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A Celebration of Women’s History Month

The University of Notre Dame Press presents our Women’s History Month reading list that showcases powerful reads written by women and about women across a variety of subject areas. These titles are perfect additions to your March to-be-read stack and beyond. 

Caribbean Women: An Anthology of Non-Fiction Writing, 1890-1981 is an anthology edited by Veronica Marie Gregg featuring the writings of generations of women born after slavery ended and their significant contributions to the creation and development of Caribbean intellectual history. The collected works are guided by a search for answers to the questions: What have West Indian women contributed to the creation of Anglophone Caribbean society, politics, cultures, and intellectual traditions? How is Caribbean womanhood defined and articulated? Their selections challenge many of the prevailing intellectual models used to define Caribbean societies and identities.

“Veronica Gregg’s Caribbean Women should settle decisively any lingering doubts about Caribbean women’s agency, contribution to indigenous knowledge production, and intellectual thought. It is also a wonderful project of ancestral recognition.”

—Verene A. Shepherd, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica

Marda Dunsky has interviewed women and men from cities, towns, villages, and refugee camps who are farmers, scientists, writers, cultural innovators, educators, and entrepreneurs. Stories from Palestine: Narratives of Resilience illuminates their resourcefulness in navigating agriculture, education, and cultural pursuits in the West Bank; persisting in Jerusalem as a sizable minority in the city; and confronting the challenges and uncertainties of life in the Gaza Strip. Stories from Palestine creates a new space from which to consider Palestinians and peace.

“Marda Dunsky is not only courageous in confronting Palestinian reality but also provides essential context and necessary access to Palestinian voices, which are generally unheard or ignored by Western academic and nonacademic audiences. Overall, she succeeds in amplifying Palestinian voices in their own words, highlighting their humanity and creative agency outside of narrow stereotypes. The voices she brings forth in Stories from Palestine need to be heard and contextualized, and time is of the essence.”  

—Deema K. Shehabi, author of Thirteen Departures from the Moon

Catholicism and Native Americans in Early North America interrogates the profound cultural impacts of Catholic policies and practice in La Florida during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Bringing together leading scholars in the field, Kathleen Deagan has fostered a new way to explore how the church negotiated the founding of a Catholic society in colonial America, Native literacy and the impacts of differing conversion philosophies among various religious orders. 

Catholicism and Native Americans in Early North America is a major contribution to understanding the impacts and outcomes of Spanish-American colonial presence and the profound cultural impacts of Catholic policies and practice in colonial America.”

—Russell K. Skowronek, co-editor of Ceramic Production in Early Hispanic California

Listen to the Mourners: The Essential Poems of Nāzik Al-Malā’ika introduces readers to one of the most influential Iraqi poets of the twentieth century. Al-Malā’ika pioneered the modern Arabic verse movement when she broke away from the formalistic classical modes of Arabic poetry that had prevailed for more than fifteen centuries. Along with ʻAbdulwahhāb Al-Bayyāti and Badre Shākir Al-Sayyāb, she paved the way for the birth of a new modernist poetic movement in the Arab World. This accessible, beautifully rendered, and long overdue translation fills a gap in modern Arabic poetry in translation.

“This is an excellent translation, capturing the beauty of Nāzik Al-Malā’ika’s poetry, and making this formative, leading Arab poet available to an English audience.” 

—Bassam K. Frangieh, author of Anthology of Arabic Literature, Culture, and Thought from Pre-Islamic Times to the Present

Politics and the Pink Tide: A Comparative Analysis of Protest in Latin America compares the differences in protest that occurred across five Latin American countries, offering a wide-angle view into the complex relationships between neoliberalism, political party structures, and protest. Using individual and event-level data from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, and Ecuador, Politics and the Pink Tide shows how economic policy choices and the links between leftist parties and social movements affect patterns of protest. 

“A very important contribution to Latin American studies, to comparative politics, and to social movement theories, both theoretically and empirically. The argument developed throughout the book is particularly relevant to understanding this period of Latin American politics.”

—Françoise Montambeault, co-editor of Legacies of the Left Turn in Latin America

The Triumph of Wounded Souls: Seven Holocaust Survivors’ Lives vividly recounts the stories of seven Holocaust survivors who overcame many obstacles to earn advanced degrees and become college and university professors. As Jews trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe from 1939 to 1945, these remarkable individuals witnessed and endured terror and torture. After the war they pursued academic subjects that increased their understanding of the world and gave them a sense of purpose.

“Lerner’s tremendous contribution to the ever-expanding field of Holocaust literature begins with her unusual thesis and selection of people to interview. Through the telling and analysis of all of their stories of tenacity and humanity, The Triumph of Wounded Souls is a window into unfathomable experiences and ultimately a well of hope.”

The Jewish Advocate

In Avoiding Governors: Federalism, Democracy, and Poverty Alleviation in Brazil and Argentina, Tracy Beck Fenwick utilizes extensive field research and empirical analysis to distinguish municipalities as separate actors; she presents a dynamic intergovernmental relationship. The book also analyzes how federalism affects the ability of a national government to deliver conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs). With the goal of showing the effect of domestic factors on the performance of poverty alleviation strategies in Latin America, Tracy Beck Fenwick explores the origins and rise of CCTs in the region, and then traces the politics and evolution of specific programs in Brazil and Argentina.

“This carefully crafted study offers us critical insights on how institutional design affects both governing elites and the poor. It deserves a broad audience among policy makers, academics, and activists.”

—Nancy Bermeo, Nuffield Chair of Comparative Politics, University of Oxford

Defiance in Exile: Syrian Refugee Women in Jordan presents for the first time in a book-length format the opportunity to hear the refugee women’s own words about torment, struggle, and persecution—and of an enduring spirit that defies a difficult reality. Their stories speak of nearly insurmountable social, economic, physical, and emotional challenges, and provide a distinct perspective of the Syrian conflict. The book contains nearly two dozen interviews, which give voice to single mothers, widows, women with disabilities, and those who are victims of physical and psychological abuse.

“If there is a ‘must read’ book inspired by what has happened to Syria and Syrians over the past decade, this is it. In telling the gripping stories of Syrian refugee women dealing with dispossession while leading their families and affirming themselves, Defiance in Exile speaks with penetrating insight and jarring directness to each one of us. No one will come away from reading this book unmoved or unchanged.” 

—Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, diplomat-in-residence at Bard College and former US special envoy to Syria

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