March 15, 2023

Women's History Month Reading Recommendations

Author: Rachel Lawyer |

March is Women’s History Month! Celebrate by checking out these books available through USU Libraries. Although this is an American observance, these books span geographical and cultural borders and are centered on women’s voices. All book descriptions are from publishers. 

The selected works of Audre Lord book jacket

The Selected Works of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde; edited with an introduction by Roxane Gay

A definitive selection of prose and poetry from the self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," for a new generation of readers. Audre Lorde is an unforgettable voice in twentieth-century literature, one of the first to center the experiences of black, queer women.

Print copy available through the Merrill-Cazier Library

When women were birds book jacket

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

"I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won't look at them until after I'm gone." This is what Terry Tempest Williams's mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, told her a week before she died. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as it was to discover that the three shelves of journals were all blank. In fifty-four short chapters, Williams recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own faith, and contemplates the notion of absence and presence art and in our world. 
When Women Were Birds is a carefully crafted kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question: What does it mean to have a voice? 

Print copy available through USU Eastern

Our women on the ground book jacket

Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World edited by Zahra Hankir; foreword by Christiane Amanpour 

19 Arab women journalists speak out about what it's like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection, with a foreword by CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. International media coverage of the Arab world and its many complex, interconnected conflicts is dominated by the work of Western correspondents, many of whom are white and male--meaning we see only one side of the story. But a growing number of intrepid Arab women, whose access to and understanding of their subjects are vastly different than their Western counterparts, are working tirelessly to shape more nuanced narratives about their homelands through their work as reporters and photojournalists. Their voices have rarely been heard on the international stage--until now. In Our Women on the Ground, nineteen of these women tell us, in their own words, about what it's like to report on conflicts that are (quite literally) close to home. 

E-Book available
Print copy available through the Merrill-Cazier Library

remaking black power book jacket

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer  

In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women's political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. 

Print copy available through the Merrill-Cazier Library

indigenous women, work and history book jacket

Indigenous Women, Work, and History, 1940-1980 by Mary Jane Logan McCallum

When dealing with Indigenous women’s history we are conditioned to think about women as private-sphere figures, circumscribed by the home, the reserve, and the community. Moreover, in many ways Indigenous men and women have been cast in static, pre-modern, and one-dimensional identities, and their twentieth century experiences reduced to a singular story of decline and loss. In Indigenous Women, Work, and History, historian Mary Jane Logan McCallum rejects both of these long-standing conventions by presenting case studies of Indigenous domestic servants, hairdressers, community health representatives, and nurses working in “modern Native ways” between 1940 and 1980. 

E-Book available
Print copy available through the Merrill-Cazier Library

Utah women book jacket

Utah Women: Pioneers, Poets & Politicians by Emily Brooksby Wheeler* 

Representing lawmakers and lawbreakers, artists and adventurers or scholars and activists, the women of Utah defied stereotypes. At the crossroads of the West, they found new challenges and opportunities to forge their own paths. Emma Dean explored the Rocky Mountains with her famous spouse, John Wesley Powell. Martha Hughes Cannon defeated her husband to become the first female state senator. Maud Fitch drove an ambulance under German artillery fire to rescue downed pilots in World War I. Author Emily Brooksby Wheeler celebrates the remarkable Utah women who, whether racing into danger or nurturing those who fell behind, changed their world and ours. 

*USU Faculty Author

Print copy available through the Merrill Cazier-Library 

reshaping women's history book jacket

Reshaping Women's History: Voices of Nontraditional Women Historians Edited by Julie A. Gallagher and Barbara Winslow; afterword by Nupur Chaudhuri 

Reshaping Women's History presents autobiographical essays by eighteen accomplished scholar-activists who persevered through poverty or abuse, medical malpractice or family disownment, civil war or genocide. As they illuminate their own unique circumstances, the authors also address issues all too familiar to women in the academy: financial instability, the need for mentors, explaining gaps in resumes, and coping with gendered family demands, biases, and expectations.

E-Book available

jewish women's history book jacket

Jewish Women's History from Antiquity to the Present edited by Federica Francesconi and Rebecca Lynn Winer 

Jewish Women’s History from Antiquity to the Present is broad in geographical scope exploring Jewish women’s lives in what is now Eastern and Western Europe, Britain, Israel, Turkey, North Africa, and North America. Editors Federica Francesconi and Rebecca Lynn Winer focus the volume on reconstructing the experiences of ordinary women and situating those of the extraordinary and famous within the gender systems of their times and places. 

E-Book available
Print copy available through the Merrill-Cazier Library