Recognizing Women’s History Month

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Happy International Women’s Day! In this blog post, University of Toronto Press (UTP) rounds up some of our titles in the field of Women’s studies and Women’s history. Plus, check out some UTP journal’s collections that are #FreeToRead until the end of March, here.

Charm Offensive: Commodifying Femininity in Postwar France

By Kelly Ricciardi Colvin

Charm Offensive explores how this elevation of French femininity created problems on both sides of the equation: the pressure on French women to conform to an exacting physical standard was immense, while the inability of anyone else to access that standard resulted in a sense of failure. Drawing on cultural figures like Air France hostesses, tourism workers, and celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Charm Offensive offers an innovative understanding of a tumultuous time of decolonization.

Feeding Fascism: The Politics of Women’s Food Work

By Diana Garvin

Feeding Fascism explores how women negotiated the politics of Italy’s Fascist regime in their daily lives and how they fed their families through agricultural and industrial labour. The book looks at women’s experiences of Fascism by examining the material world in which they lived in relation to their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Revealing the national stakes of daily choices, and the fine line between resistance and consent, Feeding Fascism attests to the power of food.

Writing and Rewriting the Reich: Women Journalists in the Nazi and Post-War Press

By Deborah Barton

Writing and Rewriting the Reich tells the complex story of women journalists as both outsiders and insiders in the German press of the National Socialist and post-war years. From 1933 onward, Nazi press authorities valued female journalists as a means to influence the public through charm and subtlety rather than intimidation or militant language. Deborah Barton reveals that despite the deep sexism inherent in the Nazi press, some women were able to capitalize on the gaps between gender rhetoric and reality to establish prominent careers in both soft and hard news.

Addressing the long-term influence of women journalists, Writing and Rewriting the Reich illuminates some of the most salient issues in the nature of Nazi propaganda, the depiction of wartime violence, and historical memory.

The Queen of Scots: La reina di Scotia

By Federico Della Valle

Translated by Fabio Battista

From the moment of her spectacular death on the scaffold, the story of Mary Queen of Scots became nothing short of a sensation across Europe. She was executed on 8 February 1587, and her death was the climax of a captivity that lasted over eighteen years. Shortly after the event, Federico Della Valle, one of Italy’s most accomplished dramatists of the time, composed La reina di Scotia (The Queen of Scots), a tragedy depicting the final hours of the Scottish queen’s life.

Winning Women’s Hearts and Minds: Selling Cold War Culture in the US and the USSR

By Diana Cucuz

Throughout the Cold War, Soviet citizens had limited access to US life and culture. Amerika, a glossy Russian-language magazine similar to Life, provided a rare exception. Winning Women’s Hearts and Minds sheds light on the significance of women, gender, and consumption to international politics during the Cold War.

Margherita Costa, Diva of the Baroque Court

By Jessica Goethals

The Roman singer, courtesan, and writer Margherita Costa won prominence and fame across the courts of Italy and France during the mid-seventeenth century. She secured a steady stream of elite patrons – including popes, queens, grand dukes, and influential cardinals – while male poets and librettists wrote celebratory poetry on her behalf. In addition to her appearances as a soprano on the opera stage, Costa published a remarkable fourteen full-length texts across an expanse of genres: burlesque comedy, drama, equestrian ballet, pastoral opera, amorous letters, lyric poetry, and history.

Margherita Costa, Diva of the Baroque Court brings together close textual readings of Costa’s numerous publications with archival materials detailing her performance itinerary and social-cultural networks. The book progresses chronologically through her life, geographically along the routes she travelled, and thematically via the genres in which she experimented.

Coerced Liberation: Muslim Women in Soviet Tajikistan

By Zamira Abman

Available May 2024

In 1924, the Bolshevik regime began an unprecedented campaign to forcibly emancipate the Muslim women of Tajikistan. The emancipatory reforms included unveiling women, passing progressive family code laws, and educating women. By the 1950s, the Soviet regime largely succeeded in putting an end to veiling, child marriage, polygamy, and bride payments. Yet today there is a resurgence in these practices the Bolsheviks claimed to have eliminated. Coerced Liberation reveals that the Soviet regime transformed the lives of urban women within a single generation but without lasting effect.

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