Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review of Encyclopedia of Gender and Society

Encyclopedia of Gender and Society

My review of Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Edited by Jodi O’Brien. (Washington DC: Sage, 2009).
Published in ARBAonline, March 2009.

Alpha males, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Personal is Political,” quilting, and Sojourner Truth. These topics and more are covered in the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. This comprehensive two-volume encyclopedia covers the major theories, research, and issues in contemporary gender studies, providing comparative analysis of the experiences of men and women around the world. Editor Jodi O’Brien, Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Seattle University, assembled 300 international experts in the field to write more than 500 entries.

Offering current scholarship in contemporary gender studies ranging from individual to global issues, the encyclopedia demonstrates how gender shapes our lives, cultural beliefs, and social and economic organization. Rather than covering all gender topics, the encyclopedia provides a lens on recognized areas of social research. Well-trodden issues, like Barbie, body politics, and patriarchy, and relatively new aspects of globalization, like microlending and maquiladoras, receive cutting-edge theoretical treatment.

Topics include crime and criminal justice; economics, international development and human rights; religion; and science and technology. Entries range from about 600 to 2000 words, with related entries, further readings, and websites noted. Entries are listed alphabetically and by theme, and an index completes both volumes. Several longer framing essays provide an overview of contemporary research. Addressing complex gender topics, the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society is a cohesive, usable reference source for both public and academic libraries, well worth its high price.

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