European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History

By Karen Offen | Go to book overview
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At the top of the acknowledgments list must come Susan Groag Bell, with whom I fashioned Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, published in 1983. Thanks, too, to Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, and Susan Mosher Stuard for inviting me to contribute an essay on the comparative history of nineteenth-century European feminisms to the second edition of Becoming Visible: Women in European History ( 1987), and to Merry Wiesner, with whom I worked on the severely truncated version that appeared in the third edition ( 1998). I owe a particular debt to the academic colleagues whose disagreements about what feminism is--or was historically--provoked my ruminations on Defining Feminism ( 1988). I am also grateful to Michael S. Roth, without whose initial invitation I would never have undertaken this book, which displaced so many other unfinished projects from the tall stack on my desk.

Deep thanks are also due to my colleagues and faithful friends Marilyn J. Boxer, Edith B. Gelles, Sondra Herman, Mary Lynn Stewart, Ann Taylor Allen, and Whitney Walton, who provided rich and sustaining doses of moral and intellectual support at critical moments in the course of this lengthy project. This is not to neglect the continuing enthusiasm of the Scholars' Group and staff at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, without whose cheering section I could never have completed this work. Many other generous colleagues assisted by writing supporting letters for grants, reading individual chapters or clusters, providing expertise on short notice, and saving me from embarrassing mistakes; they will receive here a silent thanks--lest there be no one left to serve as a reviewer of the completed book. Although I have immensely appreciated their input, I have not always taken their advice and remain wholly responsible for the published text. Finally, I wish to thank Gerda Lerner for skipping over this period of continental European feminism in The Creation of Feminist Consciousness ( 1993) and leaving me a clear coast. I also thank Joan Wallach Scott for inadvertently helping me to clarify my approach; in response to her treatment of French feminisms,


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