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March 8, 2024 / Celebrating International Women’s Day through Books

Guest post by Anindita Mukherjee

On March 8, International Women’s Day, University of Alberta Press celebrates the achievements of women around the world and renews its commitment to gender equality and to empowering, uplifting, and supporting women in all walks of life. We are proud of the books we have published in the past and the new books we have coming out this year, including Contemporary Vulnerabilities: Reflections on Social Justice Methodologies, Feministing in Political Science, and Half-Light: Westbound on a Hot Planet.

Throughout the years we have published on various aspects of women’s lives, their thoughts, feelings, and how they navigate their experiences in the world. Three recent titles in the Women’s Voices from Gaza series, co-edited by Ghada Ageel and Barbara Bill, are strong examples of this. Come My Children (2023) by Hekmat Al-Taweel unearths a history long excluded from mainstream discourse and provides an unfamiliar perspective on Muslim–Christian relationships, highlighting shared history, vibrant culture, and cherished traditions. In Light the Road of Freedom (2021), Sahbaa Al-Barbari’s story provides a unique perspective on Palestinian experiences before and after the 1948 Nakba. A White Lie (2020) honours the underrepresented voices of these women in the absence of official histories. Also looking past our borders, Kurdish Women’s Stories (2021) is a document of reflection and remembrance of 25 women from Kurdistan and across the diaspora who write about imprisonment, exile, and gender-based violence, among others. Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography (2017) is a reassessment of the life and contributions of Pennsylvania’s Mary Schäffer, based on the themes of women and wilderness, travel, and science. Flora Annie Steel (2017) was a contemporary of Rudyard Kipling, but her legacy faded due to gender politics and this collection was the first to focus on her contribution to Anglo-Indian literature. Lifelines: Culture, Spirituality, and Family Violence (1999) is an account of the survivors of spousal abuse as they try to make sense of their pain and suffering. 

Publishing on the lives of Indigenous women is both a privilege and a responsibility. Disinherited Generations: Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and their Descendants (2013) is an oral autobiography of two remarkable Cree women who tell their life stories against a backdrop of government discrimination, First Nations activism, and the resurgence of First Nations communities. Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters (2018) contains stories of resilience, resistance, and activism. The editors give voice to these powerful testimonies while creating a model for anti-violence work from an Indigenous perspective. In Metis Pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed (2018), Doris Jeanne MacKinnon compares the survival strategies of two Metis women as the Canadian West transitioned from the fur trade to a sedentary agricultural and industrial economy. In Travels and Tales of Miriam Green Ellis (2013), Patricia Demers revives the memory of journalist Miriam Green Ellis, an all-but-forgotten feminist, suffragist, and agricultural reporter who documented the modernist sphere for over four decades and who refused to be confined to the “women’s pages.” Indigenous Women and Street Gangs (2021) uses photovoice to share the emancipatory expression of six Indigenous women previously involved in street gangs or street lifestyles.

We continue to publish about the social, material, and political realities of women. You Look Good for Your Age (2021), is an anthology featuring women writers challenging ageism through essays, short stories, and poetry. Impact: Women Writing after Concussion (2021) sees 21 women writers offering vital counter-narratives to “one-size-fits-all” descriptions of traumatic brain injuries and recovery and bearing witness to the painstaking work that goes into redefining identity and regaining creative practice after a traumatic event. In Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities (2015), Shawna Ferris gives a voice to sex workers in Canadian cities. Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties: Intimate Partner Violence, Community Resources, and Faith (2015) investigates the place of spirituality in working with survivors of intimate partner violence. Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female Coaches (2012) is an extensive exploration of leaders in women’s coaching and their concerns regarding the profession and their quest for equal access. The Grads Are Playing Tonight! (2011) tells the story of the Edmonton Grads, who dominated women’s basketball from 1915–1940 across Canada and worldwide.

Our meta-critical commitment to publishing and its entanglement with women’s lives can be seen in Feminist Acts: Branching Out Magazine and the Making of Canadian Feminism (2019), which is a story of an upstart magazine from the prairies and its activism and community building. Not Drowning But Waving: Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts (2011) gestures both at the difficulties faced by feminists in the humanities in Canada and at the possibilities of hope, of new “waves” of feminism. Regenerations / Régénérations: Canadian Women’s Writing / Écriture des femmes au Canada (2014) examines women’s writing in Canada, past and present, and exemplifies the progress of radically interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and publishing efforts surrounding Canadian women’s writing. 

The titles mentioned above are testaments to our commitment to being inclusive and representative of women’s experiences. It is a legacy we will continue to build upon.