European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History

By Karen Offen | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Nineteenth Century, 1815-1914

The five chapters of Part II explore the development of feminist theory and practice in the nineteenth century, in parallel with a growing antifeminist backlash. They provide an expanded, updated, and nuanced version of an interpretation that I have been developing since the early 1980s. My account pays close attention to intersections of feminist eruptions with events featured in conventional chronologies in political, intellectual, cultural, economic, and social history--including the development of representative governments, aspirations to democratization, and incipient wars. When feminist demands and criticism are placed at the center of debate, these events take on a far different meaning. 1

Viewed in retrospect, it seems clear that this turbulent century experienced a steady stream of feminist eruptions, subdued temporarily during periods of political repression but violently explosive in times of revolutionary political upheaval--most notably in the 1830s, in 1848, in 1871, and again in the 1890s. From the 1860s on, feminist challenges developed at a steady pace, flowing expansively throughout the period of accelerating socioeconomic change that spanned the years from the 1890s to 1914.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, though, the forces of repression seemed nearly overwhelming. The shadows cast by the French Revolution and ensuing counterrevolution would repeatedly, if only temporarily, damp down the development of European feminisms, though in some areas, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and territories controlled by the Dual Monarchy ( Austria-Hungary), overt feminist activity did not reemerge for many decades. The draconian restrictions placed on women's political activity by French Jacobins in 1793 were supplemented in the early 1800s by the framers of the Napoleonic Code, who imposed severe legal restrictions on married women. Philosophers of the state, as we have seen, attempted to rationalize women's exclusion from affairs of government. Nineteenth-century French educators would establish a national educational system with universi


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 554

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?