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Episode 274: Joanna Scutts

BY MEGAN LABRISE • June 28, 2022

Joanna Scutts on the secret club that redefined ‘a woman’s place’ in the 1910s.

On this week’s episode, Joanna Scutts discusses Hotbed: Bohemian Greenwich Village and the Secret Club That Sparked Modern Feminism (Seal Press, June 14), a social history of Heterodoxy, a club founded in 1912 that effected social change, including gains in women’s rights.

Scutts, a literary critic, cultural historian, and author of The Extra Woman (2017), first learned of Heterodoxy while researching the history of women’s voting rights in New York state for a New-York Historical Society exhibition honoring their centennial. Founded by feminist organizer Marie Jenney Howe, Heterodoxy brought together 25 charter members from diverse backgrounds to imagine brave new futures. They discussed art, psychology, politics, racial justice, motherhood, work, birth control, and sexual autonomy—spurring art, activism, and social change.

Here’s a little bit from our review of Hotbed: “Perhaps the most important contribution of Heterodoxy was the sense of camaraderie it offered its members for expressing their ideas. These powerful bonds would provide continued shape and meaning to their lives. ‘If there is hope to be found for feminism today…it has to lie in the way we come together, to reexamine the past and redefine the future,’ writes the author. ‘There is more awareness than ever of the ways that women, together, can create change and how much we have to learn from listening to their stories.’ An enlightening contribution to the history of feminism.”

Scutts and host Megan Labrise discuss what united the members of Heterodoxy; the “new way of living” it espoused; how Scutts first learned of the club, and how that discovery became a book; the importance of friendship in shaping who we are and what we become; engaging readers in a way that “bridges the gap” between the 1910s and today; who gets celebrated for dissent, and what manner of dissent is palatable from whom; and much more.

Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.

 

Editors’ picks:

Jumper by Melanie Crowder (Viking)

Music Is a Rainbow by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown)

The Desperate Hours: One Hospital’s Fight To Save a City on the Pandemic’s Front Lines by Marie Brenner (Flatiron Books)

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)

 

Also mentioned on this episode:

Blame by Michelle Huneven (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Search by Michelle Huneven (Penguin Press)

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illus. by Bryan Collier (Orchard/Scholastic)

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illus. by Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books)

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (Crown)

The Visitors by Simon Sylvester (Melville House)

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

Caring for Your Clown by Oleander Bloom

She Who Rides Horses by Sarah V. Barnes

Willfull Desire by Angela Rylander

From Shreds to Riches by David Fisher and Cal Orey

 

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

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