Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Making Womens Histories

Making Womens Histories: Beyond National Perspectives

Pamela S. Nadell
Kate Haulman
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Making Womens Histories
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-5922-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Writing Women’s History across Time and Space: Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    “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.¹ 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...


    • 1 Women’s Past and the Currents of U.S. History
      (pp. 17-37)

      Less than half a century ago, the subject of women and gender barely registered in the scholarship and teaching of American historians. In remarkably short order, uncovering women’s past became a political imperative and intellectual passion, and then emerged as a legitimate area of professional inquiry and research. With some distance from its origins, it is now possible to consider women’s and gender history as particular forms of knowledge production that grew out of broad intellectual, social, and political developments in the post-World War II period. This chapter focuses on four conceptual “turns” in the field, and how they have...

    • 2 New Directions in Russian and Soviet Women’s History
      (pp. 38-60)

      A product of second-wave feminism, in the United States the field of Russian and Soviet women’s history was also born under another and very different political star: the Cold War. For students of the imperial and modern periods of Russia’s history, if not of earlier times, the impact of the Cold War was enormous, lingering even after 1991 and the end of the geopolitical divisions from which it had arisen. Only in the past ten or fifteen years have historians in the United States begun to free themselves from the intellectual paradigms necessitated, it once seemed, by the very existence...

    • 3 Putting the Political in Economy: African Women’s and Gender History, 1992–2010
      (pp. 61-90)

      In the mid-1980s, my historiographical survey of scholarly works on African women revealed a focus on political economy, with emphases on women’s highly productive and important economic activities and women’s agency, moving away from the tendency either to ignore women entirely or treat them as passive victims. These attempts to rectify the gaps in the literature rebutted the stereotypical oversexualization of black women by whites and the related assumption that female slaves in Africa were mainly desired for biological reproduction, for instance.¹ Since then scholarship on African women and gender has multiplied to the point that any assessment of new...

    • 4 Sexual Crises, Women’s History, and the History of Sexuality in Europe
      (pp. 91-112)

      In 1916, Austrian feminist Grete Meisel-Hess proclaimed that a “sexual crisis” afflicted contemporary society. Sexual fulfillment was necessary for both men and women, she argued, but the capitalist order and men’s selfishness prevented its flourishing, locking women into unhappy marriages or the sexless misery of spinsterhood.¹ Expanding on Meisel-Hess, I define a sexual crisis as a time of great social upheaval when two or more cultures of sexual morality clash, and when conflicts between men and women and debates over sexuality become political issues. In the late nineteenth century, women like Grete Meisel-Hess, who celebrated women’s need for sexual pleasure,...


    • 5 Gender and the Politics of Exceptionalism in the Writing of British Women’s History
      (pp. 115-136)

      In 1793, a Norfolk surgeon named Richard Dinmore published the controversial tract,A Brief Account of the Moral and Political Acts of the Kings and Queens of England from William the Conqueror to the Revolution in the Year1688. A political radical with close ties to “Jacobin” circles in nearby Norwich, Dinmore revisited the history of the reigning kings and queens of England in order to underscore the need for parliamentary reform. Dinmore was particularly interested in chronicling the history of queens regnant, because it was here that he found the most evidence of an unjust and illogical political arrangement....

    • 6 Amateur Historians, the “Woman Question,” and the Production of Modern History in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Egypt
      (pp. 137-160)

      Egyptian women only recently played critical roles in the eighteen days of protests that toppled Mohammed Husni Mubarak’s thirty-year presidency on February 11, 2011.¹ Photographs of the demonstrations revealed women marching in the streets, confronting both the military and the Egyptian riot police, and tending to the sick and wounded in Tahrir Square. Similarly, video clips, recorded and released just prior to the outbreak of demonstrations on January 25, 2011, showed women openly discussing their behind-the-scenes roles in organizing the protests via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.² For Western observers, such images of Egyptian women fighting for political...

    • 7 Women’s and Gender History in Modern India: Researching the Past, Reflecting on the Present
      (pp. 161-184)

      One might argue that historians always write, Janus-faced, with a view toward both the past and the present. Certainly, attention to these dual temporalities—to both the historical past and the contemporary context—helps us to understand the trajectories of research in Indian women’s history from its professionalization in the 1970s and 1980s onward. Questions about the postcolonial present, most specifically about the ongoing oppression of women in independent India despite the promises of anticolonial nationalism to liberate all its subjects, have echoed across the writing of historians devoted to exploring women’s lives and experiences. This chapter investigates these complex...


    • 8 World History Meets History of Masculinity in Latin American Studies
      (pp. 187-210)

      A transnational turn is certainly afoot in the discipline of history. While world history as a field is hardly new, it has usually played second-fiddle to the histories of particular nation-states and the regions carved out by area studies. But recently almost every national history field and regional field has recognized the need for a gaze that looks across hallowed borders and oceans with fresh eyes.² As the forces of globalization have simultaneously produced an astonishing degree of connection and an acute deepening of socioeconomic and political divisions, globalization’s casualties and challenges command urgent attention. Even historians, forever leery of...

    • 9 Connecting Histories of Gender, Health, and U.S.-China Relations
      (pp. 211-236)

      Like other historical fields, especially those deeply engaged with politics, the study of U.S. foreign relations came late to incorporate a gendered perspective. Eventually, new scholarship on women’s and gender history affected its historiography, as scholars repositioned a field traditionally concerned with masculine narratives of nationalism, military interventions, and diplomacy toward “intercultural scholarship,”¹ and as they recognized gender as yet another factor intimately engaged in shaping international affairs.

      This is no less true of the historical study of Sino-American relations. Recognizing the links made by male Chinese elites at the turn of the century, who argued that China’s victimization by...

    • 10 A Happier Marriage? Feminist History Takes the Transnational Turn
      (pp. 237-258)

      Three decades ago, the feminist economist Heidi Hartmann quipped that the marriage of Marxism and feminism had been “like the marriage of husband and wife depicted in English common law: Marxism and feminism are one, and that one is Marxism.”¹ Hartmann called for a “more progressive union” that recognized capitalist structures and patriarchal inequalities. Since then, Marxist and feminist studies have both changed immensely: a new intellectual generation has come of age and issued its own progeny; bitter divorces have given way to mellower second marriages. Among these has been the recent union of transnational and feminist history. Perhaps this...

    (pp. 259-262)
  9. Index
    (pp. 263-278)