When women’s studies programs first emerged, in the 1970s, they were shoestring operations, created by professors who wanted to merge their professional lives with their political lives. Some had marched, others had written for feminist periodicals, but all shared the desire to transform the university into a place more hospitable to women, in policies and curricula. They began a “long march across the disciplines,” as feminist scholar Rachel Blau DuPlessis put it in a seminar back in the 1990s; her allusion to Mao’s famous march from Canton to Xian province, long before he would complete his communist revolution in China, suggested a that making universities more feminist would require a similar mix of endurance, commitment, and daring, one that could not be achieved in days or weeks but would require years, even decades. And that implicit gesture toward revolution invoked subversive, transformative practices. Though the reality was much less dramatic, women studies pioneers emphasized feminist modes of inquiry that questioned standard assumptions about scope, methodology, and appropriate boundaries. Women’s studies ranged across the disciplines, informing practice with theory and theory with practice moved from theory to practice to theory, and insisted on truly interdisciplinary inquiry that allowed questions of gender and sexuality to upset the ideological apple cart on a regular basis.
Much has changed, including the evolution of women’s studies programs into gender and sexuality studies and the investment of most universities in gender studies departments. Certainly, institutional status has been important for the longevity of gender studies as it has evolved into a stand-alone discipline. But something has also been lost—not only disruptive conversations between scholars of different disciplines about questions of gender and sexuality, but collaborations between gender studies programs and women’s centers, where programming and advocacy inform teaching and scholarship. The recent decision of the National Women’s Studies Association to exclude women’s center directors from the steering committee of the association suggests that the consolidation of gender studies as a stand-alone academic discipline has alienated NWSA from its activist roots.
The University of Mississippi never invested in its gender studies program as other universities did in the 1970s and 1980s; unlike many of our SEC peers, we have no tenure track faculty in gender studies, no separate women’s center and gender studies program, and very little infrastructure and institutional support. This is an ongoing challenge FOR the Sarah Isom Center, make no mistake. And yet, perhaps because of this, we remain closer to the original disruptive vision of gender studies as an interdisciplinary venture, one that brings the energy, expertise, and enthusiasm of scholars and activists from a number of disciplines, experiences, nationalities, ethnicities, and sexualities to create innovative scholarship and programming.Read more...
Jaime Harker shows that Christopher Isherwood refashioned himself as an American writer following his emigration from England by immersing himself in the gay reading, writing, and publishing communities in Cold War America. Weaving together biography, history, and literary criticism, Middlebrow Queer traces the continuous evolution of Isherwood’s simultaneously queer and American postwar authorial identity.Read more...
"I want the largest possible audience of people to be welcomed into my poems and to use the most important muscle human beings have, which is the muscle of empathy."
United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey (b. 1966) describes her mode as elegiac. Although the loss of her murdered mother informs each book, Trethewey's range of forms and subjects is wide. In compact sonnets, elegant villanelles, ballad stanzas, and free verse, she creates monuments to mixed-race children of colonial Mexico, African American soldiers from the Civil War, a beautiful prostitute in 1910 New Orleans, and domestic workers from the twentieth-century North and South.
Because her white father and her black mother could not marry legally in Mississippi, Trethewey says she was "given" her subject matter as "the daughter of miscegenation." A sense of psychological exile is evident from her first collection, Domestic Work (2000), to the recentThrall (2012). Biracial people of the Americas are a major focus of her poetry and her prose bookBeyond Katrina, a meditation on family, community, and the natural environment of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.Read more...
The Politics and Civics of National Service: Lessons from the Civilian Conservation Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps
By Melissa Bass
In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt created America's first, largest, and most highly esteemed domestic national service program: the Civilian Conservation Corps. As part of the CCC, Americans worked to rehabilitate, protect, and build the nation's natural resources. Despite its success, the CCC was short lived. Why did this program die while later, more controversial national service programs, such as Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and AmeriCorps, survive? And why —given the hardwon continuation and expansion of AmeriCorps —is national service less available as an option today than it was in 1933?
In Politics and Civics of National Service, Melissa Bass focuses on the history, current relevance, and impact of domestic national service. She argues that only by examining programs over time can we understand national service's successes and limitations, both in terms of its political support and its civic lessons. Based on extensive archival and documentary research, supplemented with interviews, The Politics and Civics of National Service provides the first detailed policy history of VISTA and AmeriCorps and of America's main national service programs taken together as a whole.
Moreover, Bass furthers our understanding of twentieth-century American political development by comparing programs founded during three distinct political eras —the New Deal, the Great Society, and the early Clinton years —and tracing them over time. To a remarkable extent, the CCC, VISTA, and AmeriCorps reflect the policymaking ethos and political controversies of their times, illuminating principles that hold well beyond the field of national service.
The Politics and Civics of National Service expertly evaluates the civic effects of national service policy in the context of political development in the United States. At the same time, by emphasizing the programs' effects on citizenship and civic engagement, this volume deepens our understanding of how programs can act as "public policy for democracy."
About Melissa Bass
A graduate of Brandeis University, Dr. Bass teaches classes on the foundations of public policy, civic engagement, and research methods in public policy.
Anne Firor Scott's The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830-1930 stirred a keen interest among historians in both the approach and message of her book. Using women's diaries, letters, and other personal documents, Scott brought to life southern women as wives and mothers, as members of their communities and churches, and as sometimes sassy but rarely passive agents. She brilliantly demonstrated that the familiar dichotomies of the personal versus the public, the private versus the civic, which had dominated traditional scholarship about men, could not be made to fit women's lives. In doing so, she helped to open up vast terrains of women's experiences for historical scholarship.
This volume, Writing Women's History: A Tribute to Anne Firor Scott by Elizabeth Anne Payne, based on papers presented at the University of Mississippi's annual Chancellor Porter L. Fortune Symposium in Southern History, brings together essays by scholars at the forefront of contemporary scholarship on American women's history. Each regards The Southern Lady as having shaped her historical perspective and inspired her choice of topics in important ways. These essays together demonstrate that the power of imagination and scholarly courage manifested in Scott's and other early American women historians' work has blossomed into a gracious plentitude.Read more...
Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi`ite Islam combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, in Shi`ite Islam. The book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Late Antiquity through the Church fathers and popular hagiography. It examines how Merovingian authors assimilated powerful queens and abbesses to a Marian prototype to articulate their political significance and, at the same time, censure holy women’s public charisma. Mary F. Thurlkill focuses as well on the importance of Fatima in the evolution of Shi`ite identity throughout the Middle East. She examines how scholars such as Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi advertised Fatima as a symbol of the Shi`ite holy family and its glorified status in paradise, while simultaneously binding her as a mother to the domestic sphere and patriarchal authority.
This important comparative look at feminine ideals in both Shi`ite Islam and medieval Christianity is of relevance and value in the modern world. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of Islam, comparative religion, medieval Christianity, and gender studies.
MARY F. THURLKILL is assistant professor of religion at the University of Mississippi.
“Thurlkill has produced a remarkable study, a model for comparative work in the history of religions. The book is original, well-researched, and shows great erudition. Thurlkill’s original acumen is brought to bear on a rich and variegated topic that has for too long been ignored by specialists not willing to move beyond the confines of overly determined areas of research.“ —Brannon Wheeler, United States Naval Academy
“Doing substantial comparative work in rhetoric, gender, and religion, Thurlkill is outwardly interested in holy women. Her study provides a side-by-side examination of the ways in which men in medieval Christianity and Shiite Islam constructed and enshrined feminine images ‘without seriously compromising conservative gender designations.’ Extensively footnoted and with a rich bibliography, this is recommended for academic gender and religion collections.” — Library Journal
“Thurlkill examines feminine imagery in medieval Christianity and Islam, using Mary and Fatima as exemplars for complex political, religious, and social agendas. . . . Christian and Shi’ite Muslim theologians used Mary and Fatima as orthodox gender models for pious women to imitate, with marriage and motherhood serving as sacred vocations. Fatima, the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, symbolized the reverence for the prophet’s family in Shi’a Islam; she became a symbol of both religious orthodoxy and dynastic mandate, just as the Merovingians used Mary’s maternal image to provide themselves with a political pedigree in the sixth and seventh centuries.” — Choice
“This is an interesting book, covering historical, political, media, cultural, and feminist aspects of Mary and Fatima. It shows that image-making in the concrete and abstract senses has long been a tool of those seeking to influence and control others.” — Journal of Islamic Studies
“. . . Mary F. Thurlkill presents a new thoughtful and provocative work, exploring the decisive role that both Mary and Fatima have played respectively in Christianity and Shi’ite Islam. . . . Thurlkill’s book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Latin Antiquity through the church fathers and popular hagiography. Chosen among Women combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima . . .” — The Sixteenth Century Journal
“Crossing the topics of religious studies, gender, and hagiography, Thurlkill juxtaposes the images of Mary and Fatima as they were constructed by late antique and medieval thinkers for various theological and political purposes. . . . Thurlkill’s study is to be welcomed as a bridge connecting gender studies, Christian studies, and Islamic studies, and as a indicator of directions for future research.” — Church History
“An ambitious attempt to compare depictions of the sacred feminine in medieval Christianity and Shi’ite Islam. A strength of Thurlkill’s study is her use of concepts from a range of disciplines . . . a work that highlights the potential for future comparative studies.” — Speculum
“. . . This work is a welcome contribution to the fields of both medieval Christian and medieval Muslim studies . . . It adds to our understanding of how gender is deployed by the clerical establishment or figures of authority in a religious tradition to negotiate the terrain of diverse theological, political, social, and religious practices in the ongoing struggle to shape orthodoxy and orthopraxy . . . The greatest contribution of the book is its demonstration that even though patriarchal constructs draw parameters around these two holy women, the possibilities such figures open up for multivalent understandings of their roles and accomplishments are nonetheless significant.” — History of Religions
"Accessibly written, and with contextual material involving both Murray's times and up-to-date historical thinking about Enlightenment women and the early republic, the book will become the starting point for all future work about Murray and women writers before the Jacksonian period."—American Historical Review
"A very fine biography, one that is not only an excellent work of scholarship but also highly readable and engaging. In mining and analyzing new materials, Skemp has turned the historical spotlight on an author and critic worthy of ongoing consideration."—New England Quarterly
"I am deeply grateful to Skemp for providing us with such a comprehensive perspective on Murray and for helping bring her out of the shadows and into the limelight shared by contemporaries such as Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren. . . . What is most valuable about this book, however, is Skemp's wonderful depiction of the transition in the early Republic as old New England families were forced to share power and authority with the rising classes."—William and Mary Quarterly
"Sheila Skemp gives readers unprecedented access to Murray's private writing, shared almost exclusively with family members and close friends, at these and other momentous occasions in her exceptional new biography. Skemp takes us beyond Murray's more familiar published work to her richly descriptive thoughts on the terrors of childbirth; travels; visits with the likes of Washington and John Adams; and the travails of educating her daughter, two girls also under her stewardship, and the boisterous sons of her brother, who had been sent north from Natchez with Harvard in their sights."—Eighteenth-Century Studies
"Skemp's nimble selection of the details. . . reveal in stunning, sad, and human detail the mind and life of a brilliant woman who advocated for women's equality well before Mary Wollstonecraft."—Resources for American Literary Study
Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), poet, essayist, playwright, and one of the most thoroughgoing advocates of women's rights in early America, was as well known in her own day as Abigail Adams or Martha Washington. Her name, though, has virtually disappeared from the public consciousness. Thanks to the recent discovery of Murray's papers—including some 2,500 personal letters—historian Sheila L. Skemp has documented the compelling story of this talented and most unusual eighteenth-century woman.
Born in Gloucester, Massachussetts, Murray moved to Boston in 1793 with her second husband, Universalist minister John Murray. There she became part of the city's literary scene. Two of her plays were performed at Federal Street Theater, making her the first American woman to have a play produced in Boston. There, as well, she wrote and published her magnum opus, The Gleaner, a three-volume "miscellany" that included poems, essays, and the novel-like story "Margaretta." After 1800, Murray's output diminished and her hopes for literary renown faded. Suffering from the backlash against women's rights that had begun to permeate American society, struggling with economic difficulties, and concerned about providing the best possible education for her daughter, she devoted little time to writing. But while her efforts diminished, they never ceased.
Murray was determined to transcend the boundaries that limited women of her era and worked tirelessly to have women granted the same right to the "pursuit of happiness" immortalized in the Declaration of Independence. She questioned the meaning of gender itself, emphasizing the human qualities men and women shared, arguing that the apparent distinctions were the consequence of nurture, not nature. Although she was disappointed in the results of her efforts, Murray nevertheless left a rich intellectual and literary legacy, in which she challenged the new nation to fulfill its promise of equality to all citizens.
Sheila L. Skemp is Clare Leslie Marquette Professor of History at the University of Mississippi.Read more...
Between the two world wars, American publishing entered a "golden age" characterized by an explosion of new publishers, authors, audiences, distribution strategies, and marketing techniques. The period was distinguished by a diverse literary culture, ranging from modern cultural rebels to working-class laborers, political radicals, and progressive housewives. In America the Middlebrow, Jaime Harker focuses on one neglected mode of authorship in the interwar period—women’s middlebrow authorship and its intersection with progressive politics.
With the rise of middlebrow institutions and readers came the need for the creation of the new category of authorship. Harker contends that these new writers appropriated and adapted a larger tradition of women’s activism and literary activity to their own needs and practices. Like sentimental women writers and readers of the 1850s, these authors saw fiction as a means of reforming and transforming society. Like their Progressive Era forebears, they replaced religious icons with nationalistic images of progress and pragmatic ideology. In the interwar period, this mode of authorship was informed by Deweyan pragmatist aesthetics, which insisted that art provided vicarious experience that could help create humane, democratic societies.
Drawing on letters from publishers, editors, agents, and authors, "America the Middlebrow traces" four key moments in this distinctive culture of letters through the careers of Dorothy Canfield, Jessie Fauset, Pearl Buck, and Josephine Herbst. Both an exploration of a virtually invisible culture of letters and a challenge to monolithic paradigms of modernism, the book offers fresh insight into the ongoing tradition of political domestic fiction that flourished between the wars.Read more...
Goths, Gamers, and Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures introduces students to the sociological study of deviance, equipping them with the theoretical tools necessary to analyze various youth subcultures--and virtually any subculture--in new and fascinating ways. In this revised and updated second edition, author Ross Haenfler examines eight different youth subcultures in depth: skinheads, punk rock/hardcore/straight edge, hip hop, heavy metal, virginity pledgers, Goths, gamers and hackers, and riot grrrls. Each chapter begins with a brief description and history of the scene before exploring a specific sociological concept or theory.
New to this Edition
* New discussion questions in each chapter
* New research on youth subcultures including transitions to adulthood
* Additional details in the histories of skinhead, punk, hip hop, and other music scenes, and a new discussion of the impact of virginity pledgers
* Updated chapter on gamers and hackers reflecting new developments in technology
* Expanded explanations in the introduction and conclusion on the social significance of youth cultures and the importance of subcultural studies
* New and updated end-of-chapter resources
Divine Ventriloquism in Medieval English Literature studies medieval attitudes towards the human mediation of God's and Christ's voices and thus attends to how medieval people resignified a pagan practice. As Mary Hayes demonstrates, the ventriloquized divine voice ultimately permits an exploration of human relationships with God as well as mundane relationships between the divine voice's designated clerical mediators and their lay audiences. This book shows that the ventriloquized divine voice became a contested site of power as priests acquired more institutional endorsement and, ironically, devotion in some ways became putatively more lay-centered. Taken together, these chapters tell a story, one of a progression from an orthodox view of divine vocal power, to an anxiety over the authority of the priest's voice, to a subversive take on the ability of lay people not only to mimic the clerical voice but also to generate their own unique performances capable of divine communication.
"This book does two things all medievalists can be grateful for. One, it demonstrates how literary theory can prompt and inform investigations and analysis of early literature without implying, much less insisting, that these texts are post-anything. Two, it tells a story of great importance to understanding the emergence of English literature from the Middle Ages to the threshold of the Early Modern: the story of the inexorable interrogation by medieval writers of speech, language, and their sources, including especially their source in 'belly-speech,' that will come to mean so much in comprehending the larger story of English literature by the late 1500s, when it throws its voices to all who have ears to hear--as it does still today."--R. Allen Shoaf, co-founding editor, EXEMPLARIA
“In this fine study, Hayes explores the theological implications of ventriloquism’s founding assumption, namely, that voice is the sign of presence. She insightfully analyzes the specific kinds of voice-throwing that characterize medieval England from talking bibles to actors performing the Last Supper—in short, an entire vocal economy of mediated speech acts.”--Valerie Allen, professor of English, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
The Oprah Affect explores the cultural impact of Oprah’s Book Club, particularly in light of debates about the definition and purpose of literature in American culture. For the critics collected here, Oprah’s Book Club stands, in the context of American literary history, not as an egregious undermining of who we are and what we represent, as some have maintained, but as the latest manifestation of a tradition that encourages symbiotic relationships between readers and texts. Powered by women writers and readers, novels in this tradition attract crowds, sell well, and make unabashed appeals to emotion. The essays consider the interlocking issues of affect, affinity, accessibility, and activism in the context of this tradition. Juxtaposing book history; reading practices; literary analysis; feminist criticism; and communication, religious, political, and cultural studies; the contributors map a range of possibilities for further research on Oprah’s Book Club. A complete chronological list of Book Club picks is included.
“This collection is important not only for those interested in Oprah’s Book Club, but also for all of us who are interested in contemporary reading practices and, in particular, the sociology of literature. The theoretical foundations found in the various essays are wide-ranging, and the research methods used and discussed illustrate the exciting potential of reading scholarship. This is a valuable collection that will appeal to students and scholars across the academy.” — DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Mount Saint Vincent University
Contributors include Timothy Aubry, Kimberly Chabot Davis, Kate Douglas, Cecilia Konchar Farr, R. Mark Hall, Jaime Harker, Kelley Penfield Lewis, Kathryn Lofton, Michael A. Perry, Kevin Quirk, Ana Patricia Rodríguez, Kathleen Rooney, Simon Stow, Juliette Wells, Virginia Wells, and Yung-Hsing Wu.Read more...
A toddler's mother, both an intimate guide and an affectionate coach, writes to a pregnant friend about the transforming experience of motherhood. "These are letters I would have welcomed when I was pregnant," says Beth Ann Fennelly, as she seeks to go beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of other parenting literature. The letters range in tone from serious to sisterly, from light-hearted to downright funny. Some answer specific questions such as decisions about pain medication; others muse about the identity shift a woman encounters when she enters Mommyland or address our responsibility to the natural world. Still others explore the magic and mysteries of childbirth, the wonders of language, and the exhilaration (also the ambivalence) about a baby's first steps to independence.
Here are modern letters written in an old-fashioned way, not as hasty e-mails but more slowly and filtered through the sensibility of a spirited, fearless poet. Though written for a specific person, their themes are universal, inviting all mothers to join the grand circle of giving and receiving advice about children.Read more...
This collection of essays, Paris-Bucharest, Bucharest-Paris, edited by Anne Quinney presents new research on the work of Romanian writers who chose French as a literary language. Romanian is itself, of course, a Romance language, and there is a long history of close Franco-Romanianties. But given the complex and often multilingual cultural heritage of these writers-whose influences included German, Russian, and Ottoman-their contribution to French literature represents a unique hybrid form of francophonie. And yet unlike the literary production of former French colonies, this work has received little scholarly attention as a contribution to French literature. This book aims to rectify this situation. Focusing on the historical, cultural, and artistic links between France and Romania in the twentieth century from the standpoint of such figures as Tristan Tzara, Anna de Noailles, Panaït Istrati, Eugène Ionesco, Isidore Isou, and E.M. Cioran, the essays develop innovative and insightful perspectives with regard to the work of individual authors. The volume as a whole will thus serve to reshape prevailing conceptions of Francophone literary production and to expand fundamentally the conceptual boundaries of Francophone Studies.Read more...
Deborah Barker is an associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of Aesthetics and Gender in American Literature: The Portrait of the Woman Artist and coeditor of Shakespeare and Gender: A History. Kathryn McKee is the McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and English at the University of Mississippi. She has published in a range of journals, including American Literature, Legacy, Mississippi Quarterly, and Southern Literary Journal.
“Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee’s American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary draws the imagined South brilliantly and broadly, as a set of images, sounds, and narratives that help produce an American cinema and as a reservoir for values in need of salvage or denial and contradictions in need of resolution. Placing the New Southern Studies in conversation with film studies, this book is simply the best edited collection available on film and the U.S. South.”
—Grace Hale, associate professor of history and American studies, University of Virginia
“Besides adeptly taking on concepts and questions circulating in the field, American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary intervenes in new exciting ways, “rereading the South” (old, new and postmodern) and insightfully interrogating the South on film, from Birth of a Nationto “Birmingham Sunday,” Slacker and beyond. This deft anthology makes great reading for anyone wanting to understand the development of the cinematic South; for an educated general audience, as well as graduate courses in cinema studies and American studies.”
—Ed Guerrero, associate professor of cinema studies and Africana studies, New York University
Employing innovations in media studies, southern cultural studies, and approaches to the global South, this collection of essays examines aspects of the southern imaginary in American cinema and offers fresh insight into the evolving field of southern film studies.
In their introduction, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in film is not contained by the boundaries of geography and genre; it is not an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American film but is integral to the history and the development of American cinema.
Ranging from the silent era to the present and considering Hollywood movies, documentaries, and independent films, the contributors incorporate the latest scholarship in a range of disciplines. The volume is divided into three sections: “Rereading the South” uses new critical perspectives to reassess classic Hollywood films; “Viewing the Civil Rights South” examines changing approaches to viewing race and class in the post–civil rights era; and “Crossing Borders” considers the influence of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and media studies on recent southern films.
The contributors to American Cinema and the Southern Imaginarycomplicate the foundational term “southern,” in some places stretching the traditional boundaries of regional identification until they all but disappear and in others limning a persistent and sometimes self-conscious performance of place that intensifies its power.Read more...
by Diane E. Marting, Associate Professor of Spanish
"A major and important addition to the field of Latin American studies . . . [and] the work of a mature scholar. I recommend it fully and enthusiastically."-- Sara Castro-Klaren, Johns Hopkins University
Latin American fiction achieved a turning point in its representation of sexual women sometime in the 1960s. Diane E. Marting offers a richly detailed analysis of this development.
Her central idea is that in Latin American narrative women's desires were portrayed as dangerous throughout the 20th century, despite the heroic character of the "newly sexed woman" of the sixties. She argues that woman's sexuality in fiction was transformed because it symbolized the many other changes occurring in women's lives regarding their families, workplaces, societies, and nations. Female sexual desire offered an ever present threat to male privilege.
Marting scrutinizes novels by three of the most famous and most popular novelists of the period, Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias, Brazilian Clarice Lispector, and Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa. She argues that their novels from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s represent the beginning, middle, and end, respectively, of what has come to be seen as an indulgent, radical period that produced world-acclaimed sexual fiction of world stature. Marting's book surveys the topic of women's sexuality in the work of both men and women writers and engages two current controversies: feminist and moral issues related to the female body, and the nature of literary history. It will stand as an important addition to the fields of Latin American studies and women’s studies.
Diane E. Marting, assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures at the University of Florida, is the editor of three books, including <i>Clarice Lispector: A Bio-Bibliography</i>, and the author of many articles in journals such as <i>Modern Language Notes, Chasqui,</i> and <i>World Literature Today</i>.Read more...
Although the Blitz has come to symbolize the experience of civilians under attack, Germany first launched air raids on Britain at the end of 1914 and continued them during the First World War. With the advent of air warfare, civilians far removed from traditional battle zones became a direct target of war rather than a group shielded from its impact. This is a study of how British civilians experienced and came to terms with aerial warfare during the First and Second World Wars. Memories of the World War I bombings shaped British responses to the various real and imagined war threats of the 1920s and 1930s, including the bombing of civilians during the Spanish Civil War and, ultimately, the Blitz itself. The processes by which different constituent bodies of the British nation responded to arrival of air power reveal the particular role that gender played in defining civilian participation in modern war.
"Professor Grayzel shows that in order to understand the real impact of the Blitz, it is important to go back a quarter of a century to the first aerial assault on Britain. Drawing on a vast range of sources and utilizing the theoretical sophistication of a historian at the height of her powers, At Home and Under Fire also manages to make us recognize once more the unprecedented shock of death from above and engages our sympathy with the people first caught under the bombs."
- Dr. Adrian Gregory, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
"At Home and Under Fire is an exhaustively researched and illuminating analysis of the impact of air warfare on Britain in the twentieth century. Grayzel thoughtfully analyzes the political and cultural responses to and consequences of the bombing in World War I, examining the policy and public debates at the time and in the war's aftermath. She clearly demonstrates how weapons from the skies used against British civilians beginning in 1914 shaped interwar debates about controlling war, protecting civilian lives, and preparing for the war to come, and how these, in turn, informed responses to the massive attacks from the air in World War II. The book significantly enriches our understanding of the nature and consequences of 'Total War.'"
- Sonya O. Rose, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan
"Throughout the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first, civilians have been the subject of aerial bombardment as combatant nations and groups have sought to win conflicts by inflicting death and injury on those at home 'behind the lines.' In this riveting study Susan Grayzel traces the origins of this all-too-familiar form of warfare back to the early twentieth century, showing the impact of aerial warfare on the home and on those within. Exploring the responses to this new threat to personal and national security from the state, the media, and individuals, this is truly a book for our times."
- Lucy Noakes, University of BrightonRead more...