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HE Local History Teaching in the Early Twenty- First Century: Opportunities for the Future, Wolverhampton, January 18 th 2012 Teaching Local History with.

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Presentation on theme: "HE Local History Teaching in the Early Twenty- First Century: Opportunities for the Future, Wolverhampton, January 18 th 2012 Teaching Local History with."— Presentation transcript:

1 HE Local History Teaching in the Early Twenty- First Century: Opportunities for the Future, Wolverhampton, January 18 th 2012 Teaching Local History with a Gendered Focus Cathy Hunt, Coventry University (History within Department of International Studies and Social Science, Faculty of Business, Environment and Society, c.hunt@coventry.ac.uk

2 Three main aims of talk: How to overcome perceptions that local history is soft history and how to encourage students of the importance of foregrounding gender within local studies To draw on my experiences of teaching and researching local history To consider some approaches to learning and researching that emphasise the value of local history and to understand what is meant by doing womens history. The importance of combining the two

3 Developments in womens and gender history 1970s take off : Sheila Rowbotham Hidden from History: 300 Years of Womens Oppression and the Fight Against It (Pluto Press, 1973) Feminist history: a question of the approach you bring to the work you are doing. It is the questions that you ask and the answers that you formulate that make it feminist history (Anna Davin, Feminism and Labour History in Samuel, R (ed) Peoples History and Socialist Theory, History Workshop Series, London, Routledge and Kegan- Paul,1981, p 179)

4 Laura Lee Downs Writing Gender History (Bloomsbury Academic, Second Edition, 2010) Historians of gender sought to render the study of sexual division an instrument of historical analysis by arguing that such divisions are rooted in a more global sexual division of social, symbolic and political space p 4 See Joan W. Scott Gender: A Useful Category of Analysis in Joan W. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York, 1988)

5 John Tosh with Sean Lang, The Pursuit of History, Fourth Edition, 2006, Pearson Education For political historians, particularly, local history serves as a reminder that their subject is about not only the central institutions of the state but also about the assertion of authority over ordinary people; politics is likely to be interpreted less as an enclosed arena than as the sphere in which conflicts between opposing interests in society are fought out p 140

6 Deirdre Beddoe Discovering Womens History: A Practical Guide to the sources of Womens History 1800-1945 (Pandora, second edition 1993) Beddoe stressed the importance of and urgency in investigating womens local history in order to establish a sense of continuity with the past [that] may turn out to be a very revealing and encouraging exercise which demonstrates the strength of women in former years p 12

7 Some examples of work (used in talk) that throw new and important light on perceptions of the national Krista Cowman, Women of the Right Spirit: Paid Organisers in the Womens and Social Political Union (Manchester University Press, 2007) Jill Liddington and Jill Norris, One Hand Tied Behind Us: The Rise of the Womens Suffrage Campaign (Virago Press, 1978) Jill Liddington, Rebel Girls: Their Fight for the Vote (Virago, 2006)

8 Teaching local history Formation in Coventry of the Womens Research Group, 1998 leading to publication of Redressing the Balance: Women in Twentieth Century Coventry (Coventry, 1999, re-issued 2010): debunking myths and seeing through generalisations Undergraduate teaching with emphasis on: Historical geography and history trails/walks Local history linked to graduate employment The importance of seeking information in unexpected places and a refusal to accept that simply because formal records are not there that research cannot be done

9 Alice Arnold, trade union organiser for the Workers Union, Coventry, 1917-31; Labour councillor, Coventry 1919-55, Coventrys first woman mayor 1937 See, for example, Cathy Hunt Everyones Poor Relation: the poverty and isolation of a working class woman local politician in inter war Britain in Womens History Review, vol 16 issue 3 issue 2007 Cathy Hunt A Woman of the People: Alice Arnold: 1881-1955, Coventry and County Heritage Series Booklet No 27, Coventry Historical Association


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