New Books Network

Lisa Levenstein

They Didn’t See Us Coming

The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties

Basic Books 2020

New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World Affairs August 19, 2020 Lilian Calles Barger

Lisa Levenstein is the Director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and an associate professor of history at the University of North...

Lisa Levenstein is the Director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her current book They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties (Basic Books, 2020) shows how American feminists joined a global women’s movement for women’s rights as human rights.

At home feminists engaged such issues as race, economics, labor and the environment as important concerns that went beyond the interest of white middle class women. Feminists activists deployed new communication technologies, built networks around the world and found significant sources and methods for fund raising. Feminist activism became increasingly professionalized. A key event was the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China that ultimately led to the Women’s March on Washington in 2016. During the 1990s the movement became more diverse, intersectional, globally interconnected and professionalized.


Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her most recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology, (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her current research project is on the cultural and intellectual history of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir.