Giving Up Baby
“Baby safe haven” laws, which allow a parent to relinquish a newborn baby legally and anonymously at a specified institutional location—such as a hospital or fire station—were established in every state between 1999 and 2009. Yet while these laws are well meaning, they ignore the real problem: some women lack key social and economic supports that mothers need to raise children. Laury Oaks argues that the labeling of certain kinds of women as potential “bad” mothers who should consider anonymously giving up their newborns for adoption into a “loving” home should best be understood as an issue of reproductive justice. Safe haven discourses promote narrow images of who deserves to be a mother and reflect restrictive views on how we should treat women experiencing unwanted pregnancy.
Grandmothers at Work
Winner of the 2014 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award presented by the Gerontological Society of America
Young working mothers are not the only ones who are struggling to balance family life and careers. Many middle-aged American women face this dilemma as they provide routine childcare for their grandchildren while pursuing careers and trying to make ends meet. Employment among middle-aged women is at an all-time high. Madonna Harrington Meyer’s Grandmothers at Work, based primarily on 48 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009-2012 with grandmothers who juggle working and minding their grandchildren, explores the strategies of, and impacts on, working grandmothers.
The Jews of Harlem
The complete story of Jewish Harlem and its significance in American Jewish history
New York Times columnist David W. Dunlap wrote a decade ago that “on the map of the Jewish Diaspora, Harlem Is Atlantis. . . . A vibrant hub of industry, artistry and wealth is all but forgotten. It is as if Jewish Harlem sank 70 years ago beneath waves of memory beyond recall.” During World War I, Harlem was the home of the second largest Jewish community in America. But in the 1920s Jewish residents began to scatter to other parts of Manhattan, to the outer boroughs, and to other cities. Now nearly a century later, Jews are returning uptown to a gentrified Harlem. The Jews of Harlem follows Jews into, out of, and back into this renowned metropolitan neighborhood over the course of a century and a half.
The surprising history of the Gowanus Canal and its role in the building of Brooklyn
For more than 150 years, Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal has been called a cesspool, an industrial dumping ground, and a blemish on the face of the populous borough—as well as one of the most important waterways in the history of New York harbor. Yet its true origins, man-made character, and importance to the city have been largely forgotten.
Now, New York writer and guide Joseph Alexiou explores how the Gowanus creek—a naturally-occurring tidal estuary that served as a conduit for transport and industry during the colonial era—came to play an outsized role in the story of America’s greatest city.
Selling the Sights
A fascinating journey through the origins of American tourism
In the early nineteenth century, thanks to a booming transportation industry, Americans began to journey away from home simply for the sake of traveling, giving rise to a new cultural phenomenon —the tourist.
In Selling the Sights, Will B. Mackintosh describes the origins and cultural significance of this new type of traveler and the moment in time when the emerging American market economy began to reshape the availability of geographical knowledge, the material conditions of travel, and the variety of destinations that sought to profit from visitors with money to spend. Mackintosh ultimately demonstrates that the cultural values and market forces surrounding tourism in the early nineteenth century continue to shape our experience of travel to this day.
Fake Geek Girls
Reveals the systematic marginalization of women within pop culture fan communities
Over the past decade, fan and geek culture has moved from the margins to the mainstream as fans have become tastemakers and promotional partners, with fan art transformed into official merchandise and fan fiction launching new franchises. But this shift has left some people behind. Suzanne Scott points to the ways in which the “men’s rights” movement and antifeminist pushback against “social justice warriors” connect to new mainstream fandom, where female casting in geek-nostalgia reboots is vilified and historically feminized forms of fan engagement—like cosplay and fan fiction—are treated as less worthy than male-dominant expressions of fandom like collection, possession, and cataloguing. While this gender bias harkens back to the origins of fandom itself, Fake Geek Girls contends that the current view of women in fandom as either inauthentic masqueraders or unwelcome interlopers has been tacitly endorsed by Hollywood franchises and the viewer demographics they selectively champion. It offers a view into the inner workings of how digital fan culture converges with old media and its biases in new and novel ways.
The Moral Project of Childhood
Examines the Protestant origins of motherhood and the child consumer
Throughout history, the responsibility for children’s moral well-being has fallen into the laps of mothers. In The Moral Project of Childhood, the noted childhood studies scholar Daniel Thomas Cook illustrates how mothers in the nineteenth-century United States meticulously managed their children’s needs and wants, pleasures and pains, through the material world so as to produce the “child” as a moral project.
Enchanted New York
A fantastical field guide to the hidden history of New York’s magical past
Manhattan has a pervasive quality of glamour—a heightened sense of personality generated by a place whose cinematic, literary, and commercial celebrity lends an aura of the fantastic to even its most commonplace locales. Enchanted New York chronicles an alternate history of this magical isle. It offers a tour along Broadway, focusing on times and places that illuminate a forgotten and sometimes hidden history of New York through site-specific stories of wizards, illuminati, fortune tellers, magicians, and more. As we follow Kevin Dann in geographical and chronological progression up Broadway from Battery Park to Inwood, each chapter provides a surprising picture of a city whose ever-changing fortunes have always been founded on magical activity.
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