Feminism and Gender: Verso Student Reading
Below are some of the most influential feminist polemics of recent years; a mix of foundational texts in critical and left feminist traditions with contemporary books on neoliberal feminism, race and identity, and patriarchy under capitalism.
See all our student reading here.
Eleanor Marx is one of the most tragically overlooked radical figures in history, usually overshadowed by her father, Karl. But not only did she edit, translate, transcribe and collaborate with her father, she also led an extraordinary life as a labour organiser, trade unionist, translator, actor, writer and feminist.
Yvonne Kapp’s biography was first published at the height of feminist organising in the 1970s. Kapp brilliantly succeeds in capturing Eleanor’s spirit, from a lively child opining on the world’s affairs, to the new woman, aspiring to the stage, earning her living as a free intellectual, and helping to lead England’s unskilled workers at the height of the new unionism.
Nancy Fraser’s major new book traces the feminist movement’s evolution since the 1970s and anticipates a new—radical and egalitarian—phase of feminist thought and action.
In De Colores Means All of Us, Martínez presents a radical Latina perspective on race, liberation and identity. She describes the provocative ideas and new movements created by the rapidly expanding US Latina/o community as it confronts intensified exploitation and racism.
In this engaging and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena presents feminism as it originated in the Third World, erupting from the specific struggles of women fighting against colonial power, for education or the vote, for safety, and against poverty and inequality.
First published in 1990, Michele Wallace’s Invisibility Blues is widely regarded as a landmark in the history of black feminism. Wallace’s considerations of the black experience in America include recollections of her early life in Harlem; a look at the continued underrepresentation of black voices in politics, media, and culture; and the legacy of such figures as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison,and Alice Walker.
Leading historian takes on the lies told about Rigoberta Menchú’s bestselling memoir.
Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. With a foreword that examines the debate the book has sparked between intellectuals and political leaders, as well as what has—and, crucially, has not—changed over the last four decades, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman continues to be deeply relevant to current feminist debates and black theory today.
Is heterosexual sex inherently damaging to women? This is the central question of Straight Sex, Lynne Segal’s account of twentyfive years of feminist thinking on sexuality.
Sensitive but uncompromising socialist-feminist critique of the nuclear family.
Women’s Oppression Today is a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism.
A brilliantly original exploration of the interface between feminism, psychoanalysis, semiotics and film theory.
Classic analysis of gender relations and patriarchy under capitalism.
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An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics.
Composed in 1790, Mary Wollstonecraft’s seminal feminist tract A Vindication of the Rights of Woman broke new ground in its demand for women’s education, and remains one of history’s most important and elegant broadsides against sexual oppression. In her introduction, renowned socialist feminist Sheila Rowbotham casts Wollstonecraft’s life and work in a new light.
Exploring the sociohistorical roots of gender inequality.
Foregrounding the body, this remarkable collective work explores the sexualization of women’s bodies, charting the complex interplay of social, political and cultural forces which produce a normative “femininity.”
Based on social anthropological fieldwork, the essays in Machos, Mistresses, Madonnas present rich ethnographic material drawn from a variety of locations in Latin America, from Mexico City to the highlands of Ecuador.
Pioneering study of how ideas about white women have shaped the history of racism.
Inside This Place, Not of It reveals some of the most egregious human rights violations within women’s prisons in the United States.