cover of book

Calling Home: Working-Class Women's Writings
edited by Janet Zandy
Rutgers University Press, 1990
Cloth: 978-0-8135-1527-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-6808-9 | Paper: 978-0-8135-1528-1
Library of Congress Classification PS508.W73C3 1990
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.809287

Working-class women are the majority of women in the United States, and yet their work and their culture are rarely visible. Calling Home is an anthology of writings by and about working-class women. Over fifty selections represent the ethnic, racial, and geographic diversity of working-class experience. This is writing grounded in social history, not in the academy. Traditional boundaries of genre and periodization collapse in this collection, which includes reportage, oral histories, speeches, songs, and letters, as well as poetry, stories, and essays. The divisions in this collection - telling stories, bearing witness, celebrating solidarity - address the distinction of "by" or "about" working-class women, and show the connections between individual identity and collective sensibility in a common history of struggle for economic justice.

The geography of home, identity, parents, sex, motherhood, the dominance of the job, the overlapping of private and public worlds, the promise of solidarity and community are a few of the themes of this book. Here is a chorus of working class women's voices: Sandra Cisneros, Barbara Garson, Meridel Le Sueur, Tillie Olsen, Barbara Smith, Endesha I. M. Holland, Mother Jones, Nellie Wong, Agnes Smedley, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Sharon Doubiago, Carol Tarlen, Hazel Hall, Margaret Randall, Judy Grahn, and many others!

The aesthetic impulse is shaped by class, but not limited to one ruling class. What connects these writers is a collective consciousness, a class, which rejects bondage and lays claim to liberation through all  the possibilities of language. Calling Home is illustrated with family photographs as well as images of working women by professional photographers.
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