Elevate Difference


Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets

Difficulties concentrating in school, shame, depression, guilt, fear, low self-esteem, poor body image, and powerlessness are just some of the repercussions that victims of sexual harassment at school experience, according to research conducted by Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). This Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization works to “improve gender and race relations and socioeconomic conditions for [the] most vulnerable youth and communities of color.” Joanne N. Smith, Mandy Van Deven, and Megan Huppuch of GGE have collaboratively written Hey, Shorty!, which tells GGE’s story, while providing a model for teens to teach their peers what constitutes sexual harassment and how to prevent it. The book also gives activists, educators, parents and students a hands-on guide to combat sexual harassment and violence in their schools and neighborhoods.

Gender, Sexuality, and Meaning: Linguistic Practice and Politics

Showcasing twelve articles by noted linguist Sally McConnell-Ginet, Gender, Sexuality, and Meaning weaves together some of her most provocative and influential work on language, gender, and sexual meaning-making from the last three decades. In her many fruitful collaborations with colleagues, students, and friends, McConnell-Ginet argues that language is not a passive craft, but rather, an active process of meaning-making that has its roots in the social identities, contexts, and statuses of the speakers and listeners.

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses

Let the whole world put on a pair of rubber gloves and plunder and pillage. We have no secrets any longer. We have become public property. Women who write about their lives face challenges that male writers do not. Not only are women charged with writing about their own lives, with creating selfhood on paper, they are somehow additionally responsible for upholding the idea of womanhood. In this way, they bear the responsibility for representing, and in a sense, for creating the lives of all women. (Considering the diversity of possible identities which women take on for themselves, this is at the very least, a difficult task.)

A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet

“But if the tradition would not admit me, could I change its rules of admission?” Eavan Boland asks in her new book, A Journey with Two Maps. This volume honors the accumulated change wrought by earlier woman poets, the self-claimed permission for women to write identities outside of the feminine, and the female victory of bringing the ordinary into the canon. She also proselytizes for a transcendence of the binary: that the writer can perceive the contradictory aspects of poetry’s history and practice and reconcile them through her work, and then use these two maps to reach a poetic destination.

Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Activism, Arts, and Educational Alternatives

As a feminist concerned with social justice, in the past year or so I’ve become convinced that dismantling the prison-industrial complex should be a top priority amongst feminists.

Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon

Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With the Spoon review, short version: If you have children, know children, or were ever a child yourself, you need this new coloring book by Jacinta Bunnell and Nathaniel Kusinitz.

Elizabeth Packard: A Noble Fight

In 1860, it was legal for a man to send his wife to an insane asylum against her will, based on his word and that of one or two witnesses. The asylum could deny patients the right to legal representation as well as visits and uncensored correspondence with friends. And a man could sell his property and take his children across the country without consulting his wife, because the property and children were considered his, even if her inheritance and income had contributed to that property. This was the world in which Elizabeth Parsons Packard lived.

Georgic Stories

Mariko Nagai’s Georgic Stories is a book worthy of its acclaim, but that does not necessarily imply that I want to read it again. When I recounted it to a friend once I finished reading it, I did not feel as if I was describing the stories or engaging in critique as much as I was repeating a terrible testimony. The stories demand retelling: they are compelling views of a world where the pinnacle of joy is a child’s possible, but not guaranteed, escape from starvation.

Herizons Magazine (Winter 2011)

When I first moved to Canada, Herizons was virtually the only magazine I came across that dealt with feminism and issues concerning women. My understanding of the women’s movement before that point was primarily focused on within the U.S., and it’s not exactly the same. The laws are different in Canada. Thus, they affect women in a different way and Herizons helped me understand that.

The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure (2nd Edition)

The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus is described by the author as a sex-positive, no-nonsense explanation of cunnilingus. The book includes information Violet Blue acquired from guidebooks, the internet, and surveys she sent to people from diverse backgrounds in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism

Jessica Yee and I have a lot in common, personally and politically. For one, last year we were both curating collective published works that simultaneously construct and deconstruct contemporary feminist theory while broadening the scope of who is seen as legitimate enough to be a theory-maker. I wasn't aware of her work, and so far as I know, she wasn't aware of mine either. Despite being topically similar, the results of both projects are strikingly different. And I have a few theories about why.

Gladdy’s Wake

It took me a while to really sink my teeth into Gladdy’s Wake. The book weaves in and out of three generations, each tying together through family, hints of religion, and the story of Nawal Habib, a devout Muslim. Nawal (once Janie Kelly) is suspected of terrorism, an act that reunites her with her estranged brother, Frank (now a priest) and hospitalized father, Daniel (a once devout Catholic); both of whom she left to eventually reinvent herself as Nawal Habib. The story runs through Nawal’s family tragedy, her rebellion, the birth of her son, and eventual religious transformation, all the while introducing the reader to her grandfather, James Kelly, a womanizing Irish immigrant interested in fast cash with no real ethical principles, lest it regard his passion: Gladdy Sage.

Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions

African American literary contribution to the national conception of nature, in all of its symbolic ambiguity and historical twists and turns, is a subject that has been little studied. In fact, African American writers have contributed profoundly to our popular understanding of nature and to our ecological concern.

Paris Was Ours

“Paris lives in its details,” observes one contributor to this collection of essays. But equally true is the idea of Paris that thrives through clichés. You’ll find spare references to the Eiffel Tower, berets, cheese, and wine in Paris Was Ours, although the apparently ineluctable forms of French snobbery are discussed. What this anthology delivers instead are a wide breadth of creative and nuanced meditations on the culture, history, and inhabitants of the City of Light, confirming that all our romantic associations with Paris, despite the city’s faults, are quite justified.

Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

My library copy of Vegan with a Vengeance shouldn’t have been returned. Not in the state it was in after it lived in my kitchen for five renewed status cycles (the maximum number I was allowed before I had to return it to my local library). The book shouldn’t have been returned because it smelled like food.

Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta

When I saw Birth Matters by famed midwife Ina May Gaskin, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review it. Gaskin has contributed to the field of midwifery and childbirth education in vast and meaningful ways. She serves as an icon for many, and I, for one, was eager to learn what she had to say in this new book.

Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China

Residents of Fujian Province on the southeastern coast of China burn spirit money designed to resemble U. S. currency. That stunning confluence of traditional religious practice and modern dreams of western emigration stands as a kind of symbolic center of this book. In her ethnographic study of the people of this region, famous-or infamous, perhaps—for their involvement in “human smuggling” to the West, Julie Y. Chu asks why so many people would honor the dead with images of western materialism.

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago

During the 1920s, a rash of killings rocked Chicago. The murderers were young women who drank, and most killed their lovers. Most were white and all-male juries that refused to believe women were capable of cold-blooded murder released most of them. During this time, the crimes were reported in the newspapers by “sob sisters,” female reporters who were able to interview female inmates and victim’s family members.

Nine Gallons #2: True Stories by Susie Cagle

In Nine Gallons #2: True Stories by Susie Cagle, writer and artist Susie Cagle recounts her experiences with Food Not Bombs. For those unfamiliar, Food Not Bombs is a "franchise activist non-organization dedicated to fighting hunger with vegetarian meals comprised mainly from wasted food.” Food Not Bombs chapters are all over the world, though predominantly in major cities. Though this publication is small, Cagle covers a lot of ground. You learn that it’s not easy being involved with the non-organization.

The Reality Shows

Described by Ben Brantley of the New York Times as someone with the “power to disturb,” Karen Finley is a woman with her finger on the pulse of America. Renowned for her performance art, she is an underground favorite and a feminist idol.


How do I review Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning? Do I caution readers about the fact that it is book five in a five book series? That previous events are not described and characters come into play with little explanation? Or do I discuss how enthralled I was by the story?

Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love

After a promising introduction I was ready to absorb the essays that lay before me in Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love, a short zine concerning radical parenting with narratives exploring issues of sex and love. Needless to say, this zine made me feel a range of emotions: offended, entertained, informed, and bored. Some of these essays do not concern love or sex or are only very loosely related to the topics in an abstract way. Rad Dad himself falls flat in his own personal essay.

The Latte Rebellion

Asha Jamison’s classmates are quick to categorize her. She is called both a “towelhead” and “barely Asian.” Asha and her best friend Carey have a harder time describing their own ethnicities. Asha is part Indian, part Mexican, and part Irish, while Carey is half Chinese and half Caucasian. When they begin describing themselves as lattes—a mix of coffee and milk—they start brainstorming ways to distribute their idea to other multiethnic teens and coffee lovers.

Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City

Julian Brash’s Bloomberg’s New York is an anthropological study of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration’s implementation of a particular type of neoliberal urban governance (the “Bloomberg Way”) since taking office in 2002, “branding and marketing the city as a luxury good,” an agenda aimed not only at “advancing the economic elite’s class interests” but in shaping the culture and geography of the city of New York by prioritizing this

Arcadia Falls

Meg Rosenthal needs a fresh start after the death of her husband. She gave up her career as an artist when her daughter Sally was born, but when she is left with virtually nothing except for a barely functional car, she finds a job teaching folklore and English at a small boarding school for young artists in upstate New York. Sally, now a teenager and a promising artist herself, is admitted to the Arcadia School where her mother will work.

Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America

Sara Dubow navigates the complexities of an impassioned and divisive issue in Ourselves Unborn. She takes a calculated historical look at how Americans have interpreted the fetus and pregnancy throughout ever-shifting political realities. Her thesis: Americans have cast their social and cultural anxieties onto the fetus, which often results in abortion-related policies that serve ulterior motives.

When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

In When Did Indians Become Straight?, Mark Rifkin takes on a monumental task, exploring the intersections between sexuality, race, colonization/imperialism, sovereignty and nationhood as they apply to Native American tribes and their struggles over the centuries. As someone who is both of Native descent and gay, I was intrigued.

Best Lesbian Romance 2011

Best Lesbian Romance 2011 is just that: some of the best lesbian-themed romantic short stories you’ll read this year. Beyond just lesbian romance, this interesting compilation seems to center around variety.

Airborne Dreams: "Nisei" Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways

Pan American World Airways was not simply an airline in the way that we understand airlines today. It was an icon, a gateway, and enjoyed (and still enjoys) a cult-like following. In this fascinating look into the Nisei stewardesses of Pan Am, Yano explores the postwar ideology of the airline and its relation to the experience of the Nisei stewardesses.

The Scholar and Feminist Online, Issue 8.3 (Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concert)

In hindsight, I probably should have waited to read all of the articles in this issue of Barnard Center for Research on Women’s The Scholar and Feminist Online journal, “Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concert,” before emailing out sections that resonated with me and the work I’m interested in doing.