1st Edition

Crazy for Democracy Women in Grassroots Movements

By Temma Kaplan Copyright 1997
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    Crazy for Democracy vividly shows, through the lives of six women in the United States and South Africa, just what can be and is being accomplished to change our lives.

    At a time when we're depressed about democracy, pessimistic about race relations, and anxious about feminism, Crazy for Democracy vividly shows, through the lives of six women in the United States and South Africa, just what can be and is being accomplished to change our lives. In building real social movements to achieve a safe environment, win human rights, and safeguard their homes, these grassroots feminist leaders have been creating democratic institutions to achieve social justice for us all.

    1. Introduction: Women Prophets and the Struggle for Human Rights2. Suburban Blight and Situation Comedy3. When it Rains, I get Mad and Scared: Women and Environmental Racisms4. Homemaker Citizens and New Democratic Organizations5. Generation X, Southern Style6. We Sleep on Our Own Graves: Women at Crossroads7. Surplus People and Grassroots Women's Leadership in the New South Africa8. Conclusion: Social Movements and Democratic Practices


    Temma Kaplan is Professor of History and Women's Studies at SUNY, Stonybrook. She is an activist, critic, and author of Anarchists of Andalusia, 1868 to 1903 and Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso's Barcelona.

    "A delightfully refreshing account of what is so often not said about women's participation in movements for social change...Read this book for the excellent histories of the struggle at Love Canal, the birth of the environmental justice movement in the South, and the fight for housing and an end to apartheid in South Africa. Read it for inspiration when despondent about the seeming inevitability of pollution and toxic waste dumps in your communities. Above all, read it for the well-told and inspiring stories of ordinary women who rose to the challenge of extraordinary circumstances, thus paving the way for future efforts at redeeming the land and preserving our common environment." -- The Green Pages
    "Temma Kaplan's Crazy for Democracy: Women in Grassroots Movements is written the way all history should be written, with passionate humanity. It provides an intellectual framework for understanding these movements in context, and in addition is a work that honors not only the historical; but the moral imagination." -- Mary Gordon
    "In this dramatic and timely study of six courageous women activists, Temma Kaplan at last puts women at the center of citizens' movements for social change and human rights, where they belong. Kaplan's narrative is riveting, her analysis sophisticated, her prose vigorous, her book original and important." -- Alix Kates Shulman, author of Drinking the Rain
    "Crazy for Democracy is a wonderful book. At once scholarly and personal, it tells the human story behind some of the most pathbreaking social movements of our time. Kaplan's incisive analysis shows us how women's social activism grows out of the gendered construction of women's lives. She has given us a vivid ethnography of social struggle as it is being waged on planet earth in the late twentieth century." -- Kathryn Kish Sklar, Distinguished Professor of History, State University of New York, Binghamton
    "[A]n engaging read ... Crazy for Democracy is an important contribution in the fields of women's studies, history, and political science. It challenges dominant frameworks for understanding democracy that focus almost exclusively on electoral politics." -- Political Science Quarterly
    "Crazy for Democracy breaks new ground by focusing specifically on women leaders of grassroots movements. [Kaplan's] lively and detailed accounts of movement activities reveal the complexity of activists' experiences defy the dichotomous theotetical frameworks that have been used to categorize women's activities." -- American Anthropologist