New Review: Feminist Media History: Suffrage, Periodicals and the Public Sphere

Red Chidgey reviews a book focusing on the feminist periodicals which emerged from the campaign for women’s right to vote, highlighting the central role of grassroots publications to engage the wider public

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Considering how important independently-made media can be for feminist movements – it can be argued that grassroots publications are the lifeblood of any mobilisation, allowing women and their allies to speak in their own words and to connect supporters together – it seems rather curious that little critical work has been done on analysing such sources as part of feminist history. Thankfully, a new book by Maria DiCenzo with Lucy Delap and Leila Ryan, Feminist Media History: Suffrage, Periodicals and the Public Sphere, seeks to reclaim women’s radical publishing histories and to place activist media back on the map.

Focusing on periodicals from Edwardian society, when the first-wave of suffrage agitation hit new heights, this fascinating book combines original research into publications such as Votes for Women, The Common Cause, the Englishwoman and the Freewoman, with a sturdy look at social movement theory, press history and contemporary media studies.

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