Books by Subject


Notable quote: James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, when asked how we as a society are going to react to issues raised by genetics -- stem cells, bioengineering, and the like: "Just let all genetic decisions be made by women." Discover Magazine, July 2003, p. 19

Communion: The Female Search for Love
by Bell Hooks

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Charting a New Course for Feminist Psychology
by Lynn H. Collins (Editor), Michelle R. Dunlap, (Editor), Joan C. Chrisler

Hardcover - 264 pages (February 28, 2002)
Praeger Pub Text; ISBN: 0275969525
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Book Description
Feminist psychology is vigorous, creative, and increasingly activist. This volume reflects women's diversity and incorporates strategies for social action and opportunities for political activism. It anticipates trends and developments in the psychology of women and feminist psychology. Chapters include those about women and self-esteem, leadership skills, welfare reform, spirituality, and domestic violence. The emphasis on social activism is unique. Unusual and cutting-edge research methodologies and techniques are also discussed.

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A Mind of Her Own: The Evolutionary Psychology of Women
by Anne Campbell


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Current theories of evolution portray men as active individuals forging their way forward through a mix of testosterone fuelled competition, rivalry, and aggression. But what role is left for women within such evolutionary thinking? The role women get is that of the passive, weak, individual left to ride on the coat tails of their male suitors. The default, no testosterone sex interested in just selecting the best male to expand the gene pool . Is it any wonder that feminists are dismissive of such evolutionary approaches? That many have sought to ignore the contribution that evolutionary theory can make to our understanding of women. But have women really just been bit part actors in the whole story of evolution? Have they not played their own role in ensuring their reproductive success? In this highly accessible and thought provoking new book, Anne Campbell challenges this passive role of women in evolutionary theory, and redresses the current bias within evolutionary writing. Guiding us through the basics of evolutionary theory, she proposes that women have forged their own strategic way forward, acting through their own competition, rivalry, indirect aggression, and unfaithfulness, to shape their own destiny. Throwing down a challenge to feminist theories, Campbell argues that evolutionary theory can indeed teach us plenty about the development of the female mind - we just need to get it right. This is an important book that will force others to re-evaluate their own assumptions about the evolution of the female mind.

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Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop-Culture Forms
by Robyn R. Warhol, Ohio State Univ. Press, April 2003

First Sex : The Natural Talents of Women and How They Will Change the World
by Helen E. Fisher

Hardcover - 320 pages 1 edition (May 1999)
Random House; ISBN: 0679449094 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.34 x 9.55 x 6.46
Other Editions: Paperback
Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher isn't afraid of immodest proposals. The woman who demystified four million years' worth of romance in Anatomy of Love now suggests in The First Sex that evolution favors women. Citing recent research in biology, sociology, sociobiology, and anthropology, Fisher makes a strong case for a near future in which the natural talents of women as thinkers, communicators, and healers, adapted to the age of information, create a new kind of global leadership in business, medicine, and education, skewing the power dynamics of sex and relationships towards the feminine. Women, she says, are contextual thinkers to a far greater degree than men; this "web thinking," as Fisher dubs it, is an asset in a global marketplace. Women are far more talented than men at achieving win-win outcomes in negotiations. On an organizational level, women are less interested in rank and more interested in relationships and networking, an essential attribute in a world without borders. In the arena of education, women have a natural talent for language and self-expression; as healers, they enjoy an emotional empathy with their charges that can and will redefine doctor-patient relationships. And, she predicts, in the next century women will reinvent love by asserting feminine sexuality and creating peer marriages, true partnerships. While Fisher's future may seem idealized, her science and her sociology make for a well-reasoned case that the people Simone de Beauvior once defined as "the second sex" are about to move to the head of the class. --Patrizia DiLucchio

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Mother Nature : A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection
by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Hardcover - 725 pages Illustrated edition (October 1999)
Pantheon Books; ISBN: 0679442650 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.55 x 9.56 x 6.85

Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection should be required reading for anyone who happens to be a human being. In it, Hrdy reveals the motivations behind some of our most primal and hotly contested behavioral patterns--those concerning gender roles, mate choice, sex, reproduction, and parenting--and the ideas and institutions that have grown up around them. She unblinkingly examines and illuminates such difficult subjects as control of reproductive rights, infanticide, "mother love," and maternal ambition with its ever-contested companions: child care and the limits of maternal responsibility. Without ever denying personal accountability, she points out that many of the patterns of abuse and neglect that we see in cultures around the world (including, of course, our own) are neither unpredictable nor maladaptive in evolutionary terms. "Mother" Nature, as she points out, is not particularly concerned with what we call "morality." The philosophical and political implications of our own deeply-rooted behaviors are for us to determine--which can be done all the better with the kind of understanding gleaned from this exhaustive work.

Hrdy's passion for this material is evident, and she is deeply aware of the personal stake she has here as a woman, a mother, and a professional. This highly accomplished author relies on her own extensive research background as well as the works of others in multiple disciplines (anthropology, primatology, sociobiology, psychology, and even literature). Despite the exhaustive documentation given to her conclusions (as witness the 140-plus-page notes and bibliography sections), the book unfolds in an exceptionally lucid, readable, and often humorous manner. It is a truly compelling read, highly recommended. --Katherine Ferguson
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Woman: An Intimate Geography
by Natalie Angier

Hardcover - 398 pages (April 1, 1999)
Houghton Mifflin Co (Trd); ISBN: 0395691303 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.40 x 9.34 x 6.41
Other Editions: Audio Cassette (Abridged)

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, as far as the health care profession is concerned the standard operating design of the human body is male. So when a book comes along as beautifully written and endlessly informative as Natalie Angier's Woman: An Intimate Geography, it's a cause for major celebration. Written with whimsy and eloquence, her investigation into female physiology draws its inspiration not only from scientific and medical sources but also from mythology, history, art, and literature, layering biological factoids with her own personal encounters and arcane anecdotes from the history of science. Who knew, for example, that the clitoris--with 8,000 nerve fibers--packs double the pleasure of the penis; that the gene controlling cellular sensitivity to male androgens, ironically enough, resides on the X-chromosome; or that stress hormones like cortisol and corticosterone are the true precursors of friendship?

The mysteries of evolution are not a new subject for Angier, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biology writer for the New York Times whose previous books include The Beauty of the Beastly and Natural Obsessions. The strengths of Woman begin with Angier's witty and evocative prose style, but its real contribution is the way it expands the definition of female "geography" beyond womb, breasts, and estrogen, down as far as the bimolecular substructure of DNA and up as high as the transcendent infrastructure of the human brain. --Patrizia DiLucchio
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The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry
by Bryan Sykes
Hardcover - 320 pages (July 9, 2001)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393020185
Book Description
A momentous scientific discovery that reveals how we are descended from seven prehistoric women. As provocative as Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man and as controversial as E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology, The Seven Daughters of Eve offers a fascinating history of the world as revealed through genetics. After years of research that resulted in headlines across the world, Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University geneticist, now lays the foundation for an entirely new branch of the study of DNA. After being summoned in 1997 to an archaeological site in Italy to examine the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man, Sykes ultimately was able to prove not only that the man was a European but also that he has relatives living in England today. Sykes found a particular strand of DNA that passes unbroken through the maternal line, allowing us to trace our genetic makeup back to prehistoric times to seven primeval women, or the "seven daughters of Eve." This book is popular science at its best, and its scientific and cultural reverberations will be discussed for years to come. 6 b/w line drawings.

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Defending the Cavewoman : And Other Tales of Evolutionary Neurology
by Harold L. Klawands, MD

Hardcover - 256 pages (January 2000)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393048314 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.92 x 5.73 x 8.45

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Gender Gap in Science and Engineering : Illuminating the Differences in Career Outcomes of Ph.D.S
by J. Scott Long (Editor),Linda Skidmore-Roth (Editor)

Hardcover - 450 pages (March 2000)
National Academy Press; ISBN: 0309055806
This item will be published in March 2000. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.
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Just Like a Woman: How Gender Science is Revealing What Makes Us Female
by Dianne Hales

Hardcover - 448 pages (March 2, 1999)
Bantam Books; ISBN: 0553102281 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.43 x 9.58 x 6.51

The entry of more and more women into science, writes Dianne Hales, has started a quiet revolution, a reassessment of accepted notions of what it is to be a woman. "Women are not the second sex but a separate sex, female to the bone and to the very cells that make up those bones.... In affirming our femaleness, we are not diminishing or discrediting our mental ability or essential equality. Rather, we are recognizing a fundamental source of strength and sustenance."

This "equal but different" stance is crucial to modern gender studies--heretofore, Hales says, most if not all medical and psychological research was done on men, and the conclusions recklessly applied to women. Now, science is finding out that females have their own unique strengths that equip them both for the biological roles they may choose to embrace as well as the societal roles they have often been denied. Hales explodes stereotypical notions of physiology and psychology in this well-researched and liberating book. --Therese Littleton
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Has Feminism Changed Science?
by Londa L. Schiebinger

Hardcover - 256 pages (May 1999)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674381130 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.15 x 9.58 x 6.40
Titles that pose rhetorical questions are generally attached to books that answer them affirmatively; Has Feminism Changed Science? is no exception. In the professional culture of science, Londa Schiebinger argues, the feminist perspective has profoundly affected both the types of questions being asked and the substance of new theories proposed as answers. Schiebinger, who has explored this territory in previous books (including Nature's Body), focuses on deconstructing the types of science women have been drawn to for careers and the obstacles they've faced inside and outside the laboratory. Balancing the roles of wife, mother, or domestic partner with the demands of a rigorous professional discipline can be career threatening; finding acceptance within the traditionally male culture of science and changing it to reflect new paradigms challenges even the most gifted researchers and teachers. Schiebinger breathes new life into a much-discussed subject, buttressing her arguments with a wealth of statistical analysis that makes her conclusions difficult to refute. Ultimately, she writes, the role of gender in scientific thinking has been forever altered by feminism, just as the role of women in the sciences has. From fetal development and drug testing to the way that archeologists look at primitive tools, the elimination of masculine bias has profoundly reshaped just how science views the world. --Patrizia DiLucchio
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Smart Girls : A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness
by Barbara A. Kerr

Paperback - 270 pages Revised edition (July 1997)
Gifted Psychology Press; ISBN: 091070726X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.63 x 8.96 x 6.04 Gifted Psychology Press; ISBN: 091070726X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.63 x 8.96 x 6.04
Book Description
Why do talented, gifted girls so often fail to realize their potential as they reach adolescence and adulthood? This outstanding book summarizes research on gifted girls, presents biographies of eminent women and examines the current educational and family milieu. From this, Dr. Kerr gives practical advice to parents, teachers and policy makers about ways to help gifted girls reach their potential. Bright women who read this book will see themselves and their issues and will find it very helpful.


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Divided Labours : An Evolutionary View of Women at Work

Hardcover - 80 pages (September 1999)
Yale Univ Pr; ISBN: 0300080263 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.49 x 7.32 x 4.87 Sales Rank: 38,271
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The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory : Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future
by Cynthia Eller
Hardcover - 304 pages (May 2000)
Beacon Pr; ISBN: 080706792X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.03 x 9.32 x 6.
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Debunking the myth of prehistoric goddess worship

A new myth of human origins has taken hold, and even if you're not familiar with its specifics you're likely to know its contours and to have seen its detritus: T-shirts that proclaim "I Survived 5,000 Years of Patriarchal Hierarchies," goddess earrings dangling from a friend's ears, Venus of Willendorf reproductions, advertisements for goddess travel tours.

According to this matriarchal myth, whose proponents include archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and cultural historian Riane Eisler, men and women lived together peacefully before written records. Society was centered around women, who were honored as incarnations of the Great Goddess. Then a great transformation occurred, and men thereafter dominated society.

Given the universality of patriarchy in recorded history, this vision is understandably appealing for many women. After all, Eller notes, the myth posits a peaceful social structure in which women make important decisions for their communities as powerful, even revered, leaders. But does it have any basis in fact? And as a myth, does it benefit women?

In this lucid and fascinating volume, Eller traces the emergence of feminist matriarchal myth, explicates its functions, and examines the evidence for and against a matriarchal prehistory. Finally, she explains why this vision of peaceful, women-centered prehistory is something feminists should be wary of.
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Engendering China: Women, Culture, and the State (Harvard Contemporary China, No 10)
by Christina K. Gilmartin, (Editor), Gail Hershatter, (Editor), Lisa Rofel, Tryrene White (Editor)


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Failing at Fairness: How our Schools Cheat Girls

By Myra & David Sadker

Touchstone Books, March 1995
ISBN: 068480073X
Book Description
Failing at Fairness, the result of two decades of research, shows how gender bias makes it impossible for girls to receive an education equal to that given to boys.

Hard-hitting and eye-opening, Failing at Fairness should be read by every parent, especially those with daughters.

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Female Sexual Slavery
by Kathleen Barry


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Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality
by Susan McClary

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Feminism and Sexuality
by Stevi Jackson (Editor), Sue Scott (Editor)


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A comprehensive overview of feminist debates surrounding sexuality identifying the main theoretical positions and trends. Contributors include Judith Butler, bell hooks, Luce Irigaray, Catherine MacKinnon, Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Judith Walkowitz and Monique Wittig.
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Illness and Power: Women's Mental Disorders and the Battle Between the Sexes

By Brant Wenegrat

New York University Press, Mar. 1995
ISBN: 081479310X

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The Woman that Never Evolved

By Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Harvard University Press, 1983
ISBN: 0674955412

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Critical Race Feminism: A Reader (Critical America Series)
by Adrien Katherine Wing (Editor), Derrick A. Bell  Derrick A. Bell


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A Natural History of Rape : Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion
by Randy Thornhill, Craig T. Palme

Hardcover - 272 pages (February 1, 2000)
MIT Press; ISBN: 0262201259 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.88 x 9.25 x 6.30
Editorial Reviews
Evolutionary psychology often stomps where other branches of science fear to tread. Case in point: A Natural History of Rape. Randy Thornhill, a biologist, and Craig T. Palmer, an anthropologist, have attempted to apply evolutionary principles to one of the most disgusting of human behaviors, and the result is a guaranteed storm of media hype and debate. The book's central argument is that rape is a genetically developed strategy sustained over generations of human life because it is a kind of sexual selection--a successful reproductive strategy. This runs directly counter to the prevailing notion--that rape is predominantly about violent power, and only secondarily about sex.

The authors base their argument partly on statistics showing that in the United States, most rape victims are of childbearing age. But disturbingly large numbers of rapes of children, elderly women, and other men are never adequately explained. And the actual reproductive success of rape is not clear. Thornhill and Palmer's biological interpretation is just that--an interpretation, one that won't withstand tough scientific scrutiny. They further claim that the mental trauma of rape is greater for women of childbearing age (especially married women) than it is for elderly women or children. The data supporting these assertions come from a single psychological study, done by Thornhill in the 1970s, that mixes first-person interviews with caretaker's interpretations of children's reactions.

While Thornhill and Palmer claim that they are trying to look objectively at the root causes of rape, they focus almost entirely on data that support their thesis, forcing them to write an evolutionary "just-so" story. The central problem is evident in this quote, from the chapter "The Pain and Anguish of Rape":


We feel that the woman's perspective on rape can be best understood by considering the negative influences of rape on female reproductive success.... It is also highly possible that selection favored the outward manifestations of psychological pain because it communicated the female's strong negative attitude about the rapist to her husband and/or her relatives.

Women are disturbed by rape mostly because they are worried about what their husbands might think? In statements like this, the authors repeatedly discount the psychological aspects of rape, such as fear, humiliation, loss of autonomy, and powerlessness, and focus solely on personal shame.

A Natural History of Rape will no doubt have people talking about rape and its causes, and perhaps thinking about real ways of preventing it. In fact, the authors suggest that all young men be educated frankly about their (theoretical) genetic desire to rape. And it reopens the debate about the role of sex in rape. But without more and better data supporting their conclusions, Thornhill and Palmer are doing the very thing they criticize feminists and social scientists of doing: just talking. --Therese Littleton
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The Underside of History: A View of Women Through Time
by Elise Boulding, Sage Publications, Revised edition, Sept. 1992

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The Mothers: The Matriarchal Theory of Social Origins
by Robert Briffault,
Howard Fertig Pub. Reprint edition, Nove 1993

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Against Our will: Men, Women, and Rape
by Susan Browmiller
Ballintine Books, Reprint Edition, June 1993

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The Subordinate Sex: A History of Attitudes Toward Women
by Vern L. Bullogh
University of Illinois Press (trd), July 1972

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The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic & Political Roles
by William H. Chafe
Oxford University Press, 1974

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The Church and the Second Sex
by Mary Daly
Deacon Press, Reissue Edition, Jan. 1986

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The First Sex
by Elizabeth Gould Davis
Viking Press, Sept. 1972

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The Women's Movement: Political, Socioeconomic & Psychological Issues
by Barbara Sinclair Deckard
Harpercollins College div. 3rd Edition, Feb 1983

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Sex & Power in History
by Amaury de Riencourt
David Mckay Co. December 1974

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