Review by Choice Review
Long awaited by scholars and students in women's studies and related disciplines, this set stands as a unique and indispensable multidisciplinary reference work. International in focus, the encyclopedia "represents more than three decades of worldwide scholarship--especially, though not exclusively, feminist scholarship in numerous fields of knowledge." Editors Kramarae (Univ. of Oregon) and Spender (Univ. of Queensland, Australia) gathered knowledgeable contributors from many disciplines, languages, and cultures. Compilation and organization of the articles were coordinated by specialist topic editors who oversaw 13 thematic categories (e.g., arts and literature; ecology and environment; health, reproduction, and sexuality; history and philosophy of feminism; households and families; religion and spirituality; violence and peace; and, of course, women's studies). A project so ambitious but limited to four volumes must necessarily omit some categories of information. The editors decided that instead of biographical entries, information about individual women would be incorporated into entries addressing relevant "ideas and actions." Articles emphasize issues and ideas rather than academic theories, although some theoretical articles are included. Each article provides an introduction to the topic as well as cross-references and citations to additional and more specialized sources of information. Alphabetical and topical lists of articles in the first volume and the exhaustive index in the fourth assure convenient and precise access to information. Since the editors and contributors admirably accomplish their goal of providing a resource suitable for scholars, professionals, and activists as well as for general readers, libraries large and small, academic and public, will find this incomparable encyclopedia an essential acquisition and an invaluable resource. J. Ariel University of California, Irvine
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
This alphabetically organized encyclopedia contains 900 articles relating to global women's issues and written by approximately 450 female subject experts with either university or professional affiliations. The authors are truly international, representing 70 different nations. Aiming to provide "an accessible, trustworthy resource not only for scholars, professionals, and activists, but for the general reader everywhere," the focus is on ideas and actions, excluding biographical articles as well as articles on specific countries, although some countries are examined as case studies (e.g., Aging: Japanese case study). A number of broad topics, such as development and education, are considered region by region (South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, etc.). Entries such as Adolescence, Digital divide, Ecofeminism, Islam, Maternity leave, Quilting, Soap operas, Surgery, and War help demonstrate the set's broad scope. Articles take a survey approach to each topic and display both an international focus and a consistently feminist perspective. Given the relatively high number of contributors, the writing style, which is interesting enough to qualify this as a browsing book, is remarkably consistent entry to entry. The international focus is maintained throughout, yielding a unified, homogenous perspective on social, political, and artistic matters impacting women. Though a few topics are treated in a column or less, most run to three or four. Broad areas, for example, Literature (44 pages), merit extended consideration by region. The weighting of articles is appropriate, statistical tables are included when demographics are discussed, and the cross-referencing, given in small caps under the see also heading at the end of each entry (or each regional section in longer treatments), serves to extend coverage. Following the cross-references, each article or major section includes a list of "References and Further Readings." These bibliographies, generally from four to ten works in length, are comprised of print works for the most part, though some entries do list Web sites. Each volume begins with an alphabetical listing of articles. Volume 1 follows this with a topical listing, sorting the articles into 13 categories ranging from "Arts and Literature" to "Politics and the State." The index at the end of volume four is thoroughly excellent, being both accurate and comprehensive, with major articles on a topic noted in bold type. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women is a must purchase for college and university libraries with women's studies programs and a sound addition to most public and academic libraries.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
The 800-plus entries in this encyclopedia won't be much help to little Letasha or Luke, perusing the categories for a school project. This is a research tool for grownups, written with a decidedly feminist bias. Each essay is signed by the contributor and presumably represents her opinion on the subject addressed. For example, an entry about pornography is dismissive of arguments about free speech and instead focuses on misogynist imagery and sexist stereotypes. Another section opposes women's participation in the armed forces and argues that because the world's militaries maintain a sexual division of labor and power, they cannot, in any way, benefit female enlistees. In addition, individual achievements are mentioned only in the context of the topic they represent. Thus, there are chapters on animal rights, Zionism, and cyborg anthropology but not on Susan B. Anthony, Nawal El Saadawi, or Gloria Steinem. What's more, many of the sections are steeped in academic jargon, making the work inaccessible to those outside the scholarly community. Nonetheless, the book's international focus it bends over backward to include regions of the world and specific countries that rarely figure in more conventional research manuals is laudable and at times even exciting. If only the opinions were as diverse as the ethnic and national range upon which the authors focus. Recommended for academic libraries only. Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.