Ellen Dissanayake On The Art of Making Special

Ellen Dissanayake is a self-taught scholar in a field she invented who takes an anthropological, evolutionary approach to defining art. Her work in India, Sri Lanka, Africa and New Guinea made her realize that Western definitions of what is art were culturally confined. Instead she proposes that art is a universal, biological imperative that all human beings …

Maxine Greene on a World of Possibility

Maxine Greene is best known as an indomitable fighter for the valuing of the arts and social justice in education. She has been Philosopher-in-Residence at the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education since 1976. In 2012 she founded the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination. She is the author of numerous books that challenge …

Clara Barton on Weaving with Flying Fingers

Clara Barton celebrates a birthday this week. She was born on Christmas Day 1821. She was the first woman appointed to government office at the same wage as a man, although her salary was later reduced, and then the job eliminated altogether. During the Civil War she procured food and medicine and carried it to the front …

Carolina Maria de Jesus on Rats and Cats

"A woman's tongue is a candlewick. It is always burning." Carolina Maria de Jesus (1914-1977) spent most of her life in a favela in Sao Paola Brazil. To support her three children she collected cardboard and other trash, but many days her children had little to eat. She attended school until she was eight years old where she discovered …

Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Babies

November 12th is Elizabeth Cady Stanton's birthday. Stanton has gone down in history as a tireless fighter for women's rights who spoke her mind and would not be cowed. She was also a tender and loving mother who didn't tolerate nonsense concerning child-rearing. The following excerpt relates her experiences caring for her first-born. …I had …

Jean Kilbourne on Women’s Image

Jean Kilbourne is a feminist author, lecturer, and filmmaker, critical of the media and advertising, who has published three books and four films. One of her main focuses is the effect of advertising on women's images of themselves. "Why 6,000,000 women who used to carry a little red book now carry a little red lipstick," says an …

Rose Winslow on Hungry for the Vote

"God knows we don’t want other women ever to have to do this over again.” Rose Winslow  was brought as a baby to the United States by her Polish parents so that she could grow up in a free democratic country.  Her father labored as a coal miner and steel worker and as a child …

Madeline Grumet on Reading Texts

"Our stories are the masks through which we can be seen, and with every telling we stop the flood and swirl of thought so someone can get a glimpse of us, and maybe catch us if they can" Madeleine R. Grumet Madeline Grumet is Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel …

Lisa Delpit on Teaching

 "We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs." Lisa Delpit is Director of the Center for Urban Educational Excellence. She is the author of numerous books on educating children of poverty and color and on improving teacher education. As a child she experienced segregation growing up …

Victoria Woodhull on the 47%

Victoria Claflin Woodhull, the first woman candidate for the presidency of the United States, ran for office in 1872, sixty years before women had the right to vote. The first woman stockbroker, opening a brokerage firm on Wall Street with her sister in 1870, and first woman newspaper publisher, Woodhull was born poor, received only three years of …

Leymah Gobwee on Peace

Women wake up--you have a voice in the peace process! Leymah Gobwee won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Inspired by reading Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and theologian John Yoder, and Kenyan author Hizkias Assef, this mother of four brought the women of Liberia together to face down a corrupt government and end war.  Through public singing and praying in …

Susan B. Anthony on the Right to Vote

I wonder what Susan B. Anthony would say in this age of voter identification and suppression? This is what she said at her trial for voting illegally in 1873. ...the United States Constitution, the supreme law of this land, says, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens; no State shall deny or abridge the privileges …

Margaret Atwood on the Need to Scratch

Award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood was born in 1939.  She has written upwards of twenty books, numerous short stories, and poems. Her writing has consistently crossed genres and poked at sacred cows. Atwood characterizes her writing as social science fiction. In the historical novel Alias Grace, Atwood tells the tale of Grace Marks, a young …

Beatrice Potter Webb on Ruling the World

Beatrice Potter Webb  (1858-1943) is best known for the work she did as a social reformer and economist with her husband Sidney Webb and for coining the term collective bargaining. Together they published the book The History of Trade Unionism and traveled England trying to break down the poor laws. In 1895 they founded the …

Harriet Kesia Hunt on Critics

Harriet Kesia Hunt (1805-1875) was a self-supporting spinster school teacher when she first became interested in medicine. Her younger sister suffered a debilitating aliment that was exacerbated by the treatment she received from the physicians.             Hunt studied homeopathic medicine under Elizabeth and Richard Mott who identified her sister’s illness as tuberculosis and cured her. In …

bell hooks on I wanted to write…

A passionate scholar, philosopher, and educator, bell hooks is the critically acclaimed author of books on racism, feminism, education, class, and culture. A listing of just some of her titles shows the breadth and depth of thought and concerns: Critical Thinking, Teaching to Transgress, Sisters of the Yam, Teaching Community: The Politics of Hope, Art …

Jane Addams on Democracy

Jane Addams  [1860-1935] is well-known for her work at Hull House helping the indigent. She is lesser known for her crusade for women's suffrage and world peace, and her philosophical writings. In 1931 she became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams had three ethical principles we would do well to hold today. Teach by …

Virginia Penny On Women’s Employment

 To write her book The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Women’s Work (1863) Viginia Penny interviewed hundreds of women across the country. In the book she listed five hundred possible occupations for women, railed against the artificial barriers that prevented women from entering certain fields of works, and critiqued the wage differential between men and women. When …

Lucretia Mott on Truth

The Quaker minister, Lucretia Mott, lived from 1793 to 1880. During that time she fought to reform society in every way she could. She believed that forming organized groups and taking action against social injustice was the way to bring about change. She founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (1833), was the impetus behind the …

Tara Fox Hall on Getting Published

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first e-novella, Surrender to Me, was published in September 2011. Her first full-length novel, …