For those who have been reading Maria Tamboukou’s books work over the years, this book is a denouement of sorts. For those not yet familiar with the pleasures of reading Tamboukou, a distinctive pleasure awaits. Everything comes together via Tambakou’s ‘epistolary poethics’, which put an Arendtian agonism of love into conversation with the private and political writings of four revolutionary women: Désirée Véret-Gay, Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Goldman and Rose Pesotta. Agonism is also in the archive, with Tamboukou’s focus on women whose love letters code private and public. And readers are in the archive with Tamboukou, searching for the shards of revolutionary women’s writing, dispersed into the archives of men made more famous, or reading Emma Goldman’s papers, aware of their pending move under precarious conditions from the reduced shelter of a neo-liberalizing university to a community center. The pain of loss, thrill of discovery, and responsibility of care are braided together as Tamboukou wondrously guides her readers through the epistolarium, its history, and its politics. A must-read for scholars or fans of women's and labour history, feminism, anarchism, or Hannah Arendt."- Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor, Brown University, USAThe lives of four ‘revolutionary women’ read through Hannah Arendt’s thinking and writing about love: Tamboukou offers us a compelling theoretical narrative on the fascinating entanglements between love and politics. This book convincingly – and joyously - argues that love is a crucial epistemological tool for feminist theory and a vital force for feminist practice.- Olivia Guaraldo, Professor in Political Philosophy and Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Political Studies, University of Verona, ItalyIn an important contribution to feminist love studies, Tamboukou offers a highly original synthesis of materialist thought on private life. Beginning with a relational concept of the self and building upon the notion of love as a potential source of power for women, in her analysis of love letters by four notable feminist socialists, Tamboukou succeeds in ‘realigning’ emotional attachments, effectively closing the gap between the personal and the political.
- Femmes Auteurs Anglo-AMéricaines [FAAAM], Paris Nanterre University, France



In spite of the fact that the majority of women in the Global North live on the economic brink, unable to realise their educational dreams and aspirations, the vital issue of social class, and of the ‘class ceiling’, seems to occupy a limited space within white feminist and gender studies. Maria Tamboukou’s overall scholarly work is a conspicuous exception and a timely political intervention in the field. Reaffirming her lifelong commitment to foreground women’s ‘marginalised and submerged stories’ (p. 21) through her genealogical readings, in her latest book, Women’s Workers’ Education, Life Narratives and Politics: Geographies, Histories, Pedagogies, Tamboukou unveils women workers’ passion for education and the potential it has for revolutionising their lives. The author adopts a narrative and auto/biographical approach to the archives of labour movements mainly in the US but also in the UK and France. In this way, not only does she manage to cast a fresh light on our understanding of the subtleties and nuances of labour movements’ developments and directions but also, more importantly, she is in the position of highlighting women’s involvement in and contribution to the intellectual life of the working classes in the first half of the twentieth century.
-Aggeliki Sifaki, Gender and Education


What riches lie within Maria Tamboukou’s wonderful Sewing, Writing and Fighting. She provides an analytically outstanding feminist genealogy of the submerged histories of some fascinating women, who were socialist revolutionaries, unionised workers, militant feminists, thinkers and writers as well as seamstresses, and in a way that is both engaging and thought-provoking.Liz Stanley, Professor of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

The meticulous and detailed approach to exploring women’s lives that we have come to expect from Maria Tamboukou is turned in this book to the voices of Parisian seamstresses during the July Monarchy (1830–1850) … So often our research into women’s lives yields an enormous amount of apparently disconnected and potentially irrelevant information that we reluctantly return to the depths of an archive box. Tamboukou’s careful theoretical framing provides an excellent example of why, and how, the minutiae of women’s lives can be brought together to make sense of both the past and the present.
-Stephanie Spencer, Women's History Review
The most thoughtful integration of paintings and epistolary narrative that I know. ‘Nomadic Narratives, Visual Forces’ shows how letters do more than depict the ‘real’ painter; the analysis problematizes the relations between visual and written texts. Insights from the author’s meticulous archival research with autobiographical materials engage dynamically with Gwen John's art work, resulting in a dialogic narrative about the complex subjectivity of a woman artist working in a male-dominated world. Drawing on contemporary theory, Maria Tamboukou offers a new analytic perspective on the relation between the visual and the epistolary, which will push the ‘narrative turn’ in social research in exciting directions.
-Catherine Kohler Riessman, Boston College





Tamboukou's discussion of even the most complex theories is clear and engaging. She articulates Foucault's ideas in a refreshing way, and there is an excellent account of the ways in which key feminist theorists have both built on and revealed the limitations of Foucault's work. Tamboukou also offers an excellent account of genealogy and of Foucault's development of his thinking in this regard. And as well as elucidating and making accessible the ideas of others, Tamboukou makes some interesting theoretical contributions of her own. Particularly useful for educationalists were her application of Foucault's notion of dispositif, and her application of Braidotti's theorisation of the 'nomad', to the field of education. This book is highly recommended for two different groups of people: first, postgraduate students and academics who seek an accessible but exciting account of Foucauldian ideas and their development and application by other contemporary theorists; and second, researchers interested in the important issues concerning women, education and identity that the book discusses, and to which the book makes an excellent theoretical contribution. - Becky Francis, Studies in the Education of Adults