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Reading Groups

Women, Law, and History Reading Group

The Women, Law and History Reading Group is led by Dr. Sally J. Kenney, Dr. Clare Daniel, and Dr. Karissa Haugeberg, and meets at 4:00 PM at the Newcomb Institute offices in the Commons.

The Injustices of Rape: How Activists Responded to Sexual Violence, 1950-1980 by Catherine O. Jacquet
Monday, February 3, 2020

Catherine O. Jacquet will speak at Newcomb Institute on February 7, 2020 as part of the Rape and Sexual Assault Conference.

From 1950 to 1980, activists in the black freedom and women's liberation movements mounted significant campaigns in response to the injustices of rape. These activists challenged the dominant legal and social discourses of the day and redefined the political agenda on sexual violence for over three decades. How activists framed sexual violence--as either racial injustice, gender injustice, or both--was based in their respective frameworks of oppression. The dominant discourse of the black freedom movement constructed rape primarily as the product of racism and white supremacy, whereas the dominant discourse of women's liberation constructed rape as the result of sexism and male supremacy. Jacquet examines these two movement responses together, explaining when and why they were in conflict, when and why they converged, and how activists both upheld and challenged them. Throughout, she uses the history of antirape activism to reveal the difficulty of challenging deeply ingrained racist and sexist ideologies, the unevenness of reform, and the necessity of an intersectional analysis to combat social injustice.

The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom
Monday, March 9, 2020

Sarah M. Broom will speak at Tulane University on March 19 - 21, 2020 as part of the New Orleans Book Festival.

A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser-known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. 

Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover by Ruth Marcus
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ruth Marcus will speak at Tulane University on April 1, 2020 as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series.

In Supreme Ambition, Washington Post journalist and legal expert Ruth Marcus goes behind the scenes to document the thirty-year mission by conservatives to win a majority on the Supreme Court and the lifelong ambition of Brett Kavanaugh to secure his place in that victory. In that sense, Marcus has delivered a master class in how Washington works and an unforgettable case study in supreme ambition.  Marcus answers the most pressing questions surrounding this historical moment: How did Kavanaugh get the nomination? Was Blasey Ford’s testimony credible? What does his confirmation mean for the future of the court? Were the Democrats outgunned from the start? Supreme Ambition is the definitive account of a pivotal moment in modern history, one that was thirty years in the making and that will shape the judicial system of America for generations to come.

Past Reads

  • Babcock, Barbara. Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. (August 2013)
  • Bacal, Jessica. The Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong. New York: Plume, 2014.
  • Baggett, Ashley. Intimate Partner Violence in New Orleans: Gender, Race, and Reform, 1840-1900. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2017. (October 2019)
  • Block, Sharon. Rape and Sexual Power in Early America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. (September 2019)
  • Colman, Penny. A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements Of Frances Perkins. Bloomington: ASJA Press, 1993. (May 2015)
  • Freedman, Estelle. Maternal Justice: Miriam Van Waters and the Female Reform Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. (November 2014)
  • Gerber, Robin. Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage. New York: Penguin Group, 2002. (Fall 2014)
  • Gillibrand, Kirsten. Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World. New York: Ballantine Books, 2014.
  • Hirshman, Linda. Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World. New York: HarperCollins, 2015. (December 2015)
  • Irons, Jenny. Reconstituting Whiteness: The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2010. (April 2016)
  • Madriz, Esther. Nothing Bad Happens to Good Girls: Fear of Crime in Women’s Lives. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
  • Manne, Kate. Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. (August 2019)
  • Mayeri, Serena. Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011. (September 2015)
  • McCurry, Stephanie. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. Harvard University Press, 2012. (October 2015)
  • McGuire, Danielle L. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. Vintage; Reprint edition October 2011. (September 2013)
  • Rathbone, Cristina. A World Apart: Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars. New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2005. (November 2013)
  • Simmons, LaKisha Michelle. Crescent City Girls: The Lives of Young Black Women in Segregated New Orleans. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015. (July 2016)
  • Sotomayor, Sonia. My Beloved World. New York: Vintage Books, 2014. (July 2013)
  • Stein, Deborah Jiang. Prison Baby. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. (Fall 2014)
  • Strebeigh, Fred. Equal: Women Reshape American Law. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. (October 2013)
  • Taddeo, Lisa. Three Women. New York: Avid Reader Press, 2019. (January 2020)
  • Waldman, Ayelet and Robin Levi. Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2011. (Fall 2014)
  • Wheeler, Leigh Ann. How Sex Became a Civil Liberty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. (July 2015)


American Studies Reading Group

January 30, 2020, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Newcomb Institute, Diboll Gallery
Discussion of Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal about Generation Z’s New Path to Success by Shalini Shankar. For more information, contact Dr. Aidan Smith at

Reproductive Justice Faculty Reading Group

The Reproductive Justice Faculty Working Group, a group of around 50 Tulane faculty, is dedicated to developing interdisciplinary collaboration, courses, and research relating to reproductive rights and reproductive health. Current members represent Tulane's School of Liberal Arts, Law, Public Health, Social Work, and Science and Engineering. The Reproductive Justice Faculty Working Group meets throughout the school year for reading group discussions and speaker series. Anyone interested in joining can email Dr. Clare Daniel at