Feminist Anthropology: A Reader / Edition 1

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Feminist Anthropology surveys the history of feminist anthropology and offers students and scholars a fascinating collection of both classic and contemporary articles, grouped to highlight key themes from the past and present.

  • Offers vibrant examples of feminist ethnographic work rather than synthetic overviews of the field.
  • Each section is framed by a theoretical and bibliographic essay.
  • Includes a thoughtful introduction to the volume that provides context and discusses the intellectual “foremothers” of the field, including Margaret Mead, Ruth Landes, Phyllis Kaberry, and Zora Neale Hurston.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Feminist Anthropology says it all: from the early debates on universal oppression of women, to the continued rethinking of resistance and political creativity, this wonderful collection highlights the important work that feminist anthropologists have done, and beckons others to continue this important work.” Rayna Rapp, New York University

“Ellen Lewin contributes outstanding commentaries and analyses that introduce and connect some of the most valuable and timeless work in feminist anthropology. This book is an extraordinary resource for teaching in anthropology and across the disciplines.” A. Lynn Bolles, University of Maryland, and past President of the Association for Feminist Anthropology

“This well-selected anthology is a treasure trove, guiding readers through more than three decades of feminist anthropology—from the pioneers to the next generation of cutting-edge scholars in the field.” Florence E. Babb, University of Florida

“A unique and useful compilation… Highly recommended”

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ellen Lewin is Professor of Women’s Studies and Anthropology, The University of Iowa.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Ellen Lewin..

Part I. Discovering Women across Cultures.


1. Belief and the Problem of Women and The "Problem" Revisited (Edwin Ardener).

2. A Note on the Division of Labor by Sex (Judith K. Brown).

3. Is Woman to Man as Nature is to Culture? (Sherry Ortner).

4. The Traffic in Women: Notes on the "Political Economy" of Sex (Gayle Rubin).

5. The Use and Abuse of Anthropology: Reflections on Feminism and Cross-Cultural Understanding (Michelle Z. Rosaldo).

6. Toward a Unified Theory of Class, Race, and Gender (Karen Brodkin).

Part II. Questioning Positionality.


7. Writing against Culture (Lila Abu-Lughod).

8. My Best Informant’s Dress: The Erotic Equation in Fieldwork (Esther Newton).

9. Feminist Insider Dilemmas: Construction Ethnic Identity with Chicana Informants (Patricia Zavella).

10. Contingent Stories of Anthropology, Race, and Feminism (Paulla Ebron).

Part III. Interpreting Instability and Fluidity.


11. Bringing the Family to Work: Women’s Culture on the Shop Floor (Louise Lamphere).

12. Procreation Stories: Reproduction, Nurturance, and Procreation in Life Narratives of Abortion Activists (Faye Ginsburg).

13. Ethnically Correct Dolls: Toying with the Race Industry (Elizabeth Chin).

14. Strategic Naturalizing: Kinship in an Infertility Clinic (Charis Thompson).

Part IV. Maintaining Commitments.


15. Dirty Protest: Symbolic Overdetermination and Gender in Northern Ireland (Begoña Aretxaga).

16. Women’s Rights are Human Rights: The Merging of Feminine and Feminist: Interests among El Salvador’s Mothers of the Disappeared (CO-MADRES) (Lynn Stephen).

17. Searching for "Voices: Feminism, Anthropology, and the Global Debates over Female Genital Operations (Christine J. Walley).

18. Imagining the Unborn in the Ecuadoran Andes (Lynn M. Morgan).

Part V. Interpreting Instability and Fluidity.


19. "Like a Mother to Them": Stratified Reproduction and West Indian Childcare Workers and Employers in New York (Shellee Colen).

20. Femininity and Flexible Labor: Fashioning Class through Gender on the Global Assembly Line (Carla Freeman).

21. Tombois in West Sumatra: Constructing Masculinity and Erotic Desire (Evelyn Blackwood).

22 "What’s Identity Got to Do with It?" Rethinking Identity in Light of the Mati Work (Gloria Wekker).


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