Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in US Women's History, 4th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Unequal Sisters

An Inclusive Reader in US Women's History, 4th Edition

Edited by Vicki L. Ruiz


656 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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Unequal Sisters has become a beloved and classic reader in American Women’s History. It provides an unparalleled resource for understanding women’s history in the United States today. When it was first published in 1990, it revolutionized the field with its broad multicultural approach, and continued, through its next two editions, to emphasize feminist perspectives on race, ethnicity, region, and sexuality. This classic work is in its fourth edition, and has incorporated the feedback of end-users in the field, to make it the most user-friendly version to date.


"This remarkable collection of essays challenges traditional conceptions of womanhood. Ruiz has selected highly readable interpretations of women's historical experiences as they emerge from a wide array of perspectives, including women's political standpoints, their ethnic and racial situations, sexual preferences, and class positions. Taken together the essays signal a new direction in the history of women."

— Alice Kessler-Harris, author of Gendering Labor History

"With over a dozen new essays, the fourth edition of Unequal Sisters is perhaps the strongest yet in terms of depth, breadth, and diversity of analysis. It is an exciting, vital mix of now-classic statements and cutting-edge work that brilliantly illuminates the complexities of ethnicity, race, class, region, gender, and sexuality. The anthology is undoubtedly among the very best in the field."

— Michele Mitchell, author of Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction

"This remarkable collection showcases the multiple ways in which women of color make history for themselves and others within and beyond U.S. borders. New studies combined with classic feminist writings make it an indispensable tool for advancing an inclusive women’s history."

— Shirley Hune, co-author of Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology

"Grounded in the exploration of gender, race, class, and generational differences, this new edition of Unequal Sisters proves, yet again, that the field of Women’s History continues to be at the forefront of our collective desire to understand the ways that women's complex pasts remain deeply relevant for all those who struggle for equality and a just society today. Without a doubt, this book is essential reading for all!"

— Suzanne Oboler, author of Latinos and Citizenship: The Dilemma of Belonging

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Race and the Politics of Identity in U.S. Feminism 2. Bodies in Motion: Lesbian and Transsexual Histories 3. Teaching the Differences Among Women from a Historical Perspective: Rethinking Race and Gender as Social Categories 4. This Evil Extends Especially to the Feminine Sex: Captivity and Identity in New Mexico, 1700-1846 5. 'Deluders and Seducers of Each Other': Gender and the Changing Nature of Resistance 6. The Pleasures of Resistance: Enslaved Women and Body Politics in the Plantation South, 1830-1861 7. Race, Culture and Justice in Mexican Los Angeles 8. To Earn her Daily Bread: Housework and Antebellum Working-Class Subsistence 9. The Feminized Civil War: Gender, Northern Popular Literature, and the Memory of War, 1861-1900 10. To Catch the Vision of Freedom: Reconstructing Southern Black Women’s Political History, 1865-1880 11. 'To Dark to be Angels': The Class System Among the Cherokees at the Female Seminary-Devon 12. The Practice of Everyday Colonialism: Indigenous Women at Work in the Hop Fields and Tourist Industry of Puget Sound 13. Black and White Visions of Welfare: Women’s Welfare Activism, 1890-1945 14. Migrations and Destinations: Reflections on the Histories of U.S. Immigrant Women 15. The Social Awakening of Chinese American Women as Reported in Chung Sai Yat Po, 1900-1911 16. Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Woman’s Suffrage Movement, 1894-1909 17. In Politics to Stay: Black Women Leaders and Party Politics in the 1920s-Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham 18. Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of 'Race' in Twentieth-Century America 19. Sexual Geography and Gender Economy: The Furnished Room Districts of Chicago, 1890-1930 20. Making Faces: The Cosmetics Industry and the Cultural Construction of Gender, 1890-1930 21. 'Star Struck': Acculturation, Adolescence, and Mexican American Women, 1920-1940 22. Japanese American Women and the Creation of Urban Nisei Culture in the 1930s 23. In Search of Unconventional Women: Histories of Puerto Rican Women in Religious Vocations Before Mid-Century 24. 'We are that Mythical Thing Called the Public': Militant Housewives during the Great Depression 25. Raiz Fuerte: Oral History and Mexicana Farmworkers 26. From Servitude to Service Work: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Reproductive Labor 27. Open Secrets: Memory, Imagination, and the Refashioning of Southern Identity 28. Was Mom Chung a 'Sister Lesbian'?: Asian American Gender Experimentation 29. Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered and Remade by the Women in the Band 30. Rethinking Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique: Labour Union Radicalism and Feminism in Cold War America 31. Non Mothers as Bad Mothers: Infertility and the 'Maternal Instinct' 32. Polishing Brown Diamonds: African-American Women, Popular Magazines, and the Advent of Modeling in Early Postwar America 33. More than a Lady: Ruby Doris Smith Robinson and Black Women’s Leadership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 34. Towards Trans-Pacific Social Justice: Women and Protest in Filipino American History 35. Silencing Religiosity: Secularity and Arab American Feminisms 36. Migrant Melancholia: Emergent Discourses of Mexican Migrant Traffic in Transnational Space

About the Editor

Vicki Ruiz is Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at UC Irvine. She is the past-president of OAH (2006), and current president of the American Studies Association.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies