Women’s History Month 2022: A Reading List

Though Women’s History Month may be coming to an end, we’ve compiled a list of some of our Women & Gender Studies titles and recent books by female authors, scholars, and translators, so you can keep learning about women’s history and celebrate the cultural, political, and intellectual achievements of women all year long.

Women’s Studies Titles from ASP 

From monographs to edited collections to memoirs, please find a list of titles below that specifically discuss and center the experiences and voices of women in history, religion, and culture. 


If This Is a Woman: Studies on Women and Gender in the Holocaust edited by Denisa Nešťáková, Katja Grosse-Sommer, Borbála Klacsmann, and Jakub Drábik

The present volume contains thirteen articles based on work presented at the “XX. Century Conference: If This Is A Woman” at Comenius University Bratislava in January 2019. The conference was organized against anti-gender narratives and related attacks on academic freedom and women’s rights currently all too prevalent in East-Central Europe. The papers presented at the conference and in this volume focus, to a significant extent, on this region. They touch upon numerous points concerning gendered experiences of World War II and the Holocaust. By purposely emphasizing the female experience in the title, we encourage to fill the lacunae that still, four decades after the enrichment of Holocaust studies with a gendered lens, exist when it comes to female experiences.

She Animates: Soviet Female Subjectivity in Russian Animation by Michele Leigh & Lora Mjolsness

She Animates examines the work of twelve female animation directors in the Soviet Union and Russia, who have long been overlooked by film scholars and historians. The authors approach examines these directors within history, culture, and industrial practice in animation. In addition to making a case for including these women and their work in the annals of film and animation history, this volume also makes an argument for why their work should be considered part of the tradition of women’s cinema. Leigh and Mjolsness offer textual analysis that focuses on the changing attitudes towards both the woman question and feminism by examining the films in light of the emergence and evolution of a Soviet female subjectivity that still informs women’s cinema in Russia today.

Daughter of the Shtetl: The Memoirs of Doba-Mera Medvedeva by Doba-Mera Medvedeva, translated by Alice Nakhimovsky, and edited and introduced by Michael Beizer and Alice Nakhimovsky

Doba-Mera Medvedeva belongs to a vanishingly small group of memoirists who are neither elite nor highly literate, but whose observations from the ground cast a vivid light on a lost world. The book reveals the quarrelsome underside of shtetl life at a time of scarce resources, and describes how Doba-Mera survives two pogroms and two world wars. Around 1905, barely a teenager but already earning a living, she joins Marxist circles and takes part in clandestine activities. Through her eyes we experience the class divisions in shtetl and synagogue, as well as aspects of everyday life such as education, courtship and marriage, housing, food, illness, and the organization of the working life and working conditions in sewing shops.


Opinionated: The World View of a Jewish Woman by Sara Reguer

A collection of essays which reflects the author’s skills and her ability to communicate and educate on a variety of levels. Her writing is informative and inspiring, passionate and poignant and ranges from the comic to the tragic, all frequently peppered with personal insights and anecdotes. Critical family issues such as childlessness and matriarch are sensitively covered alongside issues of death and burial. Sometimes there are vignettes such as her account of the funeral conducted by her youthful father for a bird he accidentally killed. In sum, this collection provides a sweeping overview of Jewish life and culture as viewed through the eyes of an academic who is also a woman, equally at home in the real world and the ivory tower.

Complicating the Female Subject: Gender, National Myths, and Genre in Polish Women’s Inter-War Drama by Joanna Kot

Seven inter-war plays by Polish women writers created a flurry of excitement and condemnation when they appeared, yet today they are almost forgotten. This groundbreaking study interrogates the feminism of these plays and their authors, who dared to question national myths, subvert genre expectations, and reinterpret definitions of subjectivity, anticipating the work of numerous women playwrights in post-1989 Poland. Synthesizing a variety of theoretical perspectives, the author produces a nuanced reading of each work and of the group as a whole. Both texts and the innovative synthetic approach will interest scholars of Polish literature, of drama, and of gender studies.

Writing Palestine 1933-1950 by Dorothy Kahn Bar-Adon and edited by Esther Carmel-Hakim & Nancy Rosenfeld

From her immigration to Mandatory Palestine in 1933 until her death in 1950 American-born Dorothy Kahn Bar-Adon worked as a reporter for The Palestine Post (later The Jerusalem Post), while freelancing for periodicals in Palestine and abroad. Bar-Adon covered life in towns, kibbutzim and Arab communities of Mandatory Palestine during this period of World War, armed conflict between Arabs and Jews, immigration to Israel of Holocaust survivors. Close to 60 years after her death, this edited collection of Bar-Adon’s writing offers a vivid view both of daily life in the Jewish and Arab communities of pre-State Israel, and of the burning issues of the day.


The Witching Hour and Other Plays by Nina Sadur & edited by Nadya L. Peterson

Nina Sadur, the playwright, occupies a prominent place in the Soviet/Russian drama pantheon of the 1980s and 1990s, a group that has with few exceptions been generally ignored by the Western literary establishment. The plays included in this volume offer some of Sadur’s most influential works for the theater to the English-speaking audience for the first time. The collection will appeal to readers interested in Russian literature and culture, Russian theater, as well as women’s literature. Sadur’s plays are inspired by symbolist drama, the theater of the absurd and Russian folklore, yet are also infused with contemporary reality and populated by contemporary characters. Her work is overtly gynocentric: the fictional world construes women’s traditionally downplayed concerns as narratively and existentially central and crucial. Sadur’s drama has exerted a tremendous influence on contemporary Russian literature. Working essentially in isolation, Sadur was able to combine the early twentieth century dramatic discourse with that of the late Soviet era. Having built a bridge between the two eras, Sadur prepared the rise of the new Russian drama of the 2000s.

Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South: Southern Jewish Women and Identity in the Antebellum and Civil War South by Jennifer A. Stollman

Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South: Southern Jewish Women and Identity in the Antebellum and Civil War South examines southern Jewish womanhood during the Antebellum and Civil War Eras. This study finds that in the Protestant South southern Jewish women created and maintained unique American Jewish identities through their efforts in education, writing, religious observance, paid and unpaid labor, and relationships with whites and African-American slaves This book examines how these women creatively fought proselytization, challenged anti-Semitism, maintained a distinctive southern Judaism, promoted their own status and legitimacy as southerners, and worked diligently as Confederate ambassadors.

Her Glory All Within: Rejecting and Transforming Orthodoxy in Israeli and American Jewish Women’s Fiction by Barbara Landress

Representation of the religious sector is a new phenomenon in modern Israeli literature, emerging from a diversification of Israeli culture that began in the 1970’s. In this volume Landress explores the intricacies of fiction stories about Orthodox women in contemporary contexts, offering subtle interpretations of the conflicts in Orthodox women’s lives as they weave their way through daughterhood, motherhood, politics, and personal dilemmas, negotiating between tradition and modernity. This body of Israeli women’s writing is considered in comparative perspective with contemporary American Jewish women’s writing that engages Orthodoxy, and draws on sociology, anthropology, and feminist theory.


From Fashion to Politics: Hadassah and Jewish American Women in the Post World War II Era by Shirli Brautbar

Hadassah: the Women’s Zionist organization of America, has wielded power in the halls of American political institutions and in the minds of many Jews in the United States. This book enriches our understanding of both modern Jewish history and American women’s history. Hadassah is important not only for what it tells us about women but also for what it reveals about Jewish history and politics, about Zionism, and about America. In the post-World War II era, Hadassah played a significant role in shaping Jewish women’s political action and identity. Widely known for its work in Israel, Hadassah played a central role in shaping the way generations of American Jewish women thought about themselves and about their involvement on the American political scene.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Changing Women, Changing Society by Dahlia Moore

In Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, Dahlia Moore explores the social and cultural forces at play in Israeli society and their effects on the changing status of women. While delving into some of Israel’s unique and influential forces, such as the army, religious sects, and recent immigration, Moore also broadens her perspective, juxtaposing the status of Israeli women with that of women in other Western societies.


Recent Works by Female Authors, Scholars, Translators

To highlight and celebrate the intellectual, literary, and other scholarly achievements of our female-identifying contributors in the past year, we’ve compiled a list of some of our female authors, scholars, editors, and translators and their recent books.

Deborah A. Martinsen, author: Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”: A Reader’s Guide

Deborah A. Martinsen was Associate Dean of Alumni Education and Adjunct Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, Columbia University. Past president of the International Dostoevsky Society and former executive secretary of the North American Dostoevsky Society, Martinsen is the author of Surprised by Shame: Dostoevsky’s Liars and Narrative Exposure (Ohio, 2003) and co-editor of Dostoevsky in Context (Oxford, 2015).

Julia Titus, author: Dostoevsky as a Translator of Balzac

Educated in Russia and the United States, Julia Titus has been teaching courses in Russian language, literature, and theater at the department of Slavic languages and Literatures at Yale University for more than twenty years. Her research interests include Russian and French literature of the nineteenth century, translation theory, and heritage language studies. She is the editor of an annotated reader The Meek One (Yale University Press, 2012), and Poetry Reader for Russian Learners (Yale University Press, 2015).

Yelena Lembersky, author: Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour

Yelena Lembersky is an American émigré author of Russian Jewish descent. She grew up in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and emigrated to the United States in 1987. Her maternal grandparents came from Ukraine. Her grandfather, Felix Lembersky (1913-1970), was a prominent Soviet artist, educated in Kiev and Leningrad, and best known for his Babi Yar paintings and expressionist work of the 1960s. Yelena studied art and architecture at the University of Michigan and MIT. She has published two books and several pieces at Cardinal Points Literary Journal. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Sofya Khagi, editor: Companion to Victor Pelevin

Sofya Khagi is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She focuses on contemporary Russian literature, modern Russian poetry, the intersections of literature and philosophy, and Baltic cultures. She is the author of Silence and the Rest: Verbal Skepticism in Russian Poetry (Northwestern UP, 2013) and Pelevin and Unfreedom: Poetics, Politics, Metaphysics (Northwestern UP, 2021).


Romina Yalonetzky, author: Gente como Uno

Romina Yalonetzky has a Ph.D in Sociology from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a Master’s degree in Humanities from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the author of articles and book chapters on Jewish Lima. She currently teaches at Universidad del Pacifico, in Lima.

Jill Martiniuk, author: Wandering in Circles

Jill Martiniuk is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Engineering Education at the University of Buffalo. In addition to her research on redemption in Russian literature, she has published on adaptation of Russian texts in contemporary Western literature.

Susanne Strätling, author: The Hand at Work

Susanne Strätling teaches comparative literature with a special focus on East European literatures at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research spans from Baroque aesthetics to contemporary media with a special focus on the poetics of the Russian avant-garde.

Ingrid Kleespies, editor: Goncharov in the Twenty-First Century

Ingrid Kleespies is Associate Professor of Russian Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Florida. She is the author of A Nation Astray: Nomadism and National Identity in Russian Literature (2012) and of articles on eighteenth and nineteenth-century Russian literature and culture, with a special focus on Russian Romanticism, travel literature, and symbolic spaces.


Lyudmila Parts, editor: Goncharov in the Twenty-First Century

Lyudmila Parts is Professor of Russian at McGill University (Montreal). She is the author of In Search of the True Russia. The Provinces in Contemporary Nationalist Discourse (2018); The Chekhovian Intertext: Dialogue with a Classic (2008); and the editor of The Russian 20th Century Short Story: A Critical Companion (2009). She has published articles on Karamzin, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, contemporary authors, symbolic geography, and Russian travelogue.

Annette Aronowicz, author: Self-Portrait, with Parents and Footnotes

Annette Aronowicz was Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College. Her work explores Jewish and Christian responses to modern catastrophes. Publications include Nine Talmudic Readings by Emmanuel Levinas; On Jews and Christians on Time and Eternity: Charles Péguy’s Portrait of Bernard-Lazare, and articles on Yiddish playwright Haim Sloves.

Susan Layton, author: Contested Russian Tourism

Susan Layton is a research associate at the Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (CERCEC) in Paris. She is the author of Russian Literature and Empire. Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy (1994, ebook 2011) and numerous articles on nineteenth-century Russian literature.

Yvonne Howell, translator: Moments of Happiness

Yvonne Howell teaches Russian language and literature at the University of Richmond. She particularly values decades-long friendships with Russian ornithologists and biologists, among whom she cultivated an interest in the things she writes about: Soviet science fiction, sociobiology, yoga, and happiness.


Bronislava Volková, author: Forms of Exile in Jewish Literature and Thought

Bronislava Volková is a bilingual poet, semiotician, translator, collagist, essayist and Professor Emerita of Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, where she was a Director of the Czech Program at the Slavic Department for thirty years. She went into exile in 1974, taught at the Universities of Cologne and Marburg and subsequently at Harvard University and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She has published eleven books of existential and metaphysical poetry in Czech and seven bilingual editions illustrated with her own collages. She is also the author of two books on linguistic and literary semiotics, as well as the leading co-author of a large anthology of Czech poetry translations, Up The Devil’s Back: A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Czech Poetry (with Clarice Cloutier, Slavica Publishers, 2008). Her scholarly publications include topics of Czech poetry, Czech popular culture, issues of exile, gender, implied author values and emotive signs. Her poetry has been translated into twelve languages and her selected poems appeared in book form in six of them. She has also received a number of literary and cultural awards.

Diana Lobel, author: Moses and Abraham Maimonides: Encountering the Divine

Diana Lobel is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University. She is the author of Between Mysticism and Philosophy: Sufi Language of Religious Experience in Judah Halevi’s Kuzari (2000), A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue: Philosophy and Mysticism in Baḥya Ibn Paqūda’s Duties of the Heart (2007), The Quest for God and the Good (2011), and Philosophies of Happiness (2017).

Hélène Jawhara Piñer, author: Sephardi: Cooking the History

Hélène Jawhara Piñer holds a doctoral degree in Medieval History and the History of Food. In 2018, she was awarded the Broome & Allen Fellowship of the American Sephardi Federation (asf), dedicated to recognizing outstanding academic accomplishments and services to the Sephardic community, as well as encouraging continued excellence in the field of Sephardi studies. As a research associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance(CESR) and of the Cooking of Recipes of the Middle Ages (CoReMa) research program in Tours, Dr. Jawhara-Piñer’s main research interest is the medieval culinary history of Spain through inter- and multiculturalism, with a special focus on the Jewish culinary heritage in Arabic. 

Ksana Blank, author: “The Nose”: A Stylistic and Critical Companion to Nikolai Gogol’s Story

Ksana Blank is a senior lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University. She is the author of Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin (2010) and Spaces of Creativity: Essays on Russian Literature and the Arts (2016).


Miriam Frenkel, editor: The Jews in Medieval Egypt

Miriam Frenkel is Professor of Medieval Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the Menahem Ben-Sasson Chair in Judaism & Islam Through the Ages and head of the School of History.

Cynthia L. Haven, author: The Man Who Brought Brodsky into English

Cynthia L. Haven is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar and author of 2018’s Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard, the first-ever biography of the French theorist. She has been a Milena Jesenská Journalism Fellow with the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna, as well as a visiting writer and scholar at Stanford’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and a Voegelin Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Her Joseph Brodsky: Conversations was published in 2003. Her“Spirit of the Place”: Czesław Miłosz in California is forthcoming. She has written for The Times Literary Supplement, and has also contributed to The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Wall Street Journal, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and others. Her work has appeared in Russia’s Zvezda and Colta.

Barbara Krawcowicz, author: History, Metahistory, and Evil: Jewish Theological Responses to the Holocaust

Barbara Krawcowicz is Assistant Professor in the Institute for the Study of Religion at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.

Henrietta Mondry, author: Embodied Differences: The Jew’s Body and Materiality in Russian Literature and Culture

Henrietta Mondry is Professor in the Department of Global, Cultural and Language Studies at the University of Canterbury. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and has published widely on cultural history and literature. Her books include Populist Writers and the Jews and Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture.

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