The Journal of Women’s History partners with the New Books Network to host a podcast profiling recent publications in women’s history. Our team of interviewers sit down for conversations with the authors of recent books in the field. If you are interested in participating in one of these conversations, please contact us directly at jwh@ou.edu

Latest Episode

Oct. 13, 2020

Jennifer J. Davis (Co-Editor Journal of Women’s History; Associate Professor of History, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Julie Hardwick (John E. Green Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin) about her new book Sex in an Old Regime City: Young Workers and Intimacy in France, 1660-1789 (Oxford University Press, 2020).

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Or use the code AAFLYG6 for 30% off on the Oxford University Press website.

Young women and men sought out each other’s company in the workshops, cabarets, and streets of Old Regime Lyon, and evidence of these relationships lingers in documents and material objects conserved in Lyon’s municipal and departmental archives. How did young workers spend time together? When would they initiate sexual relationships outside of marriage? What resources did they marshal to manage pregnancy and childbirth, and what kind of support might they expect from their neighbors, employers, and families? In paternity suits, young women provided direct answers to these questions, and left an incomparable archive testifying to their desires, hopes, loss, and often, grief resulting from “courtships gone awry.”

Hardwick opens the book with a a beaded garter preserved in the archives of Lyon’s foundling hospital. It reads “I am going away but not leaving you.” Was it left with the baby as an identifying mark? Had it been exchanged between parents, or made by one of them? This “momento is a tantalizing connection to the elusive world of young people’s intimacy in Old Regime France,” testifying to the tangled emotions of desire, hope, despair, and grief that might have attended this moment of surrender. (p. 1)

(Archives Municipales de Lyon HCL HD G85  27 April 1768)

In six chapters, Hardwick explores the contours and consequences of these intimate relationships highlighting courtship practices, young women’s agency, and young men’s financial responsibility for babies conceived out of wedlock. She then turns to pregnancy ‘remedies,’ the paid work created within an “economy of reproduction,” and community care for foundlings and infanticide. This is an extraordinary work of history that emphasizes powerful continuities in heteronormative sexuality across two centuries.

NBN + JWH Episode 4 : Julie Hardwick

Recent Episodes

July 15, 2020

Sandie Holguín (Co-Editor, Journal of Women’s History; Professor of History, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Jennifer L. Holland about her book, Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement (University of California Press, 2020).

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In addition to her book, Dr. Holland has recently published an article in Feminist Studies, “‘Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust’: Children and Young Adults in the Anti-Abortion Movement.” Dr. Holland is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma and Book Review Editor for the Journal of Women’s History.

In Tiny You, Holland tells the story of one of the most successful political movements of the twentieth century in the United States: the grassroots campaign against legalized abortion.

The interview covers the origins, spread, and success of this conservative movement in the Mountain West during the latter half of the twentieth century. Although she discusses the many leaders of the movement, her focus is on how women at the local level championed the rights of fetuses in domestic spaces, churches, and schools, therefore changing the tenor of local, state, and national politics in enduring ways.

After reading this book, one can never look at American conservatism or anti-abortion politics in the same way again. Please join us for an enlightening interview.

JWH + NBN Episode 3: Jennifer L. Holland

July 1, 2020

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan University Press 2020). $26.95. 200pp. ISBN 0819579491

Jennifer J. Davis (Co-Editor, Journal of Women’s History; Associate Professor of History, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, about The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan UP, 2020). Jeffers’s latest collection of poems centers on the remarkable life of America’s first poet of African descent, Phillis Wheatley Peters. The Society of Early Americanists recently selected The Age of Phillis as the subject for their Common Reading Initiative for 2021. Prof. Jeffers has published four additional volumes of poetry including The Glory Gets and The Gospel of Barbecue, and alongside fiction and critical essays. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

In The Age of Phillis, Jeffers draws on fifteen years of research in archives and locations across America, Europe and Africa to envision the world of Phillis Wheatley Peters: from the daily rhythms of her childhood in Senegambia, the trauma of her capture and transatlantic transport, to the icy port of Boston where she was enslaved and educated. In our conversation, Jeffers speaks to the origins of this project, reveals how she embarked on the research and writing process, and shares a few powerful poems from the volume.

JWH + NBN Episode 2: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

June 1, 2020

Pamela S. Nadell, America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co, 2019). The paperback edition of Nadell’s award-winning book will be released this Spring 2020.

Ronnie Grinberg (Asst. Professor of History, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Pamela S. Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History and director of Jewish studies at American University. Nadell’s books include America’s Jewish Women, winner of the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year Award from the Jewish Book Council, and Women Who Would Be Rabbis, a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Prof. Nadell lives in North Bethesda, Maryland.

In America’s Jewish Women, Nadell surveys the varied experiences of Jewish women who made America their home. In elegant prose, she introduces readers to a cast of characters from the seventeenth century to the present day. Our interview provides a brief overview of the book’s arguments and archival research, before turning to important questions of how women’s history, Jewish history and American history might work together, as well as enduring tensions between these fields. Nadell and Grinberg also call attention to some distinctive features of Judaism in America, the social roots of Jewish women’s political activism, and reveal a shared passion for mah jong! Please enjoy this conversation between two colleagues with a deep admiration for each other’s work. 

Ronnie Grinberg is Assistant Professor in the History Department and Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is completing a manuscript on New York Jewish intellectuals in the twentieth century to be published with Princeton University Press.

JWH & NBN Episode 1: Pamela Nadell