Inspired by new research by Adrienne Mayor, available for the first time in her forthcoming book The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, we present this personality quiz. Leave a comment below with your Amazon alter ego.
Quick Questions for Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World
Adrienne Mayor is a research scholar in classics and the history of science at Stanford University. Her work searches for precursors to modern science in mythologies and folk traditions of peoples around the world. Mayor’s previous books include The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times (2000) and Fossil Legends of the First Americans (2007), which examine pre-Darwinian cultural awareness of prehistoric life in antiquity and Native America, linking legends of monsters to the discovery of fossils. Her biography The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy was a finalist for 2009 National Book Award in Nonfiction and won the 2010 Gold Medal in Biography at the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Mayor’s upcoming book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, explores the familiar Greek myth of warrior women from a global perspective. Citing stories from China, India, Egypt, Persia, and Central Asia, as well as new archaeological discoveries, Mayor unearths the roots of Amazon legends and reveals some surprising insights on gender in the ancient world.
Now, on to the questions!
What would you have been if not an historian?
If I had not become so obsessed with uncovering germs of historical and scientific realities in ancient mythology and legends, I would still be a full-time freelance copyeditor for about a dozen trade publishers and university presses (including Princeton University Press). That was my career until I published my first book (The First Fossil Hunters for PUP, 2000). Before I began concentrating on writing, in my free time I was an artist, making and selling etchings illustrating stories based on my readings in classical literature.
“I find writing a book a slow, intricate process, a kind of obstacle course punctuated with great rewards.”
What was the most influential book you’ve read?
Two influential books: The Histories of Herodotus, the world’s first “anthropologist,” an insatiably curious Greek historian who reported on barbarian cultures based on his research, travels, and interviews in the fifth century BC. I was also influenced by Mott T. Greene’s Natural Knowledge in Preclassical Antiquity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).
Describe your writing process. How long did it take you to finish your book? Where do you write?
I had been gathering material about ancient women warriors for decades. But I began the serious research for The Amazons in 2009 and started the actual writing in 2012. I find writing a book a slow, intricate process, a kind of obstacle course punctuated with great rewards. But research is always thrilling and I tend to incorporate newfound material up to the very last minute. I write in two very different places: my desk in Palo Alto, California is piled high with myriad jumbled books and papers whose stratigraphy is a challenge. Summers in Bozeman, Montana, I write in a spare space, surrounded by interesting rocks and fossils instead of books, on an old oak table with nothing but my laptop.
What was the most interesting thing you learned from writing this book?
Thanks to modern DNA testing, we now know that a significant number of battle-scarred skeletons buried with weapons in ancient steppe nomad graves belonged to women, the real-life models for Greek myths about Amazons. So Amazons were not just a figment of the Greek imagination, brought to life in exciting myths only to be killed off by Greek heroes. But even more surprising, it turns out that the Greeks were not the only people of antiquity to spin tales about heroic warrior women. And the non-Greek stories of warlike women differ radically from the dark mythic script demanding death for all Amazons. Instead, legendary heroes of Persia, Egypt, and Asia were so impressed with the valor of their female foes that they desired the women as companions in love and war. We are used to thinking of Amazon myths in terms of violence against uppity women, but the ancient evidence also reveals a vision of gender equality.
How did you come up with the title and jacket?
My working title was “Amazons in Love and War” because there are as many romances as battle stories about warrior women. The final title embraces both mythology and history and conveys the geographic scope of the book far beyond the ancient Mediterranean world. I wanted to find a unique picture for the cover, something arresting and unexpected, a departure from the standard classical Greek vase or Roman statue. I was struck by the strong image and narrative quality of a postage stamp issued by the Kyrgyz Republic. It shows the horsewoman-archer Saikal, heroine of the most famous Central Asian epic poem Manas. The black and white illustration is by Teodor Gercen, a German artist who worked in Kyrgyzstan.
What are you reading right now?
I am enjoying a well-researched adventure novel translated from Danish, The Lost Sisterhood (Random House, 2014) by Anne Fortier (Ph.D. Aarhus University, History of Ideas). The story follows an Oxford professor on a quest in North Africa and Troy to discover a legendary “Amazon treasure,” following clues left by her eccentric grandmother who claimed an Amazon queen as her ancestor.
Adrienne Mayor is the author of:
|The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor
Hardcover | September 2014 | $29.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691147208
536 pp. | 6 x 9 | 10 maps | Reviews
Deborah Jordan Brooks’s Double Whammy: He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates Wins Two Awards
A round of applause for Deborah Jordan Brooks: the celebrated Princeton University Press author has scooped up not one, but two awards for her latest book, He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates.
The first comes courtesy of the American Political Science Association, who has named the book the Winner of the 2014 Victoria Schuck Award. This prize is awarded annually for the best book published on women and politics and carries a prize of $1,000. Initially established to honor the legacy of Victoria Schuck and her commitment to women and politics, the award recognizes and encourages research and publication by women in the field.
The second, awarded by the International Society of Political Psychology, has dubbed Brooks’s book the Winner of the 2014 David O. Sears Award. This prize is awarded to the best book published in the field of political psychology of mass politics, including political behavior, political values, political identities, and political movements, released during the previous calendar year. In keeping with the scholarship of David O. Sears, the award-winning work must “demonstrate the highest quality of thought and make a major substantive contribution to the field of political psychology.”
Deborah Jordan Brooks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. She received her B.A. in both Politics and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and completed both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale University. From 1998 to 2003, Brooks also served as the Senior Research Director for the Gallup Organization, which “provides data-driven news based on U.S. and world polls, daily tracking, and public opinion research.”
Deborah Jordan Brooks is the author of:
|He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates by Deborah Jordan Brooks
Paperback | 2013 | $26.95 / £18.95 | ISBN: 9780691153421
Hardcover | 2013 | $65 / £44.95 | ISBN: 9780691153414
240 pp. | 6 x 9 | 18 tables. | eBook | ISBN: 9781400846191 |Reviews Table of Contents Chapter 1[PDF]
From chapter one of Deborah Jordan Brooks’ He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates:
The 2012 elections increased the number of women in national office further, with a record number of both women House members (81) and women senators (20) sworn into office the following January. Several states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wisconsin) elected women Senators for the first time ever, while New Hampshire elected the first-ever all women congressional delegation, along with a woman governor to boot. Describing the 2012 results, Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post claimed that, “Twenty years after the election that was heralded as the ‘year of the woman’ comes another one that could be called that.” While representing significant progress over a relatively short time, the ratios of female to male political leaders are still nowhere near gender parity at any level of American government.
We are pleased to announce the publication of
He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates
by Deborah Jordan Brooks.
We invite you to read chapter one at: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s10033.pdf
While there are far more women in public office today than in previous eras, women are still vastly underrepresented in this area relative to men. Conventional wisdom suggests that a key reason is because female candidates start out at a disadvantage with the public, compared to male candidates, and then face higher standards for their behavior and qualifications as they campaign. He Runs, She Runs is the first comprehensive study of these dynamics and demonstrates that the conventional wisdom is wrong.
With rich contextual background and a wealth of findings, Deborah Jordan Brooks examines whether various behaviors–such as crying, acting tough, displays of anger, or knowledge gaffes–by male and female political candidates are regarded differently by the public. Refuting the idea of double standards in campaigns, Brooks’s overall analysis indicates that female candidates do not get penalized disproportionately for various behaviors, nor do they face any double bind regarding femininity and toughness. Brooks also reveals that before campaigning begins, women do not start out at a disadvantage due to gender stereotypes. In fact, Brooks shows that people only make gendered assumptions about candidates who are new to politics, and those stereotypes benefit, rather than hurt, women candidates.
Proving that it is no more challenging for female political candidates today to win over the public than it is for their male counterparts, He Runs, She Runs makes clear that we need to look beyond public attitudes to understand why more women are not in office.
Deborah Jordan Brooks is associate professor of government at Dartmouth College. Previously, she was a senior research director at the Gallup Organization. For more information about this new book, please visit: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10033.html
Daphne Fairbairn, author of Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom, completed a Q&A for National Geographic in which she covers some of the broader themes of the book. Check it out below!
Your spouse may baffle you at times, but does he latch on to your rear as a miniscule parasite 500,000 times smaller than you?
That’s what a male seadevil does. Is your honey 50 times your size and liable to eat you after a snuggle? Let’s hope not, else she’d be a garden spider.
e animal kingdom is full of amatory pairs whose extreme physical differences would give a matchmaker pause. But many of these dimorphic differences make good evolutionary sense, Daphne J. Fairbairn explains in her book Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom.
National Geographic Senior Writer Rachel Hartigan Shea spoke with Fairbairn, a biologist at the University of California, Riverside, about why in nature, love isn’t always one size fits all.
Why are the differences between the sexes in some animals so extreme?
If you are coming into the world as a male, the way you get your genes into the next generation is getting your sperm to meet up with the eggs of females. So whatever it takes to do that is how the males are going to turn out. (Related Q&A: “Unlikely Animal Friendships.”)
March is Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month pays tribute and celebrates the struggles, contributions, and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States. This year, join Princeton University Press in celebrating all women — both past and present, near and far. This year, we’ve compiled a reading list with some of our best books on women. Grab a book and get reading!
Poets in the Public Sphere: The Emancipatory Project of American Women’s Poetry, 1800-1900
Paula Bernat Bennett
Read the Introduction.
Based entirely on archival research, this book traces the emergence of the “New Woman” by examining poetry published by American women in newspapers and magazines between 1800 and 1900.
Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom
Daphne J. Fairbairn
Looking at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, this book sheds astonishing light on what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom. Fairbairn also considers humans and compares our own sexual differences against the vast divisions between the sexes in the animal world.
Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium
Read the Introduction.
This book explores the exceptional roles that women played in the vibrant cultural and political life of medieval Byzantium. Written by one of the world’s foremost historians of the Byzantine millennium, this landmark book evokes the complex and exotic world of Byzantium’s women, from empresses and saints to uneducated rural widows.
Making Silence Speak: Women’s Voices in Greek Literature and Society
Edited by André Lardinois & Laura McClure
Check out Chapter 1.
This collection attempts to recover the voices of women in antiquity from a variety of perspectives: how they spoke, where they could be heard, and how their speech was adopted in literature and public discourse.
Notes on Sontag
Read the Introduction
From our Writers on Writers series, Lopate shows how Sontag raised the bar of critical discourse and offered up a model of a freethinking, imaginative, and sensual woman. Honest yet sympathetic, Lopate’s engaging evaluation reveals a Sontag who was both an original and very much a person of her time.
Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
Check out Chapter 1.
This work is a groundbreaking analysis of Islamist cultural politics through the ethnography of a thriving, grassroots women’s piety movement in the mosques of Cairo, Egypt. This is essential reading for anyone interested in issues at the nexus of ethics and politics, embodiment and gender, and liberalism and post-colonialism.
Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
Read the Introduction.
Deeply researched, powerfully argued, and filled with original readings of familiar and surprising sources, this book overturns everything we thought we knew about Victorian women and the history of marriage and family life. It offers a new paradigm for theorizing gender and sexuality–not just in the Victorian period, but in our own.
Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right
Michelle M. Nickerson
Read the Introduction.
This book tells the story of 1950s southern Californian housewives who shaped the grassroots right in the two decades following World War II. Nickerson describes how red-hunting homemakers mobilized activist networks, institutions, and political consciousness in local education battles, and she introduces a generation of women who developed political styles and practices around their domestic routines.
Women in Western Political Thought
Susan Moller Okin, With a new introduction by Debra Satz
In this pathbreaking study of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Mill, Susan Moller Okin turns to the tradition of political philosophy that pervades Western culture and its institutions to understand why the gap between formal and real gender equality persists.
Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement
Leila J. Rupp
This is a groundbreaking exploration of the “first wave” of the international women’s movement, from its late nineteenth-century origins through the Second World War. Making extensive use of archives in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, Rupp examines the histories and accomplishments of three major transnational women’s organizations to tell the story of women’s struggle to construct a feminist international collective identity.