writing: books

women's lives

Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives

(New York: McGraw-Hill, Sixth Edition, 2013) —with Margo Okazawa-Rey.

This introductory text-reader women's lives started out as separate photocopied readers that we used in our classes at Antioch College (GK) and San Francisco State University (MOR) during the mid-1990s. We wanted a book that integrated a broad range of women’s experiences of class, race, culture, nation, disability, age, and sexuality. We wanted students to learn about the wealth of activism in the United States that seeks to improve women’s lives. And we wanted them to understand the global economic system that distributes wealth, jobs, and power, as well as the significance of US dominance in the world, in terms of language and popular culture, the power of the dollar and US-based corporations, and the prevalence of the US military.

The book has chapters on feminist ideas, theories and theorizing, identities. sexualities, women’s bodies and health, gender-based violence, making a home and making a living, living in a globalizing world, crime and criminalization, militaries, war and peace, women and the environment, and creating change.

We are concerned about the many challenges facing humankind in the 21st century regarding work and livelihood, personal and family relationships, violence on many levels, and the fragile physical environment. How is our society going to provide for its people? How are people going to share this planet? What are the effects of increasing polarization between rich and poor communities in the United States and between rich and poor nations? Genuine security and sustainability—at personal, community, national, and planetary levels—are key issues for the future. These themes provide a wider framework for this work.

greenham women

Greenham Women Everywhere: Dreams, Ideas and Actions, from the Women’s Peace Movement  
(London: Pluto Press /Boston: South End Press, 1983)—Alice Cook and Gwyn Kirk.

We were inspired to write this book greenham women everywhereby the women we met through Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. This started in 1981 outside USAF Greenham Common in England, where NATO planned to site nuclear-capable cruise missiles. The vitality of the peace camp was in dramatic contrast to the bleakness and dreadful purpose of the base—two opposing value systems next to one another but literally on opposite sides of the fence. We interviewed women involved in this movement. We drew on personal conversations, leaflets, newsletters, our involvement in workshops and organizing meetings, and our experiences of nonviolent direct action. We explored what is involved—emotionally, practically, and intellectually—in becoming an activist, and the effectiveness of women’s nonviolent direct action.

Unfortunately long out of print in English, this book is available in libraries or through used booksellers.

Japanese translation: Gurīnamu no onna tachi: kaku no nai sekai o mezashite, transl. Kondo Kazuko (Tokyo: Hachigatsu shokan, 1984).

French translation: Des femmes contre des missiles: Rêves, idées et actions à Greenham Common, transl. Cécile Potier (Paris: Éditions Cambourakis, 2016).

urban planning

Urban Planning in a Capitalist Society
(London: Croom Helm, 1980).

This book analyzes Urban Planning bookcoverthe strengths, weaknesses, and fundamental contradictions of the British urban planning system. It views land use planning as both a technical and political activity, involving the distribution of scarce resources. Urbanization requires housing, schools, public transportation, utilities, and so on. Yet, business is only willing to meet these needs if the financial returns compare favorably to alternative investments in, for example, commodities, manufacturing, land and property development, mineral extraction, or trade.  Government intervention alleviates this contradiction somewhat through city planning, though its scope and effectiveness is seriously limited by the private ownership of land and private initiative in development.

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