cover image Dangerous Women: Fifty Reflections on Women, Power, and Identity

Dangerous Women: Fifty Reflections on Women, Power, and Identity

Edited by Jo Shaw, Ben Fletcher-Watson, and Abrisham Ahmadzadeh. Unbound, $18.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-80018-064-2

“What does it mean to be a ‘dangerous woman’?” ask the contributors to this strong collection. Editors Shaw and Fletcher-Watson, who previously collaborated on The Art of Being Dangerous, join with Ahmadzadeh to bring together 50 selections from the University of Edinburgh’s Dangerous Women Project, which in 2016 solicited reflections from around the world on the “dynamics, conflicts, identities and power relations with which women live today.” Lebanese novelist Nada Awar Jarrar recalls a schoolmate who bristled against the anonymity of having to wear a hijab and the complex cultural considerations involved in her decision to stop, with Jarrar concluding that “a dangerous woman is one who... insists on remaining true to herself.” Other highlights explore such historical women as medieval Christian mystic Margery Kempe, whose pious behavior forced male officials to consider if persecuting her meant persecuting God, and the late medieval sex workers of Florence, whose participation in the semiregulated sex industry gave them legal recourse denied to most other women. The wide-ranging selections—which touch on ambivalence about maternity, the legacy of South African pop star Brenda Fassie, and the difficulty of getting a divorce in India—are rich with history and testify to the numerous ways women across the globe are challenging patriarchy. Invigorating and incisive, these provide food for thought. (Mar.)