Lillian FadermanApr 26, 2022
The American History of an Idea
Yale University Press 2022
Lillian Faderman is professor emerita at California State University, Fresno. An award-winning author Dr Faderman, widely known as the mother of lesbian history, has authored many books on women, gender and sexuality. In her new release entitled Woman: The American History of an Idea (Yale University Press, 2022). Faderman examines what it means to be a “woman” in America? She traces the evolution of the meaning from Puritan ideas of God’s plan for women to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and its reversals to the impact of such recent events as #metoo, the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, and the transgender movement. This long 400-year history chronicles conflicts, retreats, defeats, and hard-won victories in both the private and the public sectors and shines a light on the often-overlooked battles of enslaved women and women leaders in tribal nations. Noting that every attempt to cement a particular definition of “woman” has met resistance, Faderman shows that successful challenges to the status quo are often short-lived. The idea of womanhood in America continues to be contested.
Lilian Calles Barger 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 writing project is on the intellectual history of women and the origins of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir.