Stephanie A. Smith

Selected Works

fiction
WARPAINT is a lyrical, emotionally charged novel about three American women painters (Liz Moore, C.C. Dyer and Quiola Kerr) at a crucial juncture: C.C. is diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer and must fight for her life. All three come together for a Liz Moore retrospective at MOMA in April 2002, just before C.C.'s radical mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, a course of treatment which will eventuate in C.C. making a choice about her life and career, a choice that will have far-reaching and unforeseen consequences.
Fiction
In the 21st century, humankind stands on the brink of extinction. The combined forces of environmental decay and debilitating diseases have brought civilization to a standstill. In a small Oregon community, however, a few survivors struggle to come to terms with the strange mutations that have transformed their children into the only hope for a viable future.
Essays
Household Words chronicles the endurance of American common sense through the language of politics.

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Household Words

Looking in detail at words that "treat people as things, and things as people, and do so at that strange space where joking, ridiculing, demeaning, oppressing, resisting, and regretting converge," Household Words is a study of how certain words act as indices of political and social change, perpetuating anxieties and prejudices even as those ways of thinking have been seemingly resolved or overcome by history. Specifically, Stephanie A. Smith examines six words: "bloomer, sucker, bombshell, scab, nigger, and cyber" and explores how these words with their contemporary "universal" meaning appeal to a dangerous idea about what it means to be human, an idea that denies our history of conflict. She traces "bombshell" from Marilyn Monroe through women's liberation and the sexual revolution to Monica Lewinsky, "scab" from blemish to strikebreaker, "sucker" from lollipop to the routinely cheated. Exposing the ambiguities in each of the words, Smith reveals that our language is communal and cutting, democratic and discriminatory, social and psychological.