Academic journal article Hecate

Assessing the Scene: Journal of Women's History, Women's History Review and Gender & History since 2000

Academic journal article Hecate

Assessing the Scene: Journal of Women's History, Women's History Review and Gender & History since 2000

Article excerpt

This contribution provides an overview of the work of three major international journals that specialise in gender history and women's history, with a particular interest in the publishing opportunities they offer to young scholars working in Australia. (1) There is an Australian presence in these journals, but it is a small one. I came away from my research with a strong sense of the special contribution that Australian scholars of feminist and gender history could make to expanding and deepening the intellectual fields of the three journals. While recognising the importance of commanding as wide an Australian audience as possible for some work, I am compelled to encourage Australian scholars to speak to an international audience through these journals.

The Journal of Women's History began life in America in 1989. It is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and its two editors, Jean Allman and Antoinette Burton are based at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In fact, although its birthplace was Indiana University where Christie Farnham, the journal's founding editor, was employed in 1989, the current book reviews editor and the associate editors are also on staff at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. It is clearly a US-based journal, and this is reflected in the contributors as well as the editors. Although many contributors work beyond the field of US history, most are based in institutions in the US. The journal's statement of purpose is as follows:

   Journal of Women's History is the first journal devoted exclusively
   to the international field of women's history. It does not attempt
   to impose one feminist 'line' but recognizes the multiple
   perspectives captured by the term 'feminisms'. Its guiding
   principle is a belief that the divide between 'women's history' and
   'gender history' can be, and is, bridged by work on women that is
   sensitive to the particular historical constructions of gender that
   shape and are shaped by women's experience.

Women's History Review is slightly younger. It began its life in 1992 under the editorship of the University of Portsmouth's Jane Purvis, who continues this work today. The assistant editors are based in the UK, the USA and Australia, and include Melbourne University's Joy Damousi. The journal is published by Taylor and Francis. Its statement of purpose reads:

   Women's History Review is a major international journal whose aim
   is to provide a forum for the publication of new scholarly articles
   in the rapidly expanding field of women's history. The time span
   covered by the journal includes the 19th and 20th centuries as well
   as earlier times. The journal seeks to publish contributions from a
   range of disciplines (for example, women's studies, history,
   sociology, cultural studies, literature, political science,
   anthropology and philosophy) that further feminist knowledge and
   debate about women and/or gender relations in history. The Editors
   welcome a variety of approaches from people from different
   countries and backgrounds. In addition to main articles the journal
   also publishes shorter Viewpoints that are possibly based on the
   life experiences, ideas and views of the writer and may be more
   polemic in tone. A substantial Book Reviews section is normally
   included in each issue.

Gender and History began in 1988 and is published by Blackwell. Leonore Davidoff of the University of Exeter was the founding editor, but it is now edited by a combination of British and American scholars based at the Universities of Nottingham and Michigan. The statement of purpose for this journal is:

   Gender & History is now established as the major international
   journal for research and writing on the history of femininity and
   masculinity and of gender relations. Spanning epochs and
   continents, Gender & History examines changing conceptions of
   gender, and maps the dialogue between femininities, masculinities
   and their historical contexts. … 
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