Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged anthology

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Twentieth Century

The Girls’ History and Culture Reader: The Twentieth Century is an anthology of influential essays written by top scholars that have defined the field of American girls’ history and culture over the last thirty years.

Best Bondage Erotica 2011

As the title would imply, this erotica anthology contains solely stories that involve bondage, the use of restraints for the purpose of sexual pleasure. Along with the use of bondage in sexual encounters comes the play of submissive and dominant roles. As one might expect, nearly half of stories in this book stick to standard dominate/submissive heterosexual roles, with men tying up women in various scenarios and then sexually dominating them.

Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire

Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire explores the intersections of queer studies and environmental studies and aims to trouble dominant discourses of nature and sexuality. The authors in this collection argue that we should adopt a queer ecological perspective, a “transgressive and historically relevant critique of dominant pairings of nature and environment with heteronormativity and homophobia.” Drawing on science studies, environmental history, queer geography, ecocriticism, critical race theory, cultural studies, landscape ecology, and LGBTQ theory, this interdisciplinary anthology presents the various possibilities for “queering ecology and greening queer politics.”


French theorist Hélène Cixous first coined the term ècriture feminine in her 1975 essay “Laugh of the Medusa,” in which she wrote “Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies.” Within the essay, Cixous posited that women write their gender into their writing, that gender is embedded in the language women use.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2010

The photo on this anthology’s cover, of two near identical women in rapturous embrace serves to convey the collection’s reoccurring theme: sex with one’s doppelganger. While the majority of stories in this collection do not adhere to this theme, two of the most unusual tales in this collection do. As one would assume, the stories within this collection often veer outside of the clichéd, cookie-cutter lesbian erotica setups.

Mothers Who Deliver: Feminist Interventions in Public and Interpersonal Discourse

While the field of mothering studies is approximately thirty years old, there’s no question that the experience of motherhood and the accompanying discourse and silence that surround it has existed for far longer. In this academic anthology, Stitt and Powell cast a wide net into this interdisciplinary field, bringing back articles that speak to everything from the “mommyblogging” revolution to single mothers’ groups and how they operate on university campuses.

Making the Hook-up: Edgy Sex with Soul

What business does a White woman like me have reviewing a collection of erotica by African American authors? I figure when it comes to erotica, it's matter of whether the story turns you on or doesn’t, and I can’t see that race has much to do with that.

Orgasmic: Erotica for Women

I remember flipping quickly through the pages of my friends’ romance novels in high school looking for the juicy parts. The sexy parts. I had been told the books would be like "porn for women," so I assumed there would be something pornographic in the material. Alas, as soon as I found a creamy white thigh slipping out of a slit in a skirt, it was magically the next morning and the characters were talking... again. So, I gave up. Fortunately, Orgasmic addresses the need of female-oriented erotic literature more directly.

Best Sex Writing 2010

As a fairly obsessive sex educator, S&M activist, and informal researcher, I didn't expect Best Sex Writing 2010 to make me think nearly as much as it did. I'd imagined it as an anthology that would hit all the usual bases and say the usual sex-positive things: Sex work should be decriminalized! Open relationships can work! Fetishes don't have to terrify us!

Can the Subaltern Speak?: Reflections on the History of an Idea

I was first introduced to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s famous 1988 essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” during a graduate seminar that focused on postcolonial and feminist literature. While I read many works by various important and transformative authors during that semester, Spivak’s discussion of the subaltern stood out to me as being more important and more transformative than the others.

Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires

Approximately 900 years ago, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides wrote a book, called the Mishneh Torah, that acknowledged the presence of women “who rub against each other.” His advice to the tract’s male readers was clear: Keep your wives away from them. Sadly, it is one of the only Hebraic texts in which the existence of lesbians is acknowledged. Kabakov’s collection of fourteen personal and scholarly essays not only acknowledges Jewish dykes, it argues that as long as Orthodox Judaism exists, there will be Orthodox LGBTQ people.

Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists

Seeking inspiration for a novel she was writing a few years ago, J. Courtney Sullivan sent an email to several friends asking them, “What was the moment that made you a feminist?

Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology

Body 2 Body is the product of Malaysia’s young, hip and well-connected who’ve banded together to compile a collection of short stories and essays on living la vida non-normative.

No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism

As an undergraduate, my major was Women’s Studies, so I’ve read my fair share of feminist texts over the last several years. It’s hard to find one that offers a new perspective or, at least, a perspective different enough to satisfy both the expert and the novice.

Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica

So, I sometimes forget that reading erotica and looking at BDSM queer porn in the library of an Ivy League university is not necessarily standard practice. Lucky for me, I go to Brown, where I’m concentrating in Gender and Sexuality studies, and have somehow managed to legitimize studying sex manuals with postmodern theory in order to (supposedly, so they say) get a degree next year.

Leading the Way: Young Women's Activism for Social Change

When I read Leading the Way, I felt the same way I did the first time I read Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards or Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation by Barbara Findlen. I felt inspired, challenged, and optimistic about the future of feminism. I felt I had a road map of feminist ideas I could apply to my own life, and I knew I had incredible, real-life examples of women creating social change in their lives.

No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts

Possibly some magnetic force field that beckons people to its promises of adventure, wealth, and sun blazed days, there is a pull toward California. Be it a fight for survival, a lost treasure, or ability to inspire, California and its sacred deserts are full of mysticism and brighter futures. On the other hand, California's offerings are in no way a given. The obstacles, being weather related or competitive in nature, are likely to break a person's soul.

An Endless Winter’s Night: An Anthology of Mother-Daughter Stories

When it comes to works of literature, one key element that can make or break the brilliance of the creation is translation. Indian literature, specifically, has a history of poor translations. This has led some writers (Salman Rushdie, for example) to write nearly exclusively in English in order for the essence of one’s work to reach a broader audience.

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

Many readers know literary wunderkind Zadie Smith for her raging success propelled by novels such as White Teeth and The Autograph Man.

My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids with Disabilities

My Baby Rides the Short Bus is an anthology of articles written by parents about their firsthand experiences of raising children with disabilities. In addition to their common identity as parents of disabled children, the contributors also share another trait: all of them find themselves outside of the mainstream by virtue of identity or political perspective.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen

Why do we read Jane Austen? Beyond the books themselves, films and BBC miniseries adapted from classics like Pride and Prejudice draw large audiences. Are we drawn in by Austen's characters, delightful yet no-nonsense writing style, or detailed unveiling of social dynamics? Maybe it's the happy endings that keep us coming back.

An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots

In An Angle of Vision, we are presented with a series of extraordinarily well-written essays centered upon one of the most taboo topics in U.S. culture: class. More specifically, we are presented with first-person, female-centered examinations of two groups who are steadily disappearing from both the public discourse and the popular culture of the United States: the poor and working class.

Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing

Something to Declare is a wonderful collection of travel stories written to share a unique experience, traveling while lesbian. These stories bring a solid voice to the forefront for queer travel writing, showing the world that travel is indeed colored by the lens of being a lesbian.

It’s Never too Late to Be What You Might Have Been

The title of this book is drawn from an adage that is sometimes lost on the young. Youth is often painted as an open road with endless paths leading to infinite dreams. The challenge that we face as we get older is maintaining the attitude that life still holds an abundance of opportunities and that we are up to the task of conquering them.

She's Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out, and Fighting Back

Shameless is the magazine I needed as a teen. Instead, I relied on zines picked up from all-ages shows and record shops, with Ms. to fill in the gaps. Zines and Ms. have their place, but it’s heartening to see a need being met so well. In Shameless, young women have a chance to read (and write) about issues of real importance.

Smash the Church, Smash the State!: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

Like all good memoirs of the 1960s and early ‘70s, Smash the Church, Smash the State! takes readers back to a time when revolution seemed imminent. Change was in the air and the fifty-one essays comprising Tommi Avicolli Mecca’s important anthology vividly capture the heady exhilaration of queer activists on both U.S. coasts as the possibility of being out-and-proud became increasingly tangible. The book is both a look back and a look forward.