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Archive for the ‘Sheila Rowbotham’ Category

The new issue of the International Socialism journal is out now, featuring Judith Orr on Sheila Rowbotham, Shlomo Sand interviewed by John Rose and Sebastian Budgen on the loss of a great intellectual – Daniel Bensaid and Chris Harman.

Judith Orr writes:Dreamers of a New Day Cover Image

Sheila Rowbotham gives a fascinating account and new insight into some of the debates, organisations and publications that flourished in Britain and the US during this period in her new book, Dreamers of a New Day.

The full article, “Marxism and feminism today”,  is available here. Sheila Rowbotham’s new book Dreamers of a New Day is available now in hardback.

Shlomo Sand speaks to John Rose:

But you know the atmosphere around the established Jewish community in France is frightful. People are afraid. In France at first journalists were afraid to write about the book. However, after the war on Gaza a lot of walls fell down and people began to write more and Sand The Invention of the Jewish People Cover Imagemore about the book. And now there is a pocketbook version and again it is in the bestsellers list. In 2009 the full-size version was the bestselling book about history. But don’t underestimate just how reactionary, racist and authoritarian the current mood of the pro-Zionist circles in the French Jewish community is. They remind me of the pro-Stalinist influence in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s or even the McCarthyist influence in the US at the same time.

The full article, “Interview: Zionism, socialism and nationalism”, is available here. Shlomo Sand’s book The Invention of the Jewish People is now available in paperback.

Sebastian Budgen pays tribute to Verso authors Daniel Bensaïd and Chris Harman, who both  sadly died this year:

For Chris Harman and Daniel Bensaïd, two men who have died at almost the same age and within months of each other—one after a monumental 20-year struggle against illness, the other plucked without warning from the night—scarcely addressed probably more than a few sentences directly to each other in over 40 years. And yet their lifelong, daily, uncomplaining commitment to combine the patient, often wearisome, work of building a small revolutionary group with that of trying to theoretically regenerate the grandeur of the classical Marxist tradition by fertilising it constantly with elements of the new was nonetheless a common eHarman People's History of the World Cover Imagendeavour.Marx For Our Times Cover Image

The full article, “The Red Hussar: Daniel Bensaïd, 1946-2010”, is available here. Daniel Bensaïd’s book Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique is available in paperback. Chris Harman’s A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millenium is also available in paperback.

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Sheila Rowbotham’s new book Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century is mentioned in Kira CochDreamers of a New Day Imagerane’s article for  The Guardian on Saturday:

It’s just one of many signs that we seem to be entering a new heyday for British feminism. Another is the sudden burst of British feminist publishing, after an extensive drought. Along with Redfern and Aune’s book, the past 12 months has seen the publication of Ellie Levenson’s The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism, Nina Power’s One Dimensional Woman, Natasha Walter’s Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism, Sheila Rowbotham’s Dreamers of a New Day, and Kat Banyard’s The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Men and Women Today.

Read the full article here.A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Image

Sheila Rowbotham is Professor of Gender and Labour History at the University of Manchester, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  She is the author of the James Tait Black-shortlisted Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love. She has also written the introduction to Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, reissued this year as part of Verso’s Revolutions series.


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Daphne Spain reviewed Sheila Rowbotham’s new book Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century in the Times Literary Supplement on Wednesday:

Rowbotham’s contribution is to demonstrate Dreamers of a New Day Imagehow both prominent and obscure women in the United States and Britain created new ways of being women. Between the 1880s and the 1920s, they challenged prevailing expectations about sexuality, living arrangements, paid work and motherhood… Rowbotham does an excellent job of reminding the reader of the historical context of these women’s lives.

Read the full article here.

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Marxism 2010 starts today in London, with tons of great speakers including Verso authors Slavoj Žižek, Sheila Rowbotham, Tariq Ali, Gareth Peirce, Peter Hallward and many more…

Also see Alex Callinicos’ piece on The Guardian website.

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Sheila Rowbotham’s Dreamers of a New Day: Women who Invented the Twentieth Century received outstanding coverage from the mainstream broadsheets over the weekend, including Kathryn Hughes for the Guardian:

The problem with good ideas is that you never know quite where they will end. The Arts and Crafts movement, conceived in hand-thrown innocence by William Morris, was partly responsible for the rows of standardised bungalows put up in the interwar period, not to mention all that classroom raffia work. The bright idea of uncoupling romantic relationships from the mechanics of church and state in favour of “free love” resulted by the late 1960s in some rather anguished women and some very smug men. The clever wheeze of outsourcing routine domestic duties drove directly into the current high-cholesterol cul de sac of home-delivered pizzas. These are just some of the Big Ideas of the early 20th century that Sheila Rowbotham deals with in this exhilarating, if sometimes rueful, book

Read the full article here.

The book was also reviewed by Dinah Birch for the Observer:

When it comes to gender, the 2010 election failed to change the established order. There are four female ministers sitting in Cameron’s cabinet. In 1997, Blair chose five women for his ministerial team. This will not surprise Sheila Rowbotham, eminent historian and lifelong feminist activist. She is an old hand at recording fluctuations in women’s fortunes. Her latest book is a compelling study of the adventurous visionaries who challenged sex and gender assumptions from the 1880s up to the first world war. It is a celebration of what women have won but also a warning of what could still be lost.

Read the full review here.

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Sheila Rowbotham was interviewed on Start the Week on BBC Radio 4 about the role of women in transforming ideas about work at the turn of the 20th century.

Listen here.

Sheila Rowbotham’s Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century has been recently published to critical acclaim from Alison Light in the Independent, Elaine Showalter in the Daily Telegraph, Jeanette Winterson in the Times and Melissa Benn in the New Statesman.

Talks

  • Thursday 10 June, 6.30pm

Bookmarks Bookshop

Free but please call 020 7637 1848 or email to reserve

  • Monday 21 June, 6.30 – 8pm

British Library
For more details and to book

  • Sheila will also be speaking at Marxism 2010, 1-5 July, with Slavoj Zizek, Tariq Ali, Gareth Peirce, Alberto Toscano, Peter Hallward and more!

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Sheila Rowbotham’s Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century receives an outstanding review by Alison Light for the Independent in “The women who made a new politcs” :

Responding to the new pressures of modern life – mass production, slums, migration – women imagined better futures. Working conditions, diet, dress, the design of houses, streets and cities, maternity, education, sexual relations – everything was grist to their mill.

Sheila Rowbotham assembles a vast congregation of these “dreamers”: women who worked for social change long before the majority got the vote. …

Dreamers of a New Day brings to life an astonishing panoply of networks, self-help groups, leagues and unions. Countless women were “awakened” by guilt and longing, driven by moral zeal, galvanised by anger…

Dreamers of a New Day is crowded, lively and inspiring. … Rowbotham’s book is a tribute to women’s faith in the possible but also to her own unquenchable belief in women.

Read the full article here.

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Kira Cochrane interviews Sheila Rowbotham for the New Statesman Books Interview about the early women’s movement explored in her new book Dreamers of a New Day, her role in the second-wave of feminism in Britain, and Jean-Luc Godard’s request:

Forty years ago, you spearheaded the second-wave feminist movement in Britain by suggesting the first ever National Women’s Liberation Conference. Do you see that wave of the movement as utopian, too?

Yes, we wanted everything to change. We were women who had had an education, but many of us came from non-educated backgrounds, so we didn’t have precedents in our families for different ways of being. Men were similarly caught, so they treated us in very confused ways. We were all breaking every rule, and yet the old assumptions kept surfacing. I remember one guy telling me that my role as a woman was to be a nurturer. I said: “I don’t want that role!” I don’t mind nurturing when I feel like it, but I don’t want to be stuck in that category.

Does it surprise you that a class analysis has largely disappeared from feminism?

I think it happened when the manufacturing industry dwindled and workers moved over to the public sector. Also, the Murdoch press has had the power to crush the slightest sniff of old-style Labourism, or feminism – Harriet Harman says very mild things and the tabloid press goes bananas. The way that the Labour Party abandoned working-class people has left a complete vacuum, and a deep feeling of hurt and anger.

In 1970 Jean-Luc Godard asked you to walk up and down stairs naked, reciting words of emancipation and you said no. Have you ever regretted that decision?

No – even though I didn’t have incredibly pure, principled motives for refusing: it was mainly vanity. I did read the words of emancipation, and the woman who ended up on screen in my place was terribly slender and elegant.

Read the full interview here.

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It’s an unusual work, utterly unlike anything else appearing at the moment under the heading “feminism”, and for that reason it is important. That it works so well is a tribute to Rowbotham’s intimate acquaintance with many of the period’s leading characters and to the themes she uses to group her material – from campaigns for birth control, to the reorganisation of the family, home and work, to experiments in consumer power.

Read the full review.

And the Morning Star’s review says ” the book should still inspire a new generation of dreamers.”

For the Independent, Sheila selects William Morris: Romantic To Revolutionary, By EP Thompson as her  Book Of A Lifetime:

Thompson, who delighted in quotes, takes several hundred pages to situate Morris in the Romantic and aesthetic rejection of capitalism: ‘We have profoundly forgotten everywhere that cash-payment is not the sole relation of human beings’ (Thomas Carlyle). ‘There is no Wealth but Life’ (John Ruskin). The sharpness of those critics of capitalism, who could recall other ways of organising work and shaping human relations, is startling. Their moral and aesthetic revolt against the factory system and its values rang in my ears when I came to read Marx…
Thompson’s Morris engages with a conundrum even more relevant today. How might we shift from capitalist society as it is to a sustainable and pleasurable ‘something else’? His book reveals a dynamic yet embedded way of writing the history of socialism, and an interrogation of what socialism might be.
ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan. It enables you to think about two kinds of crossings: one where people move from one culture to another, but also the incomprehension that can often exist between generations.
…WOULD YOU TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND?
I’d  take Byron’s collected poems, as I find him very interesting. He was writing was during the emergence of industrial capitalism, just before the new industrial world.
…FIRST GAVE YOU THE READING BUG?
WhenI was a little girl I read a well-known Edwardian children’s history book called Our Island Story by Henrietta Marshall. It was a history in pictures. There was one, for example, of Queen Elizabeth dancing, showing that she was rather vain — she was pretending not to know that all these foreign courtiers were watching her.
…LEFT YOU COLD?
Hitler’s Mein Kampf, of course. It was my father’s and I read it when I was in my teens. It was so horrible I decided I was going to censor it and not read it again

Talks:

  • Friday 21st May, 6-7.30pm

Bristol Festival of Ideas: ‘Feminism Now’ with Kat Banyard at Watershed Media Centre, Bristol
For more details and to book / 0117 927 5100

  • Tuesday 8 June, 7.30pm

The Bishopsgate Institute
For more details and to book / 020 7392 9220

NEW DATE!!

  • Thursday 10 June, 6.30pm

Bookmarks Bookshop

Free but please call 020 7637 1848 or email to reserve

  • Monday 21 June, 6.30 – 8pm

British Library
For more details and to book

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NEW DATE!!

Thursday 10 June, 6.30pm at Bookmarks Bookshop: Free but please call 020 7637 1848

Dreamers of a new day: Women who invented the twentieth century

Listen now to Sheila Rowbotham on Night Waves on BBC Radio 3:

Feminist author Sheila Rowbotham joins Rana Mitter to discuss her new women’s history of the 20th century, ‘Dreamers of a new Day: Women who invented the 20th century‘. Socialist feminist Ruth Livesey joins them to discuss how a disparate group of idealistic women shaped their times.

Talks

  • Thursday 6 May, 7pm

London Review of Books Bookshop
For more details and to book / 020 7269 9030

  • Friday 21st May, 6-7.30pm

Bristol Festival of Ideas: ‘Feminism Now’ with Kat Banyard at Watershed Media Centre, Bristol
For more details and to book / 0117 927 5100

  • Tuesday 8 June, 7.30pm

The Bishopsgate Institute
For more details and to book / 020 7392 9220

NEW DATE!!

  • Thursday 10 June, 6.30pm

Bookmarks Bookshop

Free but please call 020 7637 1848 or email to reserve

  • Monday 21 June, 6.30 – 8pm

British Library
For more details and to book

MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED…

Amid the growth of globalised trade, mass production, immigration and urban slums that dominated the period from the 1880s to the onset of the First World War, an awakening was taking place among American and British women. Across the Atlantic and across political boundaries, anarchists, liberals, socialists, feminists and social reformers came to share a sense that change was possible.

Dreamers of a New Day reveals how women overturned norms and assumptions about sex and gender as they struggled to define themselves as individuals. In the process many went on to form broad coalitions and movements which  challenged existing  ideas of citizenship and culture, arguing for ethical approaches to  consumption and work, new ways of  being mothers. From the belle époque to the roaring twenties female pioneers were shaping the daily life of the new century well before ‘the everyday’ was conceptualised by the intellectuals of the 1960s.

Drawing on a wealth of extensive research, Sheila Rowbotham has written a ground breaking history of how women came to be modern. The dreamers’ dilemmas and aspirations remain startlingly relevant today.

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