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Billiken Bookmarks: Summer Reading Picks From SLU Authors
Looking for that next great read? In this mini-series, some of Saint Louis University’s
published authors share their recommendations for memorable summer reading with their
fellow staff, faculty and students.
Amanda Izzo, Ph.D., and Nori Katagiri, Ph.D., from the College of Arts and Sciences,
offer this summer's first recommendations.
This is an important new biography by a noted women’s historian on the most important
twentieth-century U.S. activist you’ve probably never heard of.
Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was in the vanguard of the pivotal social movements of the
twentieth century. She staged an influential protest against the exclusion of African
Americans from institutes of higher education; engaged in direct action to fight segregation
in transportation; launched lunch counter sit-ins; and constructed influential legal
challenges to racial and gender discrimination ten to twenty years before such events
took center stage in the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1950s and 1960s.
She was a founder of the National Organization for Women; an educator in the newly
independent nation of Ghana; the author of instrumental documents that laid the groundwork
for application of the Fourteenth Amendment to anti-discrimination law; and the first
African American woman ordained by the Episcopal Church.
This is a chance for me to catch up on the scholarly literature in my field, but it’s
also an engaging and inspiring read. One of the most important lessons to take away
from Murray’s story is that the pursuit of social justice and human rights is a life-long
Rosenberg has the admirable ability to take historical subjects on their own terms
— richly portraying Murray’s self-fashioning and influence within the social and political
structures of the time. Yet, she also compellingly applies contemporary insights drawn
from intersectional feminism and the transgender liberation movement to analyze Murray’s
profound sense of in-betweenness: as a light-complexioned African American growing
up in genteel poverty in the Jim Crow South; as a coalition-builder who created bridges
between professional and working-class women, white and black feminists; and, most
illuminatingly, as someone who rejected binary understandings of gender, a self-described
“boy-girl” who resisted the strictures of norms of gender and sexuality at a time
when LGBT activism was in its infancy.
This biography uses a wealth of archival material to interpret Murray’s personal journey
alongside the diverse social movements that she influenced. For a U.S. women’s historian
such as myself, the book provides critical new insights into liberal efforts for social
change, and it provides a model of scholarship that uses a single person’s life to
illuminate a wide historical context.
In addition, it touches on Murray’s involvement with an organization about which I
write — the Young Women’s Christian Association.
Amanda Izzo, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Women's and Gender
Studies. She teaches courses on U.S. women's religious history, social movements and
sexuality studies. Her book, Liberal Christianity and Women's Global Activism, will be published by the Rutgers University Press in January 2018. She will also have
an article, "'By Love, Serve One Another': Foreign Mission and the Challenge of World
Fellowship in the YWCAs of Japan and Turkey," forthcoming in the January 2018 issue
of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations.
I chose this book because it offers an important set of policy prescriptions about
what the United States should do in its foreign policy, especially in the Asia-Pacific
region, on a very broad level. These prescriptions come from someone who actually
ran the nation’s policy with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the
Obama administration. A lot of things have changed now with the Trump administration,
but the logic behind the policy remains valid, and there are a lot of things that
readers can learn from his experience.
For a former government official, the book is surprisingly analytical and rich in
details. That's because Campbell was trained initially as a scholar and spent a number
of years later working at research organizations and serving in government. As an
author, I like this book because readers will get multiple benefits from the combination
of scholarly elaboration, style and policy recommendations from someone who made the
policy for a few years during the Obama administration.
This book's premise – that Asia remains central to the success of American foreign
policy and that we should continue to look for opportunities and to confront challenges
there – is an integral part of the courses I teach here at SLU, including “US Foreign
Policy” (Fall 2017) and “Politics of Asia” (Spring 2018). Last year, I traveled to
several countries Campbell discusses in the book, such as Myanmar (the picture of
me was taken in Myanmar, during my interview with the army), Singapore, Japan and
Indonesia. I encourage SLU students to broaden their worldviews by considering travel
to Asia and to studying the region and languages for their future as Asia could provide
potential job opportunities for them after graduation.
Nori Katagiri is an assistant professor of political science. He teaches international
relations, US foreign policy, security studies and politics in Asia. Katagiri is currently
writing a book on Asia, focused particularly on Japan. In 2015, he published his book,
Adapting to Win: How Insurgents Fight and Defeat Foreign States in War, with the University of Pennsylvania Press. He is the inaugural visiting research
fellow at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Air Staff College and was recently a
nonresident fellow of the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy
at West Point.
'Billiken Bookmarks' is a mini-feature series that will appear with new reading recommendations
from Saint Louis University authors throughout July and occasionally throughout the
Check out the next edition of Newslink on Monday, July 17, for more suggestions from
SLU-Madrid's Laura Tedesco, Ph.D., and Joel Goldstein, J.D., of the School of Law.
Are you a passionate reader, eager to share your top summer reading pick with the
SLU community? Share your recommendation with Newslink by July 21 for a chance to win a prize selected with the avid bookworm in mind. A
round-up story featuring the best community recommendations will appear at the end
of this month.