Making Women's Histories: Beyond National Perspectives

Making Women's Histories: Beyond National Perspectives

Making Women's Histories: Beyond National Perspectives

Making Women's Histories: Beyond National Perspectives

Synopsis

Making Women's Histories showcases the transformations that the intellectual and political production of women’s history has engendered across time and space. It considers the difference women’s and gender history has made to and within national fields of study, and to what extent the wider historiography has integrated this new knowledge. What are the accomplishments of women’s and gender history? What are its shortcomings? What is its future?

The contributors discuss their discovery of women’s histories,the multiple turns the field has taken, and how place affected the course of this scholarship. Noted scholars of women’s and gender history, they stand atop such historiographically-defined vantage points as Tsarist Russia, the British Empire in Egypt and India, Qing-dynasty China, and the U.S. roiling through the 1960s. From these and other peaks they gaze out at the world around them, surveying trajectories in the creation of women’s histories in recent and distant pasts and envisioning their futures.

Excerpt

Pamela S. Nadell and Kate Haulman

“My commitment to women’s history came out of my life, not out of my head,” wrote the pioneering historian Gerda Lerner. As a graduate student, Lerner had encountered “a world of ‘significant knowledge,’” in which women seemed not to exist. She dedicated her career to the project of remaking that body of knowledge, demanding that it include the lives and experiences of women as well as of men.

This volume examines that world transformed by considering the intellectual and political production of women’s history across time and space. in ten chapters, scholars, who have all published significant works in women’s and gender history in diverse national, imperial, and geographic contexts, stand atop historiographically defined vantage points, including Tsarist Russia, the British empire in Egypt and India, Qing dynasty China, and the U.S. roiling through the 1960s. From these and other peaks they gaze out at the world around them, surveying trajectories in the intellectual production of women’s histories in recent and distant pasts, reflecting upon the historical circumstances that gave rise to such narratives, and envisioning their futures in diverse settings. the authors were asked to consider the differences women’s history made within their national fields of study. How did the wider historiographies integrate this new knowledge? What have been the accomplishments of women’s and gender history within their geographic fields? What are its shortcomings? Perhaps most significantly, what is its future?

Behind these questions lay the conviction, growing out of conversations with colleagues over the years, that parallel circumstances in diverse settings had sparked the writing of women’s and gender history by professional historians. We wanted to probe this insight by asking scholars to expand upon the threads of those serendipitous conversations out of which the larger patterns had burst forth. This book demonstrates that the writing of women’s histories was chronologically deeper than first imagined, regionally specific even as its development was transnational and global, and driven by wider intellectual, social, political, and economic currents. the authors in this book . . .

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