Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.
The Intimate, Enduring Politics of "Women's Work" in America.

Nell’s next book (also her PhD dissertation) will examine paid and unpaid care and domestic labor—“women’s work”—in America through the lens of intimate politics. Through stories of American women, their caring for children, the elderly, and households, the book will illuminate the ways in which women’s unpaid and paid care labor has been and continues to be political, as a factor of gender, class, and race.

The 1970s feminist maxim that “the personal is political” endures. This book updates that idea, and offers new insight into how and why it matters.

Synthetic and ambitious, the project explores a problem: women’s work and the American “care crisis” as an enduring terrain of gendered, racial, and economic subjugation. The book also highlights demands for solutions: efforts for better care policy for all, and for rights, dignity, recognition, and equality for all women.

Written for both general and academic audiences, the project explores the ways we understand, give meaning to, and devalue care labor and women’s work. It focuses on women and gender, but also centers race, the activism of women of color, and the role of white domesticity in enforcing social hierarchies. Nell uses both journalistic reporting and archival sources in revealing and analyzing these meanings of women’s work and care.