Call for Book Chapters (issued Nov. 3, 2016)
Working Book Title: Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gendered Disruptions in the 2016 Presidential Election and the Ghost of Susan B. Anthony
Christine Kray, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rochester Institute of Technology
Hinda Mandell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology
Gendered disruptions with historical echoes played prominently into the volatile 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The campaign featured historic elements from the beginning. It marked the first time that a woman was nominated to lead a major political party in the race for president of the United States. With the potential of Clinton to crack the “highest, hardest glass ceiling,” ritual activity reached new levels at the Rochester, NY gravesite of Susan B. Anthony, the nineteenth-century activist who dedicated her life’s work toward women’s suffrage. Throughout the year, visitors paid tribute and left tokens of gratitude, and in what has become a new Election Day tradition—propelled by social media—on the day of the New York State primary in April 2016, visitors affixed “I Voted” stickers to her tombstone. Plans were laid for ceremonial gatherings at her gravesite on Election Day and the day after.
Throughout the 2008 primary campaign and again in 2015, Clinton appeared reticent to position herself as a woman candidate. And yet, events pushed gender front and center, conjuring up memories of earlier suffragist struggles. In April 2016, Trump accused Clinton of “playing the woman card.” In July, when Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination, she noted that her mother had been born on the very day that Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which would give women the right to vote. Then, just weeks before the election, after audio recordings were released in which Donald Trump boasted of committing sexual assault, and polls revealed that women were increasingly rejecting Trump’s candidacy, a #RepealThe19th social media hashtag was created. While Anthony had not lived to see the 19th Amendment ratified, she and her fellow suffragists wrote the language that would enfranchise women in 1920. And suddenly this nineteenth-century figure and the ideals she fought for became increasingly relevant in an election that saw a woman candidate and women voters as key players. The website, www.iwaited96years.com, features women who were born before the ratification of the 19th Amendment who intended to vote for Hillary Clinton. Video “history lessons” and memes circulated on social media as contributors aimed to teach others about the historical advances of women, implying that the work remains unfinished.
As an interdisciplinary project, this book invites contributions from historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political theorists, journalists, and media and public history scholars to investigate how public memory of Susan B. Anthony and the 19th Amendment has shaped narratives of the 2016 presidential election, and the ways in which the campaign has brought fresh attention to her work and life. This book project speaks to the ways in which politics are not merely pragmatic, but are always enveloped in personal and historical imaginations. Through our electoral engagement, conversations, and voting practices, we reach out to revered historical figures, engage in practices of deep symbolic significance, and position ourselves within a grand historical trajectory.
Possible chapter topics include:
- Susan B. Anthony’s grave as a place of pilgrimage during the election season
- Intersectionality of race and gender—for example, how the complicated friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass was invoked in the competition between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
- The #RepealThe19th social media hashtag
- Suffragist fashion and Hillary Clinton’s sartorial choices
- Bad hombres and “locker room talk”: Masculinist discourse and spectacle
- The role of women voters as potentially holding the balance of power in this election
- Efforts to disenfranchise women voters who support Clinton
- Ways in which some women have coalesced around Clinton’s historic nomination
- Public memory of Susan B. Anthony, feminism and anti-feminism in the 2016 election season
- Memory, media and gender in this election
- Women who opposed the 19th Amendment and women supporters of Donald Trump—Are there similarities in rhetoric, belief, or socio-economic position?
- Theorizing of feminism and misogyny in public spaces on the campaign trail
- Generations: Are younger women inspired by historical women’s rights activists or does their inspiration come from elsewhere?
- “History lessons” on social media: Positioning Clinton with respect to a century of women’s rights activism
- What are the consequences (—for public engagement and the discipline of history—) of calling an election “historic”?
- “But that happened forty years ago!”: When history does and doesn’t matter in an election cycle
- “Nasty women,” “grab him by the ball-ots,” “pussy grabs back”—Does “civil discourse” matter?
- Would Susan B. Anthony have voted for Hillary Clinton?: A close reading of her writings and speeches
- Pronouncements from the (pro-life) Susan B. Anthony List about Clinton’s candidacy
Call for Chapters:
We issue this Call for Chapters for a book intended for peer-reviewed publication. We seek contributions that are appropriate for scholarly audiences yet also accessible to undergraduate and public readers. If you would like to participate in this volume, please send us (firstname.lastname@example.org) a 500-word abstract by January 15, 2017, along with a bio not to exceed 250 words. We also welcome creative contributions, including fiction, poetry, cartoons, photography and song. Completed chapters (of 5,000 words) would need to be submitted by April 15, 2017. This book project has strong interest from a Palgrave Macmillan editor with whom we have worked before. All scholarship and submissions should be previously unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere.