Reflections on Feminism, Narrative,
… Women have always been making history, living it and shaping it.
—Gerda Lerner, The Majority Finds Its Past
… All historicizing is narrativizing—putting in the form of a story.
—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine
The dream of a “total history” corroborating the historian's own desire for mastery of a documentary repertoire … has of course been a lodestar of historiography.
—Dominick LaCapra, History and Criticism
What has surfaced is something different from the unitary, closed, evolutionary narratives of historiography as we have traditionally known it: … we now get the histories (in the plural) of the losers as well as the winners, of the regional (and colonial) as well as the centrist, of the unsung many as well as the much sung few, and I might add, of women as well as men.
—Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism
MY REFLECTIONS begin with the contradictory desires within contemporary American feminism revolving around the question of history, particularly what is involved when feminists write histories of feminism. On the one hand, a pressing