International Women’s Day: Free Readings From Cambridge University Press

In News by Porter Anderson

Citing ‘education and research for everyone and by everyone,’ Cambridge University Press’ leadership offers pertinent readings for International Women’s Day.

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By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘We Have To Champion Our Women’

International Women’s Day (March 8) is being observed by Cambridge University Press with a wide selection of excerpts from relevant books, “including some of the most vital contributions to feminist theory and women’s history,” according to a press announcement.

A page has been set up on the company’s Web site with available excerpts under seven headers

  • Women in History
  • Feminism
  • Women Writers
  • Representations of Women
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Contemporary Debate
  • Gender and Religion

Mandy Hill

In a prepared statement, Cambridge’s managing director for academic publishing, Mandy Hill, is quoted, saying, “International Women’s Day is a celebration of the great work done by women across the globe and across history and I am delighted that we’re making content published by Cambridge University Press free to support this important initiative.

“As a university press and global publisher, we see it as intrinsic within our role to support, develop and publish the highest standards of education and research for everyone and by everyone, irrespective of gender, race, age, or sexuality.

“To achieve this goal, we have to champion our women authors, editors and publishing teams, which sometimes means pushing against historic norms.”

Three examples of available excerpted texts follow.

From the ‘Contemporary Debate’ group, How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism, edited by David Livingston Smith:

“Biology’s role in shaping philosophy does not involve interdisciplinarity as it is often conceived–that is, as a sort of melding of two disciplines or the incorporation of the elements of one discipline into another.

“Biophilosophy does not work like this because philosophy is not a discipline in the sense that biology is a discipline.

Of course, there is a perfectly good sense in which philosophy is a discipline.”

From the ‘Representations of Women’ Group,  Occult Knowledge, Science, and Gender on the Shakespearean Stage, by Mary Floyd-Wilson:

“Occult Knowledge, Science, and Gender on the Shakespearean Stage situates early modern texts within a Renaissance cosmology of occult forces. While scholars have attended to the relationship between the environment and embodiment in Renaissance literature, we have paid little attention to the animate qualities of that environment.

“It is the task of this book to demonstrate that a comprehensive understanding of the animate early modern natural world must encompass what lies beyond nature: the preternatural realm. Spirits, demons, and unseen active effluvia comprised the invisible technology of nature’s marvels. Hidden in nature, people believed, were antipathies and sympathies that compelled both bonds and animosities among an unpredictable mix of plants, minerals, animals, and humans.

“As I shall suggest throughout this study, our critical tendency to misconstrue the discourse of sympathies and antipathies as merely metaphorical has obscured how a pervasive belief in hidden operations shaped early modern perceptions of nature, gender, passion, motivation, knowledge, and theatrical experiences.”

And from the ‘Gender and Religion’ group, Women Prophets and Radical Protestantism in the British Atlantic World, 1640–1730, by Elizabeth Bouldin:

“Narrative writing represents another way that prophets chose to communicate their messages. Many narrative writings fit this study’s definition of prophecy in that the writers claimed they were “pressed in spirit” or under an obligation to speak God’s truth.

“Spiritual autobiographies (which developed out of the Puritan tradition) and testimonies (which developed out of the Quaker tradition) were two important forms of narrative writing that prophets employed.

“The spiritual autobiography had roots in the Puritan conversion narrative that both reassured the author of his or her salvation and improved the author’s standing in the Puritan community.”

For more, see the International Women’s Day 2017 page at Cambridge University Press.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.