By Megan King |

After a long day of writing, editing, teaching, attending meetings, and experiencing the standard joys of PhD life, we’re sometimes reluctant to switch off the computer and dive into a new book, particularly if that book happens to be a thought-provoking nonfiction piece. In fact, after a stressful day of work, trying to process words at all can feel like a chore, and more often than not, we just want to exchange one screen for another and spend the evening being one with our sofas.

If you’re like me, though, you may find it refreshing to enjoy an evening away from your own research by exploring someone else’s. Reading the work of academics, either inside of outside of your specialty, can be a surprisingly helpful way to introduce yourself to new concepts and terminologies, familiarize yourself with alternative methodologies, reinforce effective ways to structure your writing, or at very least, offer you a bit of respite from the depths of your dissertation. So, in the spirit of expanding your academic horizons and in honor of Women’s History Month, consider cracking opening of the following works written by and about powerful women.

Irena’s Children by Tilar Mazzeo

This heroic narrative tells the incredible story of Irena Sendler and her selfless endeavor to shield thousands of Jewish children from the horrors of the Holocaust.

Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

The groundbreaking work discusses the many ways that women can and should negotiate for equity in all sectors of life.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

As young American women poured into factories to fill positions vacated following the outbreak of World War I, they unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way, and this moving piece tells the tale of how they fought to find their voices and overcome adversity.

Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics by Sylvana Tomaselli

This biographical piece explores the intimate connections between Mary Wollstonecraft’s personal life and the revolutionary work she accomplished.

Negotiators of Change edited by Nancy Shoemaker

Through a series of compelling essays discussing the impacts of European colonization upon indigenous people, this collection explores the evolution of gender roles within Native American tribes from the Cherokee to the Yakima.

Fannie Lou Hamer: America’s Freedom Fighting Woman by Maegan Parker Brooks

Recounting Fannie Lou Hamer’s experiences in being raised across several sharecropping plantations and living with the realities of white supremacy, this accessible piece emphasizes the lasting impacts that she achieved in the face of danger, disparity, and hardship.

We Are Not Born Submissive: How Patriarchy Shapes Women’s Lives by Manon Garcia

Drawing on the works of powerful theorists like Simone de Beauvoir, this work historicizes female submission as a means of unlocking the diverse complexities of women’s experiences.

Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings

This biographical work illuminates the incredible life and work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who, although she was born into slavery and lost her parents at a young age, fought to keep her siblings together as a family while simultaneously maintaining careers as a teacher and a crusading journalist, leading the campaign for women’s suffrage, and vigorously combatting segregation and lynchings.

Stripped and Script: Loyalist Women Writers of the American Revolution by Kacy Dowd Tillman

Supported by a wealth of archival accounts, this fascinating piece explores how loyalist women documented the threats facing female bodies, livelihoods, and personal and familial relationships in the rapidly evolving landscape of eighteenth-century British North America.

Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women’s Vote by Dawn Langan Teele

This important work documents the underlying political incentives that inspired the 19th Amendment.

Image 1: Hello Giggles

Images 2, 3, 4, 5: World of Books

Images 6, 7, 8, 9, 10: Amazon

Megan King is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, studying the process of radicalization in pre-Revolutionary America, and she serves as the Pubs and Publications social media coordinator. You can find further ramblings from her on Twitter.