Feminist Conversations: Women, Trauma and Empowerment in Post-Transitional Societies

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9780761843795: Feminist Conversations: Women, Trauma and Empowerment in Post-Transitional Societies
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Feminist Conversations is a forum of cross-cultural communication among women from different parts of the world, as well as from different life paths. It draws on several disciplines, including gender studies, psychology and political science, to gain insight into the following questions: Do post-transitional societies become more women-friendly as they become more democratic? Which strategies of empowerment can women use to obtain political voice and improve their everyday lives? How do they cope with traumatic experiences and memories? Women's rights activists and feminist scholars from Lithuania, Armenia, South Africa, Guatemala and the United States reflect on the productivity of different practices for increasing political standing, the efficiency of different methods of dealing with gender violence and the different empowerment mechanisms of coping with trauma. The authors engage in a dialogue about the applicability of these practices, methods and mechanisms to various countries and cultures.

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About the Author:

Dovile Budryte is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Her research interests include gender studies, nationalism and democratization. She wrote Taming Nationalism? Political Community Building in the Post-Soviet Baltic States (Ashgate, 2005) and numerous articles about minority rights and collective memory in the Baltic states. Lisa M. Vaughn is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. Her primary research interests are socio-cultural issues affecting the health and well-being of families, especially immigrant and minority populations in the United States. With a life-long interest in other cultures, Lisa has worked with universities and communities around the world, including Guatemala, South Africa, Denmark and the Dominican Republic. Natalya T. Riegg is a Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Her fields of specialization include political philosophy, cross-cultural communication and international women's issues. She is the author of dozens of articles and a book, The Social Philosophy of Alvin Toffler (in Russian).

Review:

The oppression of women happens in all parts of the world and takes many forms―from domestic abuse to economic disenfranchisement and the use of violence against women as a weapon of war. But responses to trauma and women's empowerment also take diverse forms, as this important and engaging volume illustrates. Drawing on different countries and speaking from the experiences of women themselves, the contributors explore the diverse ways in which women understand and respond to experiences of trauma and violence. (Mary Brydon-Miller, Ph.D., Director, Action Research Center Associate Professor of Urban Educational Leadership and Educational Foundations University of C)

The focus on dialogue is powerfully sustained throughout this study of the ways in which women are affected by traumatic, societal transitions. The editors have done a marvelous job at performing a close encounter between theory and personal experience. This book makes us all wiser about the role of conversations between academics and women experiencing the consequences of often violent transitions. The book thus makes a significant contribution to speeding up the process of empowering women in their variant roles. (Camelia Elias, Ph.D., Associate Professor of American Studies, Roskilde University, Institute of Culture and Identity, Denmark Editor, Cultural Studie)

The book offers a unique and valuable perspective about violence against women in different countries. There is truth to the saying that violence against women does not recognize borders. Globalization has affected families, family lives, and has led to new problems, demanding for innovative knowledge and skills to solve them. (Nijole Dirsiene, Director, Pension of Mother and Child (Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence), Vilnius, Lithuania)

This book offers a wealth of knowledge about addressing women's social and political issues and discusses some of the most striking examples of democratization. Women across all cultural lines will feel empowered to re-ignite our movement towards an egalitarian society transcending all boundaries and barriers. (T. V. Means, Ph.D., Author, A Striking Look at the Face of Domestic Violence (2007) Director and Founder, A Means to Change (an agency to educate an)

Feminist Conversations offers a fresh approach to transnational feminist discourse by bringing together voices of scholars and practitioners from Eastern Europe, the United States, Africa and Latin America. The book disrupts traditional frameworks of transnational feminist exchanges, ie. East/West and North/South, by facilitiating a conversation among contributors from all of these geographical areas. In addition to serving as a productive model for future cross-cultural dialogue, the book's other strengths include its focus on women's empowerment in less-studied states; comparative analysis among societies in the "West", "East", and "South"; and its understanding of the need for balance between practical gender needs and strategic gender interests. As an interdisciplinary text, Feminist Conversations could be employed in both undergraduate and graduate classes examining post-transitional societies, democratization processes, and women's empowerment. As a conversation among diverse contributors from various geographical regions, the book should find broad appeal in many progressive communities. (Denise Shupiko, University of Maryland Journal Of International Women's Studies)

Feminist Conversations is a book full of fresh thought and hopeful strategies on how to improve the prospects for women's rights in post-transitional societies. The stories the editors included as a background to their deliberations also speak most eloquently about how far away we are from eradicating violence against women in much of the world. One sees clearly that in most post-transitional societies there are only the beginnings of women's rights, overshadowed relentlessly by patriarchy. But in presenting this insightful book, the editors have at best taken bold and creative steps toward providing the one indispensable element in the struggle for women's rights―international awareness. (George F. Steger, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in History and International Affairs Director, Lawrence D. Starr Global Studies Institute University of Saint)

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