In her new book, Kirsten Swinth, Ph.D., associate professor of history, examines misperceptions of American feminism’s past. From failed promises of women “having it all” to the contemporary struggle for equal wages for equal work, Swinth’s book exposes how government policies often undermined tenets of the movement known as “second-wave feminism,” which took place from 1960s through the 1970s.
The book, Feminism’s Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family (Harvard University Press, 2018), argues that second-wave feminists did not fail to deliver on their promises; rather, a conformist society pushed back against far-reaching changes sought by these activists. The book’s arc begins with the intimate sphere of the family in the 1950s and then moves on to larger societal changes where two-income families became the unavoidable economic norm.
“My focus is on the story of a broad feminist vision that wasn’t fully realized,” said Swinth. “There were a lot of gains generally, but the movement also generated an antifeminist backlash so that most of the aspirations, like a sane and sustainable balance for work and family, were defeated.” (Full article available at link below)
To read more, see Tom Stoelker’s article on Fordham News
On October 17th, Dr. Johan Mathew, Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University gave a talk at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus based on research from his prizewinning book, Margins of the Market: Trafficking and Capitalism Across the Arabian Sea (University of California Press, 2016). The talk, titled “Unveiling Money: Counterfeits, Arbitrage, and Finance across the Arabian Sea,” analyzed the influence trafficking and smuggling had on monetary policies across a region that included Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Dr. Mathew spoke about his sources, explaining to his audience that trafficking creates detailed records of trade. This rich source of records includes contracts and family papers from ‘diasporic archives.’ Dr. Mathew explained how the nature of money was changed by merchant networks, by the multiplicity of them and the instability within them. In his lecture, Dr. Mathew defined ‘capitalism’ as a loose system of analysis that covers free labor, private property, and monetary exchange.
On October 9th Dr. Scott Bruce, who recently joined Fordham’s History Department, sat down with Dr. Richard Gyug, Professor Emeritus of History and Medieval Studies, to discuss Dr. Bruce’s forthcoming article in Speculum, titled “The Dark Age of Herodotus: Shards of a Fugitive History in Early Medieval Europe.”
We’re happy to hear from Rachel Podd in this postcard she sent about her research in Spain this Summer. Rachel is a Ph.D candidate in the History department and helps lead undergraduates on el Camino de Santiago every spring. This summer she stayed after walking the camino to work on her own research. Rachel writes:
WHO: Dr. Johan Mathew, Rutgers University.
WHAT: “Unveiling Money: Counterfeits, Arbitrage, and Finance across the Arabian Sea”, based on Dr. Mathew’s recent book Margins of the Market: Trafficking and Capitalism Across the Arabian Sea (University of California Press, 2016).
WHEN: October 17 at 5:30 pm
WHERE: South Lounge, Lincoln Center Campus
Amanda Racine, a PhD student in Medieval History, sent this postcard about her experience this past summer in Jordan studying Classical Arabic.
With the support of the GSAS Student Support Grant and the Joseph R. Leahey Fellowship both from Fordham, I traveled to Amman, Jordan this summer to study Classical Arabic at Qasid Arabic Institute. In addition to the grants from Fordham, I received a CARA Summer Tuition Grant from the Medieval Academy of America.
View from outside of my flat in Amman
Amman is an amazing city and Jordanians are extremely friendly and welcoming. Exploring Amman was really enjoyable (especially after learning how to navigate the taxi system.) My lessons at Qasid consisted of four hours of grammar lessons a day (Sunday-Thursday) and additional lessons focused on pronunciation. It was a really intensive course but my classmates and teachers made it a joy to attend. My teachers had lived in Jordan their whole lives and were wonderful resources not only for Arabic, but also for where to find the best food in Amman!
Qasid: My class with our ustadhas (teachers)
When I was not in class, I was able to spend some time traveling around Jordan. Although not a major hub of crusader settlements in the twelfth and thirteenth century, there are a number of castles built during the crusades that now lie within Jordan’s borders. I visited Ajloun (one of the few Muslim fortresses), Shoubak, and Kerak. There were a number of Roman ruins located in right in the heart of Amman as well. I also visited one of Jordan’s most famous sites, Petra. The most famous part of Petra, the Treasury, was certainly awesome, but I most enjoyed exploring the narrow passageways and the views from the high cliffs.
The view from قلعة عجلون (Ajloun Castle) a twelfth-century Muslim fortress in Jordan
Arabic script on the ruins of قلعة شوبك (Shoubak Castle)
Inside قلعة كرك (Kerak Castle) a twelfth-century crusader castle in Jordan
Built c. 4th century BCE, Petra is Jordan’s most famous site
I was also able to make one short trip to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem I met with some crusade scholars who live in the region and walked around the Old City. It was an exciting combination of being able to hear about some of the research being done in the area and then actually be able to visit the places that we discussed.
View of the Old City from the Mount of Olives
Overall, my summer in Amman was a valuable experience. This was my first time in the Middle East and as someone who studies the Latin East in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries it was amazing to get a better sense of the landscape (soo many hills!) and culture of the region. I was able to not only build a solid foundation in Arabic but also meet some really wonderful people. I look forward to continuing my studies in Arabic and hope to return to to Jordan again soon. إن شاء الله.