We Were Feminists Once

We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement
by Andi Zeisler

HQ 1421 .Z46 2016

“Feminism has hit the big time. Once a dirty word brushed away with a grimace, “feminist” has been rebranded as a shiny label sported by movie and pop stars, fashion designers, and multi-hyphenate powerhouses like Beyoncé. It drives advertising and marketing campaigns for everything from wireless plans to underwear to perfume, presenting what’s long been a movement for social justice as just another consumer choice in a vast market. Individual self-actualization is the goal, shopping more often than not the means, and celebrities the mouthpieces.

But what does it mean when social change becomes a brand identity? Feminism’s splashy arrival at the center of today’s media and pop-culture marketplace, after all, hasn’t offered solutions to the movement’s unfinished business. Planned Parenthood is under sustained attack, women are still paid 77 percent – or less – of the man’s dollar, and vicious attacks on women, both on-and offline, are utterly routine.

Andi Zeisler, a founding editor of Bitch Media, draws on more than twenty years’ experience interpreting popular culture in this biting history of how feminism has been co-opted, watered down, and turned into a gyratory media trend. Surveying movies, television, advertising, fashion, and more, Zeisler reveals a media landscape brimming with the language of empowerment, but offering little in the way of transformational change. Witty, fearless, and unflinching, We Were Feminists Once is the story of how we let this happen, and how we can amplify feminism’s real purpose and power.”
– publisher description

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Another Day in the Death of America

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
by Gary Younge

HN 90 .V5 Y675 2016

“On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lost lives.

This powerful and moving work puts a human face – a child’s face – on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.”
– publisher description

Anatomy of Love

Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray by Helen Fisher, PhD

HQ 728 .F454 2016

“First published in 1992, Helen Fisher’s “fascinating” (New York TimesAnatomy of Love quickly became a classic. Since then, Fisher has conducted pioneering brain research on lust, romantic love, and attachment; gathered data on more than 80,000 people to explain why you love whom you love; and collected information on more than 30,000 men and women on sexting, hooking up, friends with benefits, and other current trends in courtship and marriage. And she presents a new, scientifically based and optimistic perspective on relationships in our digital age – what she calls “slow love.”

This is a cutting-edge tour de force that traces human family life from its origins in Africa over 20 million years ago to the Internet dating sites and bedrooms of today. And it’s got it all: the copulatory gaze and other natural courting ploys; the who, when, where, and why of adultery; love addictions; her discovery of four broad chemically based personality styles and what each seeks in romance; the newest data on worldwide (biologically based) patterns of divorce; how and why men and women think differently; the real story of women, men, and power; the rise – and fall – of the sexual double standard; and what brain science tells us about how to make and keep a happy partnership.”
– 
publisher description

The Good Death

The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America by Ann Neumann

HQ 1073.5 .U6 N48 2016

“When Ann Neumann’s father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she left her job and moved back to her hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She became his full-time caregiver – cooking, cleaning, and administering medications. When her father died, she was undone by the experience, by grief and the visceral quality of dying. Neumann struggled to put her life back in order and found herself haunted by a question: Was her father’s death a good death?

The way we talk about dying and the way we actually die are two very different things, she discovered, and many of us are shielded from what death actually looks like. To gain a better understanding, Neumann became a hospice volunteer and set out to discover what a good death is today. She attended conferences, academic lectures, and grief sessions in church basements. She went to Montana to talk with the attorney who successfully argued for the legalization of aid in dying, and to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to listen to “pro-life” groups who believe the removal of feeding tubes from some patients is tantamount to murder. Above all, she listened to the stories of those who were close to death.

What Neumann found is that death in contemporary America is much more complicated than we think. Medical technologies and increased life expectancies have changed the very definition of medical death. And although death is our common fate, it is also a divisive issue that we all experience differently. What constitutes a good death is unique to each of us, depending on our age, race, economic status, culture, and beliefs. What’s more, differing concepts of choice, autonomy, and consent make death a contested landscape, governed by social, medical, legal, and religious systems.

In these pages, Neumann brings us intimate portraits of the nurses, patients, bishops, bioethicists, and activists who are shaping the way we die. The Good Death presents a fearless examination of how we approach death, and how those of us close to dying loved ones live in death’s wake.”
– publisher description

One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds

One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds: Spirituality, Identity, and Resistance across Islamic Lands
by Raymond William Baker

BP 161.3 .B344 2015

“By all measures, the late twentieth century was a time of dramatic decline for the Islamic world, the Ummah, particularly its Arab heartland. Sober Muslim voices regularly describe their current state as the worst in the 1,400-year history of Islam. Yet, precisely at this time of unprecedented material vulnerability, Islam has emerged as a civilizational force strong enough to challenge the imposition of Western – particularly American – homogenizing power on Muslim peoples. This is the central paradox of Islam today: At a time of such unprecedented weakness in one sense, how has the Islamic Awakening, a broad and diverse movement of contemporary Islamic renewal, emerged as such a resilient and powerful transnational force, and what implications does it have for the West? In One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds Raymond William Baker addresses this question.

Two things are clear, Baker argues: Islam’s unexpected strength in recent decades does not originate from official political, economic, or religious institutions, nor can it be explained by focusing exclusively on the often criminal assertions of violent, marginal groups. While extremists monopolize the international press and the scholarly journals, those who live and work in the Islamic world know that the vast majority of Muslims reject their reckless calls to violence and look elsewhere for guidance.

Baker shows that extremists draw their energy and support not from contributions to the reinterpretation and revival of Islamic beliefs and practices but from the hatreds engendered by the brutalities of failed Arab regimes and destructive Western policies in Islamic lands. His persuasive analysis of the Islamic world identifies centrists as the revitalizing force of Islam, saying that they are responsible for constructing a modern, cohesive Islamic identity that is a force to be reckoned with.”
– publisher description

$2.00 a Day

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Schaefer

HC 110 .P6 E343 2015

“Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna, in Chicago, have gone for days with nothing to eat other than spoiled milk.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before – households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin, whose deep examination of her subjects’ lives has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones), teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor. The two made a surprising discovery: the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children.

But the fuller story remained to be told. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? What do they do to survive? In search of answers, Edin and Shaefer traveled across the country to speak with families living in this extreme poverty. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. Not just a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.”
– publisher description

Lighting Up

Lighting Up

Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses by Mimi Nichter

HV 5760 .N53 2015

“Over the past 40 years, rates of adult smoking have fallen dramatically, yet young adults continue to smoke substantially more than any other age group. At a time when just about everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, why do so many college students smoke? Will they eventually give up smoking, either as graduation approaches or once they enter the “real world”? Lighting Up investigates such questions about smoking and explores the experiences and perspectives of hundreds of college students.

Mimi Nichter examines how and why many college students engage in social smoking, emphasizing its key role in students’ lives and how different social contexts can either stimulate or inhibit the practice. Nichter examines how smoking can act as a social lubricant, help college students express and explore their identities, or enable them to communicate their emotions. Although most college students claimed their social smoking was “no big deal” because it was only temporary and most smoked at low levels, they often expressed ambivalence or reluctance to quit once graduation approached. Life after college involves many uncertainties, and a difficult job market heightens stress and instability. For those who have come to depend on the comfort of cigarettes during college, this array of life stressors makes cutting back or quitting more difficult, despite their intentions and understanding of the harms of tobacco. Further, emerging products, like e-cigarettes, offer an opportunity to move from smoking to vaping. Lighting Up provides a rare glimpse into the role of social smoking in the lives of college students and considers how uncertain times may lead to uncertain smoking trajectories that reach into adulthood.”
– publisher description