Tamar Carroll

Mobilizing New York

AIDS, Antipoverty and Feminist Activism

University of North Carolina Press 2015

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network February 14, 2017 Isabell Moore

Tamar Carroll is an Assistant Professor of History at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Program Director for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. Her...

Tamar Carroll is an Assistant Professor of History at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Program Director for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. Her book, Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty and Feminist Activism (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), focuses on three intertwined case studies of grassroots activism in New York from the 1950s through 1990s. She begins by examining low-income women’s anti-poverty activism in the 1950s and 1960s, then turns to neighborhood-based working-class feminist organizing in the 1970s, and concludes by exploring AIDS and women’s health activism in the 1980s and 1990s.

By examining organizational records, newspaper articles, oral histories, films and photos, Carroll reconstructs how ordinary people created change through coalitions that crossed lines of gender, race and class. Her work profiles previously understudied organizations including Mobilization for Youth, the National Congress of Neighborhood Women, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and the Women’s Health Action and Mobilization (WHAM!). Carroll challenges previous historians who “view political movements based on difference–a core value of identity politics — as a hindrance to social movements seeking to expand social justice,” by showing the methods groups used to build coalitions that could address differences of experience and ultimately had more of an impact as a result (x). Carroll recently curated a complimentary exhibit called “Whose Streets? Our Streets!: New York City, 1980-2000” about activism in New York from 1980-2000, currently on display at the Bronx Documentary Center and digitally. Listeners will find her examination of activism during decades of conservative political power particularly relevant to current events.


Isabell Moore is a PhD Student in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on social movements in the 20th century and she is involved in activism for racial, gender, economic and queer justice.

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