£29.99 | $34.95

8 October 2009
ISBN: 9781848134201
224 pages
198mm x 129mm
Gender and Sexuality

Politics, Cultural Studies, Geography, International Relations, Gender and Sexuality

Also available as Hardback

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The Audacity of Races and Genders

A personal and global story of the Obama election

Zillah Eisenstein

In this exciting and insightful new work, Zillah Eisenstein engages the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a site of new anti-imperial possibility. Contiuning her relentless anti-racist feminist narrative to uncover the new shiftings and changes surrounding the meanings and practices of race, gender, and class, she likens the end of the Bush/Cheney presidency to the fall of Stalin, or Pinochet and asks whether this is a key historical moment that will alter race and gender in newly unknown ways.

Tracing the social and political presence of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, the book present 25 conceptual 'frames' of fast-paced critical analysis that places the US presidential election in the context of; the global economic crisis, the new positions of China and India, Islamic feminisms and new secularisms. Illuminated by Eisenstein's distinctive style and personal narrative as she travels the world, Eisenstein challenges her readers to always be looking for the 'newly new' political configurations in order to create a politics of and for the globe.


'Zillah Eisenstein watched Barack Obama’s rise to presidency like a hawk—with piercing eyes and meticulous determination to wonder what does his prospects means for us, for America, for the world, for race, for gender, for class. Nobody in our generation of scholar activists puts these lenses together better and sees farther than Zillah Eisenstein. She maneuvers them adroitly and sees the fierce urgency of our presence with uncommonly caring intellect. Zillah Eisenstein is no armchair analyst. She is a street activist with a globality of vision that sculpts a third dimension in our understanding of things. She writes with Jane Austen's pen, Angela Davis' heart, and Hannah Arendt's mind. From streets of Philadelphia to the campaign headquarters of Florida, from South Africa to Sweden, Zillah Eisenstein’s sisterhood to noble causes is the bone marrow of her convictions and insights. Her Audacity of Races and Genders is the thick description, a people’s history, of a presidential election that will mark our generation for generations to come.' - Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University in New York

'Zillah Eisenstein provides a brilliant account of the intersections of race, sex, and gender in the 2008 US Presidential election, without ever letting us forget that this national drama played out on a global stage. Her insightful portraits of presidential contenders Hillary and Barack, as well as Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin, discern with a sharp eye what is new about race and gender in this election, and what is not reminding us that true change for women and minorities is not to enter the political mainstream, but to change its course. She travels to Seoul, Barcelona, Sweden, and South Africa, describing catastrophic global inequalities, but also unprecedented networks of solidarity; she travels to Florida to elect Obama. This is a moving book, both personally and politically, uncompromising in its critique and hopeful in spirit. It is what we have come to expect from Eisenstein, who consistently gives voice to the global complexities of the struggles for social justice in our time.' - Susan Buck-Morss, Jan Rock Zubrow '77 Professor in the Social Sciences, Cornell University

'The election of Barack Hussein Obama is the occasion for these compelling, at once intimate and scholarly reflections on the audacity of politics! Whether it is the newest contortions of capitalism on a global scale, the intricacies of racialized gender in the current US political landscape, or the multi-dimensionalities of feminisms around the world, Eisenstein's trademark insight into, and passion for thinking through the messy humanity of politics shines through. A deeply engaging and fascinating read.' - Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University, Author of 'Feminism Without Borders, Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity.' 2003

Table of Contents

Introducing my Mindscape
1. Fluid Frames
2. Bodies and Me
A New Circular Globe
3. Chindia and New-Old Economies
4. Gender Bending with the Globe
5. Global Capitalist Crises
6. Chinua Achebe and Listening to Africa
7. The Newest China and her Olympics
New-Old Discourses on the Globe
8. God Bless America and Her Troops
9. New Cold Wars and Global Warming
10. Mythic Enemies and Newest Races
US Presidential Election Talk
11. Hillary Chose Not To Be a Feminist
12. Yesterday's Hillary
13. A Post New Hampshire Diary of Sorts
14. The Audaciousness of Race
15. Hillary is White
16. Michelle is Obviously Black
17. Sarah's Right Wing Vagina
18. US Feminisms
Shifting the political landscapes
19. Gender Mainstreaming in the Land of Picasso
20. Chadors, Veils, and Pantsuits
21. New Iranian and Turkish Feminisms
22. Heteronormative Silences and Gay Marriage
23. Being White in Cape Town
24. On the Ground in Florida
What is Next?
25. Unfinished Beginnings and Endings

About the Author:

Zillah Eisenstein is one of North America's most prolific anti-racist feminist writers and activists of her time. She is well recognized for her earlier activism and writing about the rape camps in Bosnia, breast cancer activism in Cuba, the impact of globalization on women workers across the globe, the racialized gender politics of affirmative action in the US, neo-liberal assaults against feminisms of all sorts and feminist struggles in the former Soviet Union, India, Turkey and Iran. Her books include Against Empire (2004), Sexual Decoys (2007), Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism, ed. (1978), The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism (1981), The Color of Gender (1994) and Hatreds, Racialized and Sexualized Conflicts in the 21st Century,(1996). Zillah Eisenstein teaches political theory and anti-racist feminisms in the Politics Department of Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.