Jennifer Nelson and Barbara Molony
Women's Activism and "Second Wave" Feminism situates late 20th century feminisms within a global framework of women's activism. Its chapters, written by leading international scholars, demonstrate how issues of heterogeneity, transnationalism, and intersectionality have transformed understandings of historical feminism.
It is no longer possible to imagine that feminism has ever fostered an unproblematic sisterhood among women blind to race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality and citizenship status. The chapters in this collection modify the "wave" metaphor in some cases and in others re-periodize it. By studying individual movements, they collectively address several themes that advance our understandings of the history of feminism, such as the rejection of "hegemonic" feminism by marginalized feminist groups, transnational linkages among women's organizations, transnational flows of ideas and transnational migration. By analyzing practical activism, the chapters in this volume produce new ways of theorizing feminism and new historical perspectives about the activist locations from which feminist politics emerged.
Including histories of feminisms in the United States, Canada, South Africa, India, France, Russia, Japan, Korea, Poland and Chile, Women's Activism and "Second Wave" Feminism provides a truly global re-appraisal of women's movements in the late 20th century.
In 1948, the Constitution of the World Health Organization declared, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Yet this idea was not predominant in the United States immediately after World War II, especially when it came to women’s reproductive health. Both legal and medical institutions—and the male legislators and physicians who populated those institutions—reinforced women’s second class social status and restricted their ability to make their own choices about reproductive health care. In More Than Medicine, Jennifer Nelson reveals how feminists of the ‘60s and ‘70s applied the lessons of the new left and civil rights movements to generate a women’s health movement. The new movement shifted from the struggle to revolutionize health care to the focus of ending sex discrimination and gender stereotypes perpetuated in mainstream medical contexts. Moving from the campaign for legal abortion to the creation of community clinics and feminist health centers, Nelson illustrates how these activists revolutionized health care by associating it with the changing social landscape in which women had power to control their own life choices. More Than Medicine poignantly reveals how social justice activists in the United States gradually transformed the meaning of health care, pairing traditional notions of medicine with less conventional ideas of “healthy” social and political environments.