feminist Organizations
Harvest of the New Women's Movement
edited by Myra Marx Ferree and Patricia Yancey Martin
Temple University Press, 1995

This collection of twenty-six original essays looks at contemporary feminist organizations, how they've survived, the effects of their work, the problems they face, the strategies they develop, and where the women's movement is headed. The contributors, leading feminist scholars from nine social science disciplines, examine a wide variety of local feminist organizations, past and preset, illuminating the struggles of feminist organizers and activists.

In the series Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg.

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Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials
How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917–1945
Allison S. Finkelstein
University of Alabama Press, 2021
Investigates the groundbreaking role American women played in commemorating those who served and sacrificed in World War I

In Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 19171945 Allison S. Finkelstein argues that American women activists considered their own community service and veteran advocacy to be forms of commemoration just as significant and effective as other, more traditional forms of commemoration such as memorials. Finkelstein employs the term “veteranism” to describe these women’s overarching philosophy that supporting, aiding, and caring for those who served needed to be a chief concern of American citizens, civic groups, and the government in the war’s aftermath. However, these women did not express their views solely through their support for veterans of a military service narrowly defined as a group predominantly composed of men and just a few women. Rather, they defined anyone who served or sacrificed during the war, including women like themselves, as veterans.
These women veteranists believed that memorialization projects that centered on the people who served and sacrificed was the most appropriate type of postwar commemoration. They passionately advocated for memorials that could help living veterans and the families of deceased service members at a time when postwar monument construction surged at home and abroad. Finkelstein argues that by rejecting or adapting traditional monuments or by embracing aspects of the living memorial building movement, female veteranists placed the plight of all veterans at the center of their commemoration efforts. Their projects included diverse acts of service and advocacy on behalf of people they considered veterans and their families as they pushed to infuse American memorial traditions with their philosophy. In doing so, these women pioneered a relatively new form of commemoration that impacted American practices of remembrance, encouraging Americans to rethink their approach and provided new definitions of what constitutes a memorial. In the process, they shifted the course of American practices, even though their memorialization methods did not achieve the widespread acceptance they had hoped it would.
Meticulously researched, Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials utilizes little-studied sources and reinterprets more familiar ones. In addition to the words and records of the women themselves, Finkelstein analyzes cultural landscapes and ephemeral projects to reconstruct the evidence of their influence. Readers will come away with a better understanding of how American women supported the military from outside its ranks before they could fully serve from within, principally through action-based methods of commemoration that remain all the more relevant today.

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Gone to Another Meeting
The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893-1993
Faith Rogow
University of Alabama Press, 1993

The first comprehensive history of the oldest national religious Jewish women's organization in the United States

Gone to Another Meeting charts the development of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and its impact on both the Jewish Community in the United States and American Society in general.

Founded in 1893 by Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, NCJW provided a conduit through which Jewish women’s voices could be heard and brought a Jewish voice to America’s women’s rights movement. NCJW would come to represent both the modernization and renewal of traditional Jewish womanhood. Through its emphasis on motherhood, its adoption of domestic feminism, and its efforts to carve a distinct Jewish niche in the late 19th-century Progressive social reform movement in the largely Christian world of women’s clubs, NCJW was instrumental in defining a uniquely American version of Jewish womanhood.


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Hillel at Michigan, 1926/27-1945
Struggles of Jewish Identity in a Pivotal Era
Andrei S. Markovits and Kenneth Garner
Michigan Publishing Services, 2016
This book provides the very first in-depth analysis of the founding decades of a major Hillel chapter in the United States. Hillel at the University of Michigan was founded in 1926 as the fourth such chapter in the United States following its establishment at three other public universities in the Midwest: Illinois (1923); Wisconsin (1924); Ohio State (1925).
The study analyzes Hillel's challenges as a big-tent, catch-all institution trying to represent all Jewish students on campus regardless of their religious orientation, cultural preferences, and ideological predilections. It looks at Hillel's interactions with the then powerful Jewish fraternities and sororities that provided the main locus of Jewish life on campus at the time, as well as its relations with the University's leadership and many of its cultural and political constituencies. Most of these activities occurred at a time when anti-Semitism was rife in the United States, particularly in the larger Detroit area, home to Henry Ford and Father Charles Edward Coughlin.

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The Contested Legacy of Y-Indian Guides
Paul Hillmer
University of Missouri Press, 2023
In 1926, Harold Keltner, a YMCA Boys Work secretary from St. Louis, and Joe Friday, a member of the Canadian Ojibwe First Peoples, channeled white middle-class fascination with Native Americans into what became the Y-Indian Guides youth pro­gram, engaging over a half million participants across the nation at the height of its 77-year history. Intended to soften the stereo­typical stern father, the program traced a complicated thread of American history, touching upon themes of family, race, class, and privilege.

The Y-Indian Guides was a father-son (and later parent-child) program that encouraged real and enduring bonds through play and an authentic appreciation of family. While “playing Indian” seemed harmless to most participants during the pro­gram’s heyday, Paul Hillmer and Ryan Bean demonstrate the problematic nature of its methods. In the process of seeking to admire and emulate Indigenous Peoples, Y-Indian Guide participants often misrepresented American Indians and reinforced harmful ste­reotypes. Ultimately, this history demonstrates many ways in which American culture undermines and harms its Indigenous communities.


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Intimate Practices
Literacy and Cultural Work in U.S. Women's Clubs, 1880-1920
Anne Ruggles Gere
University of Illinois Press, 1997
      Winner of the 1995 University of Illinois Press-National Women's Studies
        Association manuscript prize
      Women's clubs at the turn of the century were numerous, dedicated to
        a number of issues, and crossed class, religious, and racial lines. Emphasizing
        the intimacy engendered by shared reading and writing in these groups,
        Anne Ruggles Gere contends that these literacy practices meant that club
        members took an active part in reinventing the nation during a period
        of major change. Gere uses archival material that documents club members'
        perspectives and activities around such issues as Americanization, womanhood,
        peace, consumerism, benevolence, taste, and literature--and offers a rare
        depth of insight into the interests and lives of American women from the
        fin de siècle through the beginning of the roaring twenties.
      Intimate Practices is unique in its exploration of a range of
        women's clubs--Mormon, Jewish, white middle-class, African American, and
        working class--and paints a vast and colorful multicultural, multifaceted
        canvas of these widely-divergent women's groups.

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Living for the Revolution
Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–1980
Kimberly Springer
Duke University Press, 2005
The first in-depth analysis of the black feminist movement, Living for the Revolution fills in a crucial but overlooked chapter in African American, women’s, and social movement history. Through original oral history interviews with key activists and analysis of previously unexamined organizational records, Kimberly Springer traces the emergence, life, and decline of several black feminist organizations: the Third World Women’s Alliance, Black Women Organized for Action, the National Black Feminist Organization, the National Alliance of Black Feminists, and the Combahee River Collective. The first of these to form was founded in 1968; all five were defunct by 1980. Springer demonstrates that these organizations led the way in articulating an activist vision formed by the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality.

The organizations that Springer examines were the first to explicitly use feminist theory to further the work of previous black women’s organizations. As she describes, they emerged in response to marginalization in the civil rights and women’s movements, stereotyping in popular culture, and misrepresentation in public policy. Springer compares the organizations’ ideologies, goals, activities, memberships, leadership styles, finances, and communication strategies. Reflecting on the conflicts, lack of resources, and burnout that led to the demise of these groups, she considers the future of black feminist organizing, particularly at the national level. Living for the Revolution is an essential reference: it provides the history of a movement that influenced black feminist theory and civil rights activism for decades to come.


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Margaret Murray Washington
The Life and Times of a Career Clubwoman
Sheena Harris
University of Tennessee Press, 2021

Born enslaved in 1861, by 1892 Margaret Murray Washington of Macon, Mississippi, married the twice-widowed race leader Booker T. Washington and joined the ranks of the rising black middle class. While one cannot discount the accomplishments of her storied husband, Washington’s own successes warrant further exploration. In this first biography of Margaret Murray Washington, author Sheena Harris discusses Washington’s importance as an active clubwoman, educational reformer, and integral partner to her husband and his success with the Tuskegee Institute.

Individual black, female leadership continues to be a blind spot in much scholarly historical literature. Washington was an important educator and clubwoman whose influence emanated from her own planning and actions. As Lady Principal, Washington was sincere and earnest in her campaign to improve Tuskegee Institute. She also transformed her community through her local club organizations. In addition, Washington cofounded the National Federation of Afro-American Women (1895) and the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) (1896). Harris illustrates how Washington improved race relations as a whole through local and national organizations such as the Tuskegee Woman’s Club, the NACW, and 1922 creation of the International Council of Women of the Darker Races (ICWDR). Harris explains clearly that Washington took her leadership positions seriously and strategically worked to expand opportunities for blacks through such organizations.

Washington’s life provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the Black Women’s Club Movement and illuminates the experiences of a race woman who came of age during the Jim Crow South. Harris’s biography is a convincing portrait of an under-studied black woman in the early civil rights movement and places Washington within the pantheon of other important women of the era.


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The Modern Age
Turn-of-the-Century American Culture and the Invention of Adolescence
Kent Baxter
University of Alabama Press, 2008

The Modern Age examines the discourses that have come to characterize adolescence and argues that commonplace views of adolescents as impulsive, conflicted, and rebellious are constructions inspired by broader cultural anxieties that characterized American society in early-twentieth-century America.

The idea of adolescence, argues Kent Baxter, came into being because it fulfilled specific historical and cultural needs: to define a quickly expanding segment of the population, and to express concerns associated with the movement into a new era. Adolescence—a term that had little currency before 1900 and made a sudden and pronounced appearance in a wide variety of discourses thereafter—is a “modern age” not only because it sprung from changes in American society that are synonymous with modernity, but also because it came to represent all that was threatening about “modern life.”

Baxter provides a preliminary history of adolescence, focusing specifically on changes in the American educational system and the creation of the juvenile justice system that carved out a developmental space between the child and the adult. He looks at the psychological works of G. Stanley Hall and the anthropological works of Margaret Mead and explores what might have inspired their markedly negative descriptions of this new demographic. He examines the rise of the Woodcraft Indian youth movement and its promotion of “red skin” values while also studying the proliferation of off-reservation boarding schools for Native American youth, where educators attempted to eradicate the very “red skin” values promoted by the Woodcraft movement.

Finally Baxter studies reading at the turn of the century, focusing specifically on Horatio Alger (the Ragged Dick series) and Edward Stratemeyer (the Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys series) and what those works reveal about the “problem” of adolescence and its solutions in terms of value, both economic and moral.


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Natural Allies
Women's Associations in American History
Anne Firor Scott
University of Illinois Press, 1991
America's female benevolent societies took root in the 1790s. Initially founded on notions of Christian duty and hope of heavenly reward, these groups produced volunteers dedicated to providing aid to unfortunates in general and women and children in particular. Anne Frior Scott explores the history of these aid societies and how they allowed women to influence America's social agenda and make inroads into politics long before they could vote. Scott reveals how women from all corners of society took part; examines their changing role in the midst of tumultuous times and during the rise of the welfare state; assesses the overlooked accomplishment of black women's organizations from the early days of the republic; and looks at the kinds of enduring community institutions women's organizations founded and maintained.

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The New Woman in Alabama
Social Reforms and Suffrage, 1890–1920
Mary Martha Thomas
University of Alabama Press, 1992

 Between 1890 and 1920, middle-class white and black Alabama women created many clubs and organizations that took them out of the home and provided them with roles in the public sphere. Beginning with the Alabama Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the 1880s and followed by the Alabama Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Alabama Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in the 1890s, women spearheaded the drive to eliminate child labor, worked to improve the educational system, upgraded the jails and prisons, and created reform schools for both boys and girls.

Suffrage was also an item on the Progressive agenda. After a brief surge of activity during the 1890s, the suffrage drive lay dormant until 1912, when women created the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association. During their campaigns in the 1915 and 1919 to persuade the legislature to enfranchise women, the leaders learned the art of politics—how to educate, organize, lobby, and count votes. Women seeking validation for their roles as homemakers and mother demanded a hearing in the political arena for issues that affected them and their families. In the process they began to erase the line between the public world of men and the private world of women. These were the New Women who tackled the problems created by the industrialization and urbanization of the New South. By 1920 Alabama women had created new public spaces for themselves in these voluntary associations. As a consequence of their involvement in reform crusades, the women’s club movement, and the campaign for woman suffrage, women were no longer passive and dependent. They were willing and able to be rightful participants.

Thomas’s book is the first of its kind to focus on the reform activities of women during the Progressive Era, and the first to consider the southern woman and all the organizations of middle-class black and white women in the South and particularly in Alabama. It is also the first to explore the drive of Alabama women to obtain the vote. The development of political power among southern women progressed slowly. Demolishing as it did the myth of the “Southern Lady.” Traditionally confined to the domestic sphere, southern women had no experience in public decision making and were discouraged from attaining the skills necessary for participation in public debate. The division of women by race and class further impeded their political education. But through their participation in so-called women’s issues—child labor laws, temperance, and educational reform—women gained experience in influencing political leaders. Black and white women’s clubs provided the framework for state-wide lobbying.

Only in the wake of their success with domestic issues tackled through club organizations and temperance unions did women dare seek the right to vote. They learned how to wield political power through acceptable “ladylike” avenues, and it was this experience that led to their long but eventually successful drive for woman suffrage. The New Woman eventually found a way to replace the Southern Lady.


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Nobody's Boy and His Pals
The Story of Jack Robbins and the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic
Hendrik Hartog
University of Chicago Press, 2024
An engaging account of social reformer Jack Robbins, the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic, and their legacy.

In 1914, social reformer Jack Robbins and a group of adolescent boys in Chicago founded the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic, an unconventional and unusual institution. During a moral panic about delinquent boys, Robbins did not seek to rehabilitate and/or punish wayward youths. Instead, the boys governed themselves, democratically and with compassion for one another, and lived by their mantra “So long as there are boys in trouble, we too are in trouble.” For nearly thirty years, Robbins was their “supervisor,” and the will he drafted in the late 1950s suggests that he continued to care about forgotten boys, even as the political and legal contexts that shaped children’s lives changed dramatically.
Nobody’s Boy and His Pals is a lively investigation that challenges our ideas about the history of American childhood and the law. Scouring the archives for traces of the elusive Jack Robbins, Hendrik Hartog examines the legal histories of Progressive reform, childhood, criminality, repression, and free speech. The curiosity of Robbins’s story is compounded by the legal challenges to his will, which wound up establishing the extent to which last wishes must conform to dominant social values. Filled with persistent mysteries and surprising connections, Nobody’s Boy and His Pals illuminates themes of childhood and adolescence, race and ethnicity, sexuality, wealth and poverty, and civil liberties, across the American Century. 

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Push Back, Move Forward
The National Council of Women's Organizations and Coalition Advocacy
Laura R. Woliver
Temple University Press, 2018

The coalition known as the National Council of Women’s Organizations no longer exists today, but the history and the lessons learned from the NCWO’s activism remain as important as ever—perhaps even more so in this age of Trump. Laura Woliver spent fifteen years doing fieldwork and conducting research and interviews to understand how the NCWO coalition group functioned. The result is her impressive study, Push Back, Move Forward.

Woliver explores the foundational work of the NCWO and member groups to promote women’s economic security, citizen status, and political rights. She investigates women’s access to previously “male only” organizations, such as private clubs; the increase in voter participation generated by measures such as early voting; advocacy campaigns for such benefit programs as Social Security and the Affordable Care Act; and global human and women’s rights activism. In addition, she examines the accomplishments of women of color, both alongside and within the NCWO, who orient their politics toward achieving justice and attaining rights.  

Push Back, Move Forward artfully documents this important group’s activities while also gleaning larger lessons about coalition organizations.


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Rejuvenating Communism
Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China
Jérôme Doyon
University of Michigan Press, 2023
Working for the administration remains one of the most coveted career paths for young Chinese. Rejuvenating Communism: Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China seeks to understand what motivates young and educated Chinese to commit to a long-term career in the party-state and how this question is central to the Chinese regime’s ability to maintain its cohesion and survive. Jérôme Doyon draws upon extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis in order to illuminate the undogmatic commitment recruitment techniques and other methods the state has taken to develop a diffuse allegiance to the party-state in the post-Mao era. He then analyzes recruitment and political professionalization in the Communist Party’s youth organizations and shows how experiences in the Chinese Communist Youth League transform recruits and feed their political commitment as they are gradually inducted into the world of officials. As the first in-depth study of the Communist Youth League’s role in recruitment, this book challenges the assumption that merit is the main criteria for advancement within the party-state, an argument with deep implications for understanding Chinese politics today.

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Socialist Fun
Youth, Consumption, and State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1945–1970
Gleb Tsipursky
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015
Most narratives depict Soviet Cold War cultural activities and youth groups as drab and dreary, militant and politicized. In this study Gleb Tsipursky challenges these stereotypes in a revealing portrayal of Soviet youth and state-sponsored popular culture.
            The primary local venues for Soviet culture were the tens of thousands of klubs where young people found entertainment, leisure, social life, and romance. Here sports, dance, film, theater, music, lectures, and political meetings became vehicles to disseminate a socialist version of modernity. The Soviet way of life was dutifully presented and perceived as the most progressive and advanced, in an attempt to stave off Western influences. In effect, socialist fun became very serious business. As Tsipursky shows, however, Western culture did infiltrate these activities, particularly at local levels, where participants and organizers deceptively cloaked their offerings to appeal to their own audiences. Thus, Soviet modernity evolved as a complex and multivalent ideological device.
            Tsipursky provides a fresh and original examination of the Kremlin’s paramount effort to shape young lives, consumption, popular culture, and to build an emotional community—all against the backdrop of Cold War struggles to win hearts and minds both at home and abroad.

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Women and Politics in Uganda
Aili Mari Tripp
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000
Uganda has attracted much attention and political visibility for its significant economic recovery after a catastrophic decline. In her groundbreaking book, Aili Mari Tripp provides extensive data and analysis of patterns of political behavior and institutions by focusing on the unique success of indigenous women’s organizations.

Tripp explores why the women’s movement grew so dramatically in such a short time after the National Resistant Movement took over in 1986. Unlike many African countries where organizations and institutions are controlled by a ruling party or regime, the Ugandan women’s movement gained its momentum by remaining autonomous.

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Women of the Far Right
The Mothers' Movement and World War II
Glen Jeansonne
University of Chicago Press, 1996
The majority of American women supported the Allied cause during World War II. and made sacrifices on the home front to benefit the war effort. But U.S. intervention was opposed by a movement led by ultraright women whose professed desire to keep their sons out of combat was mixed with militant Christianity, anticommunism, and anti-Semitism. This book is the first history of the self-styled "mothers' movement," so called because among its component groups were the National Legion of Mothers of America, the Mothers of Sons Forum, and the National Blue Star Mothers.

Unlike leftist antiwar movements, the mothers' movement was not pacifist; its members opposed the war on Germany because they regarded Hitler as an ally against the spread of atheistic communism. They also differed from leftist women in their endorsement of patriarchy and nationalism. God, they believed, wanted them to fight the New Deal liberalism that imperiled their values and the internationalists, communists, and Jews, whom they saw as subjugating Christian America.

Jeansonne examines the motivations of these women, the political and social impact of their movement, and their collaborations with men of the far right and also with mainstream isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh. Drawing on files kept by the FBI and other confidential documents, this book sheds light on the history of the war era and on women's place within the far right.

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Women's Activism in Contemporary Russia
Linda Racioppi
Temple University Press, 1997
Through in-depth interviews with activists, the authors provide a broad and thorough introduction to the emerging women's movement and women's organizations in Russia. The focus is on the development of women's activism in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and the challenges for activists in a time of resurgent nationalism and turmoil over democratic reform.

Linda Racioppi and Katherine O'Sullivan See present a concise history of women's situation in tsarist Soviet Russia, which shows how their ability to organize was constrained by social strictures and state policies. They also analyze how the state-sponsored Soviet Women's Committee and new groups like the Independent Women's Forum, the Women's League, and the International Institute for Entrepreneurial Development responded to the challenges and opportunities of the transition. The authors examine the dynamics among these  groups as well. The personal life histories of the activists reflect the ways women have  responded to the changing political, economic, and social landscape in the former Soviet Union.

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The Women's Joint Congressional Committee and the Politics of Maternalism, 1920-30
Jan Doolittle Wilson
University of Illinois Press, 2006
The rise and fall of a feminist reform powerhouse

Jan Doolittle Wilson offers the first comprehensive history of the umbrella organization founded by former suffrage leaders in order to coordinate activities around women's reform. Encompassing nearly every major national women's organization of its time, the Women's Joint Congressional Committee (WJCC) evolved into a powerful lobbying force for the legislative agendas of more than twelve million women. Critics and supporters alike came to recognize it as "the most powerful lobby in Washington." 

Examining the WJCC's most consequential and contentious campaigns, Wilson traces how the group's strategies, rhetoric, and success generated congressional and grassroots support for their far-reaching, progressive reforms. But the committee's early achievements sparked a reaction by big business that challenged and ultimately limited the programs these women envisioned. Using the WJCC as a lens, Wilson analyzes women's political culture during the 1920s. She also sheds new light on the initially successful ways women lobbied for social legislation, the limitations of that process for pursuing class-based reforms, and the enormous difficulties the women soon faced in trying to expand public responsibility for social welfare.

A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray White


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Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa
Contesting Authority
Shireen Hassim
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006

The transition to democracy in South Africa was one of the defining events in twentieth-century political history. The South African women’s movement is one of the most celebrated on the African continent. Shireen Hassim examines interactions between the two as she explores the gendered nature of liberation and regime change. Her work reveals how women’s political organizations both shaped and were shaped by the broader democratic movement. Alternately asserting their political independence and giving precedence to the democratic movement as a whole, women activists proved flexible and remarkably successful in influencing policy. At the same time, their feminism was profoundly shaped by the context of democratic and nationalist ideologies. In reading the last twenty-five years of South African history through a feminist framework, Hassim offers fresh insights into the interactions between civil society, political parties, and the state.

    Hassim boldly confronts sensitive issues such as the tensions between autonomy and political dependency in feminists’ engagement with the African National Congress (ANC) and other democratic movements, and black-white relations within women’s organizations. She offers a historically informed discussion of the challenges facing feminist activists during a time of nationalist struggle and democratization.

Winner, Victoria Schuck Award for best book on women and politics, American Political Science Association

“An exceptional study, based on extensive research. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“A rich history of women’s organizations in South African . . . . [Hassim] had observed at first hand, and often participated in, much of what she described. She had access to the informants and private archives that so enliven the narrative and enrich the analysis. She provides a finely balanced assessment.”—Gretchen Bauer, African Studies Review


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