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Zora Simic

Zora Simic

Zora Simic is an Associate Professor in History and Gender Studies at the University of New South Wales.

Zora Simic reviews 'Doppelganger: A trip into the mirror world' by Naomi Klein

November 2023, no. 459 26 October 2023
For over a decade, Naomi Klein – the avowedly left-wing Canadian journalist and activist, best known for her first and third books, No Logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies (1999) and The Shock Doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism (2007) – has been ‘chronically confused’ for ‘the other Naomi’, American writer Naomi Wolf, who first made her name with the feminist best seller The Be ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'The Shrinking Nation: How we got here and what can be done about it' by Graeme Turner

October 2023, no. 458 24 September 2023
'State-of-the-nation’ books are a tricky genre: for every The Lucky Country (1964), Donald Horne’s bestselling indictment of 1960s Australia, there must be at least a dozen more which fall swiftly into obsolescence. Yet this common fate is not necessarily a bad thing: such books are meant to be timely, not timeless. As an intervention into the contemporary moment, such texts’ success or valu ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner: A memoir' by Grace Tame

December 2022, no. 449 25 November 2022
Grace Tame was sixteen years old, and it was 2011, when the first account of the repeated sexual assault and child abuse she had endured as a victim of her fifty-eight-year-old high school maths teacher, Nicolaas Bester, appeared in her local newspaper, the Hobart Mercury. She was hanging out with two close friends, their parents were at work, and she thinks it was probably the school holidays. Th ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'Complaint!' by Sara Ahmed

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
In 2016, feminist and queer theorist Sara Ahmed resigned from her post as professor at the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths, University of London, in protest against the failure to address sexual harassment at her institution. Given that she was at the peak of her career and working in a centre she had helped to create, hers was a bold and surprising move, but also entirely consistent wi ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and desire in the age of consent' by Katherine Angel and 'Why We Lost the Sex Wars: Sexual freedom in the #MeToo era' by Lorna Bracewell

June 2021, no. 432 26 May 2021
Among historians of sexuality, it is customary to stress that there was never just one sexual revolution, but many. There were the pop-culture versions, the countercultural expressions and perhaps most momentously, but least discussed, the everyday or ‘ordinary’ sexual revolution. Or conversely, as French philosopher Michel Foucault so influentially argued in The History of Sexuality Vol. 1: T ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'Feminisms: A global history' by Lucy Delap

April 2021, no. 430 23 March 2021
Lucy Delap, Reader in Modern British and Gender History at the University of Cambridge, is a consummate historian and not one to privilege her own experience. Indeed, one of her chief aims in her innovative new global history of ‘feminisms’ – the plural is important, no matter how inelegant – is to bring to the fore feminists and other activists for women’s rights who are less well known ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'The Better Half: On the genetic superiority of women' by Sharon Moalem

June–July 2020, no. 422 27 May 2020
All authors who are releasing new books during the global pandemic are at a disadvantage, but some less so than others. It helps to have a title that speaks to the moment, which The Better Half, with its central thesis that women are ‘genetically privileged’, certainly does. The coronavirus, we have learnt, tends to affect men more severely than women. Some have attributed the discrepancy to m ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'In The Dream House: A memoir' by Carmen Maria Machado

March 2020, no. 419 17 February 2020
The opening dedication in Carmen Maria Machado’s ground-breaking memoir In The Dream House reads: ‘If you need this book, it is for you.’ Here, Machado offers a gift but also a clue. She wrote this book because she needed to. For close to two years, she was in a lesbian relationship in which her partner was abusive to her. In making sense of it, Machado found a few books here and there, but ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'She Said: Breaking the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement' by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and 'The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An investigation' by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly

December 2019, no. 417 22 November 2019
The worldwide women’s marches of January 2017 were sparked by the election of Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed ‘pussy-grabber’, to the US presidency in November 2016. Among the millions who marched was movie producer Harvey Weinstein. As with Trump, rumours of inappropriate behaviour with women had long plagued Weinstein, but he also had a history of aligning himself with feminist causes. He ... (read more)

Zora Simic reviews 'See What You Made Me Do: Power, control and domestic abuse' by Jess Hill and 'Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo' by Mithu Sanyal

September 2019, no. 414 26 August 2019
Domestic violence and rape are not easy topics to write or read about. It’s not just because of the subject matter itself, as grim and distressing as the details can be. The writer must grapple with centuries of cultural baggage, competing theorisations and research paradigms, and the politicisation of these issues, for better or worse. They have responsibilities to those affected, including amo ... (read more)
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