Women take action

The recently published book, “Action, Influence and Voice: Contemporary South Dakota Women,” calls readers to recognize local women leaders in South Dakota.

Hilton M. Briggs Library and the Agricultural Heritage Museum partnered together to put on a book launch in honor of the book and its editors and contributors.

The book launch took place at the Hilton M. Briggs Library from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on March 17. Event attendees had the chance to buy books and get them signed, meet the editors and talk to a few of the contributors.

Linda Kott, the information services librarian, heard about the book from another librarian and decided that it would be a good event to host at the library. 

“[The library] had been doing some events and we thought this would be a nice match of what we want to do at the library to promote learning, diversity and cultural enrichment and to have fun,” Kott said.

The library partnered with the Agricultural Heritage Museum because the museum published the book.

According to Michelle Glanzer, the Agricultural Heritage Museum curator, “Action, Influence and Voice: Contemporary South Dakota Women” was the second in a series of books published by the museum. The first was called “Peril and Promise: Essays on Community in South Dakota and Beyond.” 

The three editors of the book are Meredith Redlin, Christine Stewart-Nunez and Julie Barst.

“[The book] started as a … collective project to build on the skills and insights of faculty who worked with … the women’s studies program or who were scholars within the area of gender because that transverses all disciplines,” said Redlin, a South Dakota State psychology professor and the former head of the women’s studies minor.

The making of the book was a four year project with a mixture of creative pieces, scholarly articles and interviews conducted by Redlin and two of her graduate students. The creative pieces and scholarly articles cover a variety of subjects. 

“We also decided that we really wanted to hear from women out there, not just those based in creative or intellectual communities, but those out in South Dakota communities and contributing to the status and visibility of women in the state outside of the university so we brought in the interviews,” Redlin said.

The mission behind the book was to create an awareness of the strong women in South Dakota, Redlin said.

One of the other editors, Christine Stewart, an associate professor in the English department, was in charge of editing the creative pieces in the book.

“There are very few books that … focus on women in South Dakota and take this very broad approach,” Stewart said.

Stewart said she wants readers to “get a snapshot of complexity and diversity of women’s lives in South Dakota now.”

The book highlights women all over South Dakota in various disciplines, including women involved in politics, Native American issues, literature, agriculture and various other subjects.

“In some ways we feel that … we’re kind of fly over country and sometimes we feel that we take that on too much and we become fly over people,” Redlin said. “We wanted to be sure to capture the best and the brightest and to raise the profile of contemporary women in South Dakota.”

According to Glazner, the museum was interested in publishing the book “so there would be a voice to communities in the state.”

The book is being sold at the Agricultural Heritage Museum and various places in South Dakota.

“The object was always to make this [the book] accessible to the general public,” Redlin said. “We certainly hope that women all over the state … will find something of interest here.”