Women Transforming Politics

An Alternative Reader

612 pages

22 illustrations

July, 1997

ISBN: 9780814715581



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Cathy Cohen is Assistant Professor of Political Science and African and African American Studies at Yale University

All books by Cathy Cohen

Kathleen B. Jones is Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Letters and Professor of Women's Studies at San Diego State University, and author of Compassionate Authority.

Joan C. Tronto is Coordinator of Women's Studies and Professor of Political Science at Hunter College, and author of Mo

All books by Kathy Jones

Joan C. Tronto is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care (Routledge).

All books by Joan C. Tronto

As the largest political constituency in the United States, women present a radical challenge to the foundations of our political system. The integration of women into political life fundamentally changes the nature of American politics, necessitating a reassessment of the definition of politics, the nature of political action and the purpose of public life.

Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader redefines the field of women and politics. By displacing the experiences of white, middle and upper class elite women as central, this volume brings to light the lives and actions of poor and working class women, women of color, and others defined as marginal. Covering topics as diverse as community organizing by South Asian women in New York, the governing styles of Chicana/Latina elected officials in California, the labor struggles of working-class women in Tennessee, the participation pattern of poor African-American women in Ohio, and the challenge of reproductive and sexual rights in international feminist politics, each essay provides a new and more expansive way to think about politics.

Contributors representing a wide range of professions including political science, sociology, history, law, grassroots organizing and cultural work challenge us to expand the range of experiences and acts considered political. Combining classic essays by renowned figures with groundbreaking work by a new generation of scholars, the publication of Women Transforming Politics will change forever the study of politics in the United States.


  • "This exciting collection not only documents the varied organizing experiences of women in American politics, it provides original and provocative analyses of the challenge owmen present to mainstream ideas of political representation, the role of the state, and the nature of power. The scope and depth of this volume are remarkable, and the prose lucid enought to make this bookd widely accessible. A must-read for all interested in women's political empowerment."

    —Urvashi Vaid, author of Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation

  • "This innovative book illustrates both the complexity of women's activism and how that activism must transform our understanding of politics. It is an invaluable resource for the courses in U.S. politics and political participation that, at the same time, introduces the work of exciting young scholars."

    —Martha Ackelsberg, Smith College

  • "Expanding the boundaries of conventional political studies, Women Transforming Politics provides perspectives and analyses which are vital for a truly democratic society."

    —Joy James, author of Resisting State Violence and Transcending the Talented Tenth