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Recommended Reading October 2010

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.



Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response
Lynn Powell
The New Press. Distributed in Australia by Palgrave Macmillan

Framing_innocenceTen years ago, amateur photographer and school bus driver Cynthia Stewart dropped off 11 rolls of film at a drugstore near her home in Ohio. The rolls contained photographs of her eight-year-old daughter Nora, including two of the child in the shower—photos that would cause the county prosecutor to arrest Cynthia, take her away in handcuffs, threaten to remove her daughter from her home, and charge her with crimes that carried the possibility of 16 years in prison.

The disturbing case would ultimately attract national attention—including stories in USA Today and on NPR—and supporters including the famed photographer Sally Mann, Katha Pollitt, and the ACLU.

Framing Innocence brilliantly probes the many questions raised: when does a photograph of a naked child “cross the line” from innocent snapshot to child porn? What makes a photograph dangerous—the situation in which it is shot or the uses to which it might be put? When does the parent, and when does the state, know best?

Written by poet Lynn Powell, a neighbor of Cynthia Stewart’s, this riveting and beautifully told story plumbs the perfect storm of events and people that threatened an ordinary family in a small American town.

Framing Innocence features a determined prosecutor; a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn crusader who is appointed as Cynthia’s daughter’s guardian; the local attorneys for whom the case would become a crucible; and the many neighbors—friends and strangers, Republican and Democrat—who come together to fight for sanity and for justice for Cynthia and her family.


Half the Sky: How to Change the World
Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl Wudunn
Little Brown. Distributed in Australia by Hachette

Half_skyPulitzer Prize-winning reporting team, husband and wife Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, take us on a journey through Africa and Asia to meet an extraordinary array of exceptional women struggling against terrible circumstances.

More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they are girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the 20th century combined.

More girls are killed in this routine 'gendercide' in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.

In the 19th century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th, it was totalitarianism.In the 21st, Kristof and WuDunn demonstrate, it will be the struggle for gender equality in the developing world.


Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis
Chris Williams
Haymarket Books. Distributed in Australia by Palgrave Macmillan

Ecology_socialismAround the world, consciousness of the threat to our environment is growing. The majority of solutions on offer, from using efficient light bulbs to biking to work, focus on individual lifestyle changes, yet the scale of the crisis requires far deeper adjustments.

Ecology and Socialism argues that time still remains to save humanity and the planet, but only by building social movements for environmental justice that can demand qualitative changes in our economy, workplaces, and infrastructure.

Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
Cordelia Fine
Allen and Unwin

Delusions_genderSex discrimination is supposedly a distant memory. Yet popular books, magazines and even scientific articles defend inequalities by citing immutable biological differences between the male and female brain.

Why are there so few women in science and engineering, so few men in the laundry room? Well, they say, it's our brains.

Drawing on the latest research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology, Delusions of Gender rebuts these claims, showing how old myths, dressed up in new scientific finery, help perpetuate the status quo.

Cordelia Fine reveals the mind's remarkable plasticity, shows the substantial influence of culture on identity, and, ultimately, exposes just how much of what we consider 'hardwired' is actually malleable.

This book shows the surprising extent to which boys and girls, men and women are made, not born.

Knowledge Matters: The Structures of Knowledge and the Crisis of the Modern World System
Richard E Lee
University of Queensland Press

Knowledge_mattersHow do we make decisions or decide if actions are legitimate or efficacious? Are there patterns of cognition and intentionality that shape the way we answer such questions and therefore define what struggles we undertake in the world?

In Knowledge Matters world-systems analyst Richard E Lee argues that one of the fundamental components of the modern world over the past five centuries has been the structures of knowledge.

The arrangement divided facts (the 'true') from values (the 'good'), becoming one of the principal features of historical capitalism.

Lee further argues that these structures are now in crisis, signalling a transition to new but as yet undetermined forms of social organisation.

In illustrating the development of the structures of knowledge, and their relation to the material world, Lee includes three 'vignettes': one that considers different methodological approaches to the 'War on Terror'; one that looks at three social movements; and one that considers the contemporary 'culture wars' and 'science wars'.

In its final chapter, Knowledge Matters invokes a historical social science that could constitute a crucial step toward solving today's structural crisis by helping us imagine and evaluate our possible futures.

Feminist Review (94)
Edited by Feminist Review Collective
Palgrave Macmillan

Feminist_ReviewThe first issue of the 2010 volume (Issue 94) brings together new feminist writing that intervenes in a range of current debates and issues.

Contents include:

Shampa Roy: A miserable sham: Flora Annie Steel’s Short Fictions and the Question of Indian Women`s Reform
Jennifer Einspahr: Structural Domination and Structural Freedom: A Feminist Perspective
Elizabeth Silva: Maids, Machines and Morality in Brazilian Homes
Halleh Ghorashi: From Absolute Invisibility to Extreme Visibility Emancipation Trajectory of Migrant Women in the Netherlands
Debali Mookerjea-Leonard: To Be Pure or Not To Be: Gandhi, Women, and the Partition of India
Joan Raphael-Leff: The Gift of Gametes - Unconscious Motivation and Problematics of Transcendency
Cathy McIlwaine, Yara Evans, Joanna Herbert, Jon May, Jane Wills, Kavita Datta: A Migrant Ethic of Care? Negotiating Care and Caring among Migrant Workers in London’s Low Pay Economy
Alexandra Zavos and Helen Kambouri: On the Frontiers of Citizenship: Considering the Case of Konstantina Kuneva and the Intersections between Gender, Migration and Labour in Greece
Gabriela Alberti: Across the Borders of Lesvos: the Gendering of Migrants’ Detention in the Aegean


Books selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.


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