"Women Imagine Change" shows how women all over the world, across a span of twenty-six hundred years, have found ways to resist oppression and gain power over their lives.
Organized around themes of concern to contemporary readers, this genuinely global, multicultural anthology presents women from some thirty countries, speaking from their vivid, diverse life experiences. The relationships between sexuality and spirituality are described by a feminist rabbi's account of her struggle with religious tradition and a thirteenth-century French peasant explaining her self-invented doctrine of free love to the Inquisition. In a section on women's attempts to control their labor and education, we hear a North Carolina stenographer tell how "I Did the Work and They Drew the Pay" (1897) and a Muslim educator in India recount her struggle getting girls to school in the nightmarish heat of a "purdah bus." Other sections describe women reshaping cultural representations of gender and translating their knowledge into transformative power--in experience ranging from Florence Nightingale's silent anger in an English drawing room to military officer Halide Edip Adivar's encounter with a prostitute sent to dance for her in a Turkish village. Introductions enhance the writings with historical and biographical information, enabling the readers to see each writer in her unique situation.
Anyone who has asked what needs to change for women will find this volume indispensable. Not only do the writings show women's resistance from an historical perspective; they also offer crucial insight into questions women are posing today about the relationships between their own power, the power of the various groups to which they belong, and the larger systems of power they confront in the world around them.
"A formidable volume that dares to take on the whole world and covers more than 2000 years of history."
-"National Women's Studies Journal, Spring 2001
"One has difficulty imagining anyone "not being impressed by this prodigious volume. It is a perfect book for a women's studies class, particularly because of its unusualy broad range, and a book many undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty will wish to read from cover to cover."
"The editors have collected a remarkable range of writings from more than 100 women from 40 countries, spanning almost 2,600 years. General readers as well as scholars will be absorbed by the poems, journal entries, letters between friends, speeches, fictional accounts, and personal observations....We leave these pages with the inspiration that comes from knowing that women have resisted oppression for over two millenia. Now we can plot our future--by borrowing from our past."
-"Ms. Magazine, Jan/Feb 1998
"[A]n impressive collection of women's writings through the ages....This will make an excellent reader for survey classes on world history as well as women's history and studies. Highly recommended for high school and academic libraries."
-"Library Journal, 11/97
"This book is accessible, broad in scope, and at once clear in its editorial rationale. The authors provide a feminist reader; this work is not simply a collection of stories about women. It is a collection that shows how throughout history women's resources have been exploited by the patriarchy, exercising power over their lives."
-"Journal of Popular Culture