Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gendered Disruptions in the 2016 Presidential Election and the Ghost of Susan B. Anthony

Call for Book Chapters:


Christine Kray, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rochester
Institute of Technology (

Hinda Mandell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Communication,
Rochester Institute of Technology


Gendered disruptions with historical echoes played prominently into the
volatile 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald
Trump. The campaign featured historic elements from the beginning. It
marked the first time that a woman was nominated to lead a major political
party in the race for president of the United States. With the potential of
Clinton to crack the “highest, hardest glass ceiling,” ritual activity
reached new levels at the Rochester, NY gravesite of Susan B. Anthony, the
nineteenth-century activist who dedicated her life’s work toward women’s
suffrage. Throughout the year, visitors paid tribute and left tokens of
gratitude, and in what has become a new Election Day tradition—propelled by
social media—on the day of the New York State primary in April 2016,
visitors affixed “I Voted” stickers to her tombstone. Plans were laid for
ceremonial gatherings at her gravesite on Election Day and the day after.

Throughout the 2008 primary campaign and again in 2015, Clinton appeared
reticent to position herself as a woman candidate. And yet, events pushed
gender front and center, conjuring up memories of earlier suffragist
struggles. In April 2016, Trump accused Clinton of “playing the woman
card.” In July, when Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination,
she noted that her mother had been born on the very day that Congress
passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which would give women the
right to vote. Then, just weeks before the election, after audio recordings
were released in which Donald Trump boasted of committing sexual assault,
and polls revealed that women were increasingly rejecting Trump’s
candidacy, a #RepealThe19th social media hashtag was created. While Anthony
had not lived to see the 19th Amendment ratified, she and her fellow
suffragists wrote the language that would enfranchise women in 1920. And
suddenly this nineteenth-century figure and the ideals she fought for
became increasingly relevant in an election that saw a woman candidate and
women voters as key players. The website,, features
women who were born before the ratification of the 19th Amendment who
intended to vote for Hillary Clinton. Video “history lessons” and memes
circulated on social media as contributors aimed to teach others about the
historical advances of women, implying that the work remains unfinished.

As an interdisciplinary project, this book invites contributions from
historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political theorists,
journalists, and media and public history scholars to investigate how
public memory of Susan B. Anthony and the 19th Amendment has shaped
narratives of the 2016 presidential election, and the ways in which the
campaign has brought fresh attention to her work and life. This book
project speaks to the ways in which politics are not merely pragmatic, but
are always enveloped in personal and historical imaginations. Through our
electoral engagement, conversations, and voting practices, we reach out to
revered historical figures, engage in practices of deep symbolic
significance, and position ourselves within a grand historical
trajectory. Possible
chapter topics include:

·      Susan B. Anthony’s grave as a place of pilgrimage during the
election season

·      Intersectionality of race and gender—for example, how the
complicated friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass was
invoked in the competition between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

·      The #RepealThe19th social media hashtag

·      Suffragist fashion and Hillary Clinton’s sartorial choices

·      Bad hombres and “locker room talk”: Masculinist discourse and

·      The role of women voters as potentially holding the balance of power
in this election

·      Efforts to disenfranchise women voters who support Clinton

·      Ways in which some women have coalesced around Clinton’s historic

·      Public memory of Susan B. Anthony, feminism and anti-feminism this
election season

·      Women who opposed the 19th Amendment and women supporters of Donald
Trump—Are there similarities in rhetoric, belief, or socio-economic

·      Theorizing of feminism and misogyny in public spaces on the campaign

·      Generations: Are younger women inspired by historical women’s rights

·      History lessons + social media: Positioning Clinton within a century
of women’s rights

·      “Nasty women,” “grab him by the ball-ots,” “pussy grabs back”

·      Would SBA have voted for HRC? A close reading of her writings and

·      Pronouncements from the (pro-life) Susan B. Anthony List about
Clinton’s candidacy

*Call for Chapters:*

We issue this Call for Chapters for a book intended for peer-reviewed
publication. We seek contributions that are appropriate for scholarly
audiences yet also accessible to undergraduate and public readers. If you
would like to participate in this volume, please send us ( a
500-word abstract by January 15, 2017, along with a bio not to exceed 250
words. We also welcome creative contributions, including fiction, poetry,
cartoons, photography and song. Completed chapters (of 5,000 words) would
need to be submitted by April 15, 2017. This book project has strong
interest from a Palgrave Macmillan editor with whom we have worked before. All
scholarship and submissions should be previously unpublished and not
under consideration elsewhere.

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