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Book Beat: October 2002

Incorporating Women: A History of Women and Business in the United States

Incorporating Womenby Angel Kwollek-Folland, Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)
Available through Amazon

When a colleague approached Angel Kwolek-Folland about writing a book on the history of women and business, she saw it as a challenging opportunity. Kwolek-Folland is the director of the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, and her first book, published in 1994, focused on men and women in the corporate world from 1870-1930. "We decided there would be a market for a survey on women's business history, but since very little of the primary research had been done, I had to do a fair amount before I could put it together," she says. "It was a different direction for me, since up to then I had approached the subject with a background in women's history, not business."

Kwolek-Folland's book, Incorporating Women: A History of Women and Business in the United States, was published in paperback this year and focuses on two themes: the diversity of women's business experiences and the effects of legal and social conditions on their business opportunities. "You read so often in newspapers and magazines about women in business today, and they talk about it as if it's a brand new phenomenon. But women have always engaged in business, from the smallest home industries to some of the biggest manufacturing concerns," she says.

Kwolek-FollandThe book covers the business experiences of 17th-century Native American fur traders to the producer of the film Top Gun. Throughout the book, readers learn about some of the women—famous, infamous and forgotten—who have engaged in business throughout US history. Kwolek-Folland also argues that although women suffer the effects of structural inequalities and institutional discrimination, they are further divided by racial, economic and class boundaries. "I've talked to business women who've read the book, and they are really turned on by the idea that what they're doing now has a connection to women's history. The book emphasizes that ordinary people make history, and not surprisingly, ordinary people like that!"

As a possible next project, Kwolek-Folland is interested in exploring the gendered cultural differences that emerge in different businesses and particularly workplace rights in the global economy. "Many countries have equal pay or anti-sexual harassment laws. Both Japan and South Africa have gender equity written into their constitutions, for example, but they operate differently. I'm curious about how these seemingly similar laws emerged in such different places, and their relationship to women's position in business."

—Allyson A. Beutke

Nonfinite Structures in Theory and Change

Nonfinite Structures in Theory and Changeby Gary Miller, Departments of Classics and Linguistics
(Oxford, 2002)
Available through Amazon

This book investigates the precise nature of nonfinite structures and explores the ways in which they change. Gary Miller examines a broad range of structures, including traditional infinitives, gerunds and participles across different Indo-European (and some non-Indo-European) languages now and in the past.

As structures which are nonfinite in some languages are not so in others, the question arises whether the concept 'nonfinite' has any meaning or explanatory power. In seeking an answer to this conundrum, the author shows that infinitives with subject person agreement, such as in West Greenlandic, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Welsh and Hungarian, share properties with prototypical nonfinite formations. Miller examines languages with morphologically marked tense on infinitives, including Ancient Greek and Latin, and Modern Turkish. He demonstrates that nonfinite structures that can be assigned non-structural (inherent or semantic) case differ systematically from those with either structural or no case.


Worldviews, Religion, and the Environment

Worldviews, Religion, and the Environmentby Richard C. Foltz, Department of Religion
(Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2002)
Available through Amazon

What do the various cultural traditions of the world say about human responsibility toward the natural environment? Western civilization has long seen nature as an adversary to be overcome, and resources as existing only to benefit human beings. Consequently, many contemporary debates have begun from the assertion that Western values and Christianity in particular are to blame for the present global crisis. Is this accusation valid? Are other traditions more "eco-friendly"? Is an ecological Christianity possible?

In an age when our very life support systems are in jeopardy, the relationship of humanity to nature needs to be re-addressed in spiritual as well as material terms. Within the world of faith institutions, there has been increasing attention in recent years to environmental stewardship issues. The religious dimension of the environmental crisis is increasingly acknowledged by those working in other areas of environmental studies as well. Many scientists and policy makers now concede that in their work they frequently run up against problems resulting from differences in culture and values. As a result, there is an ever-increasing interest on campuses across the country in adding environmental studies courses within the humanities to balance those in the sciences and policy making. Many philosophy departments now offer courses in environmental ethics; religion scholars, however, have a distinct and perhaps broader perspective to offer, especially those who teach world religions.


Jane Dominguez (Kwolek-Folland)

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