The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues

The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues

The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues

The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues

Synopsis

Collection of seventeen original essays on women's lives from the colonial period to the present, contributors take the competing forces of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion and region into account.

Excerpt

S. Jay Kleinberg

Eileen Boris

Vicki L. Ruiz

In her classic work, Relations of Rescue, Peggy Pascoe reflected on history “as a kind of conversation between the past and the present in which we travel through time to examine the cultural assumptions — and possibilities of our society as well as the societies before us.” The Practice of U.S. Women's History mirrors a collective belief that writing women into the historical record has shifted and changed over time, and, with it, the practice of history. Offering gendered historiographies from an array of perspectives, The Practice of U.S. Women's History questions whose voices count and who decides what matters.

Each of the editors has witnessed women's history transform U.S. history. When S. Jay Kleinberg presented the paper “Technology and Women's Work” at the Organization of American Historians annual conference in the mid-1970s, one commentator opined that whatever else it was, the study of working-class women's daily routines and their access to household and municipal technology was not history. It might be sociology, but it certainly did not jibe with the commentator's understanding of historical inquiry. For Eileen Boris, the problem was which dwellings counted as part of the history of domestic architecture, though she successfully convinced her professors that slave cabins and tenement houses as well as Catharine Beecher and Charlotte Perkins Gilman belonged to the canon of American studies. Vicki L. Ruiz, as part of the first generation of Chicana historians, pieced together the lives of Mexican women cannery workers in southern California during the 1930s and 1940s, and in presenting the preliminary results of her research, she frequently had to persuade colleagues in feminist, labor, and even Chicana/o studies that these women were historical actors whose lives and legacies mattered.

From its inception, the practice of U.S. women's history had involved interrogating and challenging traditional periodization, paradigms, and practices. Where have we been and where are we going as chroniclers of a gendered American story? As historian Valerie Matsumoto reminds us, “Perhaps scholars . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.