U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays

U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays

U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays

U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays


This outstanding collection of fifteen original essays represents innovative work by some of the most influential scholars in the field of women's history. Covering a broad sweep of history from colonial to contemporary times and ranging over the fields of legal, social, political, and cultural history, this book, according to its editors, 'intrudes into regions of the American historical narrative from which women have been excluded or in which gender relations were not thought to play a part.'

State formation, power, and knowledge have not traditionally been understood as the subjects of women's history, but they are the themes that permeate this book. Individually and together, the essays explore how gender serves to legitimize particular constructions of power and knowledge and to meld these into accepted practice and state policy. They show how the field of women's history has moved from the discovery of women to an evaluation of social processes and institutions.

The book is dedicated to pioneering women's historian Gerda Lerner, whose work inspired so many of the contributors, and it includes a bibliography of her works.


This book is dedicated to Gerda Lerner, who has been a resolute advocate of the capacity of history to change the course of human events. a historian of women who has transcended the limits of the academy to reach out to a wide audience, she has challenged a generation of scholars and activists to join her. Committed to expanding the possibilities for women to participate fully in society, she has worked to expand knowledge about women's past in ways that will change the consciousness of men and women. This book celebrates Gerda Lerner's intellectual and political energy, her talent for engaged scholarship, her creativity, her persuasive powers, and the combative spirit that has enabled her to give new meaning to the historical enterprise.

The contributors to this volume grew up into a world in which history was rigidly limited. It paid little attention to social relationships, to issues of race, to the concerns of the poor, and virtually none to women. Women figured in history for their ritual status, as wives of presidents like Abigail Adams or Dolly Madison; for their role as spoilers, from the witches of Salem to Mary Todd Lincoln; or for their sacrificial caregiving, like Clara Barton or Dorothea Dix. Even when women like Sojourner Truth, Jane Addams, and Eleanor Roosevelt were named by historians, the radical substance of their work and their lives was routinely ignored. a very few historians of women -- Eleanor . . .

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