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Studying Women’s & Gender History. Outline Pioneers Second-Wave Feminism Separate Spheres Gender History The Colonial Context Sources Status.

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Presentation on theme: "Studying Women’s & Gender History. Outline Pioneers Second-Wave Feminism Separate Spheres Gender History The Colonial Context Sources Status."— Presentation transcript:

1 Studying Women’s & Gender History

2 Outline Pioneers Second-Wave Feminism Separate Spheres Gender History The Colonial Context Sources Status

3 Pioneers Mainly feminist scholars On margins of academia Focused on women & work Used social and economic historical methods rather than political, diplomatic, intellectual history. Importance of LSE

4 Olive Schreiner

5 LSE Students c – LSE Flickr collection

6 Alice Clark Pessimistic view of impact of industrialisation Talks of ‘Golden Age’ of Women’s Labour in 17 th Century

7 Ivy Pinchbeck Detailed consideration of impact of industrialisation on women Ultimately supports positive view that women (especially single women) were liberated by capitalism

8 Second Wave Feminism Revival of feminist activism in 60s Women began meeting together to raise consciousness Mantra was ‘the personal is political’, presented most powerfully by Kate Millett in her book Sexual Politics published in Transformed women’s history from a minority strand of ‘mainstream’ history to a major intellectual movement.

9 Sheila Rowbotham, Hidden from History

10 Separate Spheres Davidoff & Hall Family Fortunes Demonstrated impact of changing gender roles on formation of distinct middle-class identity Acknowledged rhetoric of ‘separate spheres’ in establishing boundaries between the public and private worlds Public life exclusively male domain Domestic setting where women’s moral virtues could be developed. Ideals originally expressed by a small group of Evangelicals

11 Gender History Joan Scott Gender and the Politics of History Primary role of language in the construction of gendered identity Gender should be used as an analytical category for historical investigation Explore cultural meanings of masculinity and femininity Part of wider debate about contribution of postmodernism and its concentration on the construction of meaning through language

12 Masculinity Reconsideration as men’s role as historical actors In late 1970s ‘men’s movement’ questioned modern patriarchal gender roles Seidler: ‘if we live in a man’s world it is not a world that has been built upon the needs and nourishment of men. Rather it is a social world of power and subordination in which men have been forced to compete if we want to benefit from our inherited masculinity’ Argued that subordinate forms of masculinity are subject to greater repression than the repression of women by men Does the rise of gender history write women out of the story?

13 Postcolonialism Rose out of broader social history tradition via feminist and nationalist critiques of the primacy of class as a category Feminist scholars of the developing world have attacked western feminists for refusing to explore the different meanings that being a woman may have in various class, racial, ethnic or religious contexts Explore complex and contradictory relationships between gender, imperialism, and politics

14 Sources Reconsideration of traditional sources (court records, parliamentary papers, newspapers) Use of new sources eg oral history (Elizabeth Roberts, A Woman’s Place) rkinglives

15 Status Who can write women’s history? Does it have status in the academy? Do men adopt a misogynistic tone? Eg ‘Bitch power’ Are more sympathetic men “gender-traitors”?


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