Women’s History Month: Books for Your TBR Pile

In honor of Women’s History Month, we feature a number of recent and forthcoming titles that highlight the contributions of women to history and contemporary society.

The University of Washington Press is proud to be the publisher of a growing number of women’s studies titles that explore and celebrate women’s past struggles and present achievements, including new titles in our Decolonizing Feminisms and Global South Asia series.


Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge
By Margaret Willson
(July 2016)
Naomi B. Pascal Editor’s Endowment

Willson offers a glimpse into the lives of vibrant women who have braved the sea for centuries. Their accounts include the excitement, accidents, trials, and tribulations of fishing in Iceland from the historic times of small open rowboats to today’s high-tech fisheries. Based on extensive historical and field research, Seawomen of Iceland allows the seawomen’s voices to speak directly with strength, intelligence, and—above all—a knowledge of how to survive. This engaging ethnographic narrative will intrigue both general and academic readers interested in maritime culture, the anthropology of work, Nordic life, and gender studies.

Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism inside the United Nations
By Sylvanna M. Falcón
(April 2016)
Decolonizing Feminisms

In Power Interrupted, Falcón redirects the conversation about UN-based feminist activism toward UN forums on racism. Her analysis of UN antiracism spaces, in particular the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, considers how a race and gender intersectionality approach broadened opportunities for feminist organizing at the global level. Using a combination of interviews, participant observation, and extensive archival data, Falcón situates contemporary antiracist feminist organizing from the Americas—specifically the activism of feminists of color from the United States and Canada, and feminists from Mexico and Peru—alongside a critical historical reading of the UN and its agenda against racism.

Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887-1920
By Kazuhiro Oharazeki
(May 2016)
Emil and Kathleen Sick Series in Western History and Biography

Combining very personal accounts with never before examined Japanese sources, this compelling study of a previously overlooked vice industry explores the larger structural forces that led to the growth of prostitution in Japan, the Pacific region, and the North American West at the turn of the twentieth century.  Despite their difficult circumstances, Oharazeki finds, some women were able to parlay their experience into better jobs and lives in America. Though that wasn’t always the case, their mere presence here nonetheless paved the way for other Japanese women to come to America and enter the workforce in more socially acceptable ways.

The Gender of Caste: Representing Dalits in Print
By Charu Gupta
(April 2016)
Global South Asia

In this study of the representations of Dalits in the print culture of colonial north India, Gupta enters new territory by looking at images of Dalit women as both victims and vamps, the construction of Dalit masculinities, religious conversion as an alternative to entrapment in the Hindu caste system, and the plight of indentured labor. The Gender of Caste uses print as a critical tool to examine the depictions of Dalits by colonizers, nationalists, reformers, and Dalits themselves and shows how differentials of gender were critical in structuring patterns of domination and subordination.

Heroines of the Qing: Exemplary Women Tell Their Stories
By Binbin Yang
(April 2016)
Modern Language Initiative Books

Traditionally, “exemplary women” (lienu)—heroic martyrs, chaste widows, and faithful maidens, for example—were written into official dynastic histories for their unrelenting adherence to female virtue by Confucian family standards. However, despite the rich writing traditions about these women, their lives were often distorted by moral and cultural agendas. Yang closely examines the rhetorical strategies these “exemplary women” exploited for self-representation in various writing genres and highlights their skillful negotiation with, and appropriation of, the values of female exemplarity for self-empowerment.


My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power
By Lu Hsiu-lien and Ashley Esarey
Foreword by Jerome A. Cohen

“An engrossing story of a life devoted to Taiwan. . . . A remarkable journey.”—Enru Lin, Taipei Times

“A welcome reminder of what is possible when political leaders. . . set aside their own interests and follow the will of the people they claim to serve. . . . Lu’s engaging voice and extraordinary candor make [this] a surprising and inspiring read.”—Shelley Rigger, Foreign Affairs