since when) have women been invisible as historical subjects, when we know they participated in the great and small events of human history? Has gender legitimized the emergence of professional careers? 59 Is (to quote the title of a recent article by French feminist Luce Irigaray) the subject of science sexed? 60 What is the relationship between state politics and the discovery of the crime of homosexuality? 61 How have social institutions incorporated gender into their assumptions and organizations? Have there ever been genuinely egalitarian concepts of gender in terms of which political systems were projected, if not built?

Investigation of these issues will yield a history that will provide new perspectives on old questions (about how, for example, political rule is imposed, or what the impact of war on society is), redefine the old questions in new terms (introducing considerations of family and sexuality, for example, in the study of economics or war), make women visible as active participants, and create analytic distance between the seemingly fixed language of the past and our own terminology. In addition, this new history will leave open possibilities for thinking about current feminist political strategies and the (utopian) future, for it suggests that gender must be redefined and restructured in conjunction with a vision of political and social equality that includes not only sex but class and race.


Notes
1.
The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), i. 1126.
2.
E. Littré, Dictionnaire de la langue française ( Paris, 1876).
3.
Raymond Williams, Keywords ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), 285.
4.
Natalie Zemon Davis, "'Women's History in Transition: The European Case'", Feminist Studies, 3 ( 1975-6), 90.
5.
Ann D. Gordon, Mari Jo Buhle, and Nancy Shrom Dye, "'The Problem of Women's History'", in Berenice Carroll (ed.), Liberating Women's History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press), 89.
6.
The best and most subtle example is from Joan Kelly, "'The Doubled Vision of Feminist Theory'", in her Women, History and Theory ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 51-64, esp. p. 61.
7.
For an argument against the use of gender to emphasize the social aspect of sexual difference, see Moira Gatens, "'A Critique of the Sex/Gender Distinction'", in J. Allen and P. Patton (eds.), Beyond Marxism? (Leichhardt, NSW: Intervention Publications, 1985), 143-60. I agree with her argument that the sex/gender distinction grants autonomous or transparent determination to the body, ignoring the fact that what we know about the body is culturally produced knowledge.

-175-

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