Women in World History


Women in World History

Welcome to the forum-Roupp

World History Models-Mo

Re:World History Models-Dyke

Re:World History Models-Hanks

Re:World History Models-Kelly

Re:Re:World History Models-Dyke-Tambe

Re:World History Models-Presley

Re:World History Models-Roupp

Re:World History Models-Kozuch

Re:World History Models-Cohen

Re:World History Models-Roupp

Re:World History Models-Miller

Re:Re:World History Models-Miller-Hanks

Re:World History Models-Barnes

Re:World History Models-Mortson

Re:Re:World History Models-Mortson-Lloyd

Re:Re:World History Models-Mortson-Greene

Re:Re:World History Models-Mortson-Dyke





Final Message-Hanks


From: Merry Wiesner-Hanks

From: Merry Wiesner-Hanks merrywh@uwm.edu Professor of History University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the teaching forum on women in world history! It doesn't seem as if it should be difficult to incorporate women into world history-they are at least, and often slightly more than, half of the population of every culture. Many of the themes that are central in world history scholarship and teaching-contacts among societies, encounters between groups, migration, cultural diffusion and blending-involve women as well as men. Materials are increasingly available; women's history has been around as a field in its most recent form for about thirty years, with hundreds of books and articles on women from all periods and many societies. The innovative set of curricular materials on "Women in World Area Studies" developed by Margery Wall Bingham and Susan Hill Gross, is now nearly thirty years old. Ever more primary sources by and about women are edited,translated, published, and presented on web-sites.

Many of the first works in women's history fit women into existing historical categories-nations, historical periods, social classes, religious allegiance-but over the last three decades this approach, sarcastically labeled "add women and stir," has become more unsatisfying. Focusing on women often disrupted the familiar categories, forcing us to rethink the way that history was organized and structured. The European Renaissance and Enlightenment lost some of their luster once women were included, as did the democracy of ancient Athens or Jacksonian America. This disruption of well-known categories and paradigms ultimately included the topic that had long been considered the proper focus of all history - man. Viewing the male experience as universal had not only hidden women's history, but it had also prevented analyzing men's experiences as those of men.

Those of us familiar with studying women increasingly began to discuss the ways in which systems of sexual differentiation affected both women and men, and by the early 1980s to use the word "gender" to describe these systems. "Sex" was defined as a group of physical, morphological, and anatomical differences (what are often called "biological differences"), while gender was culturally constructed and historically changing, so very open to historical investigation. Since the 1980s the distinctions between the two have become contested and muddied, as anthropologists, psychologists,biological scientists, and historians have demonstrated that "social" gender and "biological" sex are very interrelated, and as "gender" has increasingly become a standard shorthand for "sex" even on drivers' license forms. Even though there are sharp disagreements about gender, however, gender history has developed as a field related to women's history, though the exact relationship between the two is just as contested as is the definition of gender.

In what is the normal pattern for a new area of historical investigation, textbooks followed the development of both women's and gender history with a slight time lag. Textbooks in all areas of history now usually include discussions of individual women, women's involvement in movements for social and political change, and the impact of various developments on women's lives. Those discussions have moved out of the boxes in which they first appeared, and are now better integrated into the general narrative. (If the textbook you use still has women in boxes, push for a better textbook.) There is also an increasing amount of material available on gender, as well as women, especially in world history textbooks, which are usually newer in their conceptualization and more recent in their first edition than those in Western Civ or U.S. history. World history textbooks are much more likely than Western Civilization or European history textbooks to have an index entry on "gender"-usually described as "gender roles," "gender relations," or "gender differences"-as well as one for women, and to use the word gender in the text.

Looking at textbooks more closely, however, certain patterns emerge. Gender roles and relations are discussed almost always within a few specific contexts, usually prehistory, early China, classical Greece, Islamic society, the European Renaissance, industrialization, and World War II. There is often no discussion of women or gender in the coverage of South America after the era of the Spanish conquest (except for Eva Peron), and only a little about sub-Saharan Africa. Sections described as "gender roles" in the index are often only about women, with men's experience as the unmarked norm. Books with very good discussions of Murasaki Shikibu in Heian Japan, for example, always label her a "woman writer" and mention the way in which her work was shaped by the fact that she was a woman. In contrast, I have never seen Confucius labeled a "man philosopher" or even a "male philosopher," though we can easily imagine what the impact of his ideas would have been had he not been a man. Thus books with extensive coverage of women still reinforce the idea that there are artists and women artists, rulers and women rulers, peasants and women peasants. Women, then, seem to have more gender, in the same way that African-Americans have more race (and, as many people have commented, men have more class).

What does this mean for teaching world history? The daunting task of trying to cover a huge amount of material can certainly lead us to think about women's history as either a burden or a luxury. Either "you mean I have to get through all this stuff, and something on women, TOO?" or "if I get through all this stuff, then I'll do a very innovative unit or exercise on women, as a reward for my students after all those conquests." Coverage is a problem we face on many issues, of course--one prominent world historian has said that conceptualizing world history is essentially thinking about what to omit-and it will remain as we integrate women into world history.

One thread of this conversation will no doubt be suggestions from all of us about how to address this. Are there particular materials that you have found especially helpful in integrating women's history, or that allow students to see a range of issues with a relatively small set of materials? Are there areas in which including women allows students to see certain things more clearly, or analyze issues in a more sophisticated way? Are there materials that allow especially interesting comparisons between or within cultures? (I'm especially eager to hear about things that give students the opportunity to see differences among women as well as differences between women and men, so that they can go beyond statements like "the role of women in China was.") Conversely, are there materials or issues that have not worked? How have you balanced women's actions and limitations on women? (My students often complain that women's history is so depressing, but I have not figured out how to make certain things more upbeat.)

Coverage is a constant concern in world history, made even more daunting as we take time to develop our students' analytical skills and understanding of historical methods. As some of you may know, for more than fifteen years I've been part of author teams developing a series of source readers that include longer discussions of methodology and suggestions for ways to analyze source materials. (Discovering the Western Past, Discovering the Global Past, etc., published by Houghton-Mifflin.) Thus I've had lots of practice in this, but it still takes me a long time to think through exactly what skills I want students to develop, and what sources will best help them do this. If we want them to begin to think of gender as a "category of analysis," what materials or strategies can we use? Are there comparative cases that work especially well to sharpen their analytical skills? Are there limits to this "lens of gender"? (There clearly are among professional historians. Despite the thirty years of women's history, some historians still think of this as a passing fad. I have just returned from the first ever world and global history conference held in Europe, hosted by the University of Leipzig. In both the opening and closing sessions the word gender or women was never mentioned, nor was there a single woman on these panels. There was one panel-out of about forty-on women, the equivalent at a conference of the box in a textbook, and the women who presented were deeply angry. The conference was exclusionary along other lines as well, which I think were not unrelated to the narrowness on gender issues.)

As we think about issues of coverage and methods (which is sometimes conceptualized as coverage VS. methods), we may also want to discuss ways of handling personal and political issues that emerge in the classroom. I teach only the first half of the world history survey, and my students have very little personal stake in most of the things we discuss; few of them are crushed to learn about the end of the Roman Empire or pleased about the prominence of Malay traders in the Indian Ocean. This is also true for most issues involving women. They don't get angry, as I did, when they learn about life for citizen women in ancient Athens, primarily because they never learned that Athenian democracy or the ideas of Aristotle and Plato were so great in the first place.

When we cover gender issues in world religions, however, this can be very different. In this forum, we may wish to discuss strategies for approaching issues on which, as the old slogan goes, the personal is political. How have you approached issues that might be especially sensitive for some of your students (or their parents), particularly given the culturally diverse classrooms that many of us teach in? How have you handled topics that may be inflammatory, or that various groups may pressure you to leave out or approach only in a certain way? (This may be more of an issue for those of you who are secondary school teachers, but I've had a parent call me about why I thought it was appropriate for their college student son to read about ideas about the body and reproduction in classical China and Greece.) How have you handled issues on which students may bring personal experiences to class? (This is a situation that often faces people teaching Women's Studies classes of all types, but it also emerges when discussing gender issues in history classes.)

I am pleased that you have decided to join this conversation on what are challenging issues for all of us, and look forward to our discussion.

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Welcome to the forum-Roupp

From: Heidi Roupp

Welcome to the forum on "Women in World History."

As we start this discussion it is good to remember that world history courses with a global perspective are relatively new. The College Board's development of AP world history began in 1999. Now world history introductory survey courses are routinely offered in secondary schools, colleges, and universities nationwide. Teachers have more opportunities for professional development. Pre-service teachers can choose among a variety of world histories and regional studies to prepare them to teach world history; in-service teachers pursue graduate studies in world history or online courses or summer workshops sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and The College Board. If the increasing number of colleges and universities offering world history is any indication, world history is booming.

The basics for developing a global world history course are in place. Now we can turn our attention to revisions and enrichment. Although world history is booming, it remains a difficult course to teach. Guiding freshmen and sophomores through the whole history of the whole world in nine short months is a challenge. In contrast to the AP program, general world history classes, for all of the other students in secondary schools, is less well developed. Teachers are less likely to have information concerning recent scholarship and more likely to be teaching a civilizational model. World history can be text-book driven when instructors with little academic preparation are assigned to teach the course. Students in general classes need simple, understandable, meaningful materials from a global perspective. Coverage is an issue. The old adage that world history is a mile wide and an inch deep is still a concern.

Conceptually, world history is a macrohistory. Students fascinated with Brad Pitt or reality television may find world history faceless, without human agency. If the audience is young students, a meaningful survey of human history needs to be personalized. Students are curious about the lives of ordinary women and men, their contributions to history. Weaving the regional histories of women in Asia, Latin America, and Africa into the fabric of global history encourages understanding of the world's infinite variety of cultures through time.

What are the good biographies of the lives of non-western women? How can social history strengthen world history? Have we done enough to introduce students to enduring traditions? Is McNeill's Keeping together in time: dance and drill in human history a type of history students should be reading? What microhistories illustrate how large scale global forces shape the lives of men and women in specific places during specific eras? How can we help students analyze local developments in terms of global change? Integrating Herstory into world history offers opportunities to enrich the course.

Have we selected the best content? Now that there are enough resources to pick and choose, what is our criteria for selection? Is this the time to begin conversations with colleagues in related disciplines to bolster our knowledge and develop new materials? Selecting new content recreates old dilemmas. New subject matter added to a full curriculum usually means that something else receives less time or must be omitted. New materials must fit. Content must be woven into the fabric of the course rather than grafted on the course framework. The stray example of a woman warrior in India does little to help students understand how historical traditions were shaped by women and men through time. How can regional studies of the history of women be conceptualized in global context?

Content should fit within the context of world history periodization. Reviewing these seven eras from a global perspective, how do we develop a thematic strand of women in world history?

Prehistory 3500-500

B.C.E. 500


C.E. 500-1450




Should there be such a thematic strand? Do we need better lessons to help students understand how the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture changed women's lives? Since most students think peasants are farmers, how might we help our students better understand the lives of peasant families? Does world history require comparative analysis of family structures? Gender relations? Social status? Changes in the roles of women? Is it necessary to include gender structure and social structure in each era? Should new subject matter provide opportunities to develop lessons analyzing cross-cultural exchange, comparisons and change over time. How should we teach women's history in the 20th century?

What materials do we have that can serve as the raw materials for lessons? New subject matter fits best if it serves multiple purposes such as opportunities to teach critical thinking and to help young students master basic skills or to provide opportunities to deepen student understanding. Good world history teachers are good editors.

These forums, sponsored by the Center for History and New Media, offer us an opportunity to make the world history course more meaningful for students. I often wonder what students will remember from world history in 40 years-and if, what they remember, proves useful. What analytical skills will students develop that become life-long habits? Americans were unpleasantly surprised during the looting of Baghdad to discover that modern Iraq inherited the ancient land of Mesopotamia. I wonder if students who were in Western civilization and world history classes twenty years ago, simply forgot where Mesopotamia was or if their teachers failed to connect the past to the present. Though history teaching often goes unnoticed, shared historical memory shapes personal decisions and public policy long after history classes are a faded memory.

Please accept our apologies for the typos in the last set of opening statements. We hope you'll find these easier to read.


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From: Eva Mo <moe@YOSEMITE.CC.CA.US>

Date: October 6, 2005 6:23:48 PM EDT


Subject: World History Models

I have the luxury of only teaching the second half of World history (from 1500 to the present) and don't have to deal with that monster of the first part. This is a new course for our institution we are treading in unfamiliar waters. I have taken the approach to focus my lectures on where societies meet rather than doing a geo-historical survey. This has allowed me to slow down, and focus with greater depth on issues such as trade (tracing the history and effects of commodities; such as coffee, sugar, and slaves), religion (how religion can be interpreted differently in different regions of the world), expansion (colonialism, imperialism, war, transnational corporate behavior...). I love this approach, and enjoy teaching World History this way. However, I'm beginning to have doubts. Does my model exclude women? If we believe that men are the major political and economic actors, then doesn't this approach leave women behind? How do I shift my categories, include women, without destroying my model? I can already see some answers. We could say that one cannot address trade without addressing women. For example, the history of colonial Southeast Asia provides an excellent opportunity to bring women into the discussion. Dutch men marrying Asian women to gain a trade foothold parallels, in many ways, the early colonial period of Northern America with French traders and Native American Indian women. An excellent introductory text is The World That Trade Created. It's short and accessible. ; The same can be said about religion and expansion although the class may well indeed become depressed when thinking about women's issues within these topics. I include a lecture on FGC (also known as FGM) in this section. This fits well with the model especially when I discuss the importation of the ritual and the resultant clash of cultures. Yet I still can't help but feel that I'm still simply adding and stirring. It occurs to me that Gender could be another category, but it doesn't fit very nicely with the model of where societies meet. Besides, shouldn't gender be considered in every one of my previous categories? Where are the Barbara Welters for World History? Where is our 'separate spheres'? If I can't shift my World History class, what does a Women in World History class look like?

Eva Mo

Modesto Jr. College

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From: Elizabeth Ten Dyke <etendyke@EARTHLINK.NET>

Date: October 8, 2005 7:56:09 AM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

Reply-To: etendyke@EARTHLINK.NET

Elizabeth A. Ten Dyke, Ph.D. Kingston, NY


www.home.earthlink.net/~etendyke I'm reminded of a ethnographic sociology book I read some time about women weaving lace in India for distributors who traded (sold) the lace through different levels of markets up to and including international markets for increasingly large profits. Of course, as the primary producers, the women got very little. Also, the fact that they made the lace in the first place both was an expression of their gendered role in society and it reinforced their role as home-based producers subject to the control of men who had the right/power to interact in the social and economic spheres outside the family. Wish I could remember the name of the book. If I looked around for it I'm sure I could find it. However, I am sure there are many more recent and comparable studies. International interactions (particularly economic) are gendered at their roots, if not also at the top. I would look for research on the the foundations of gender in the formation and realization of the social relations of production. There is a lot of good historical work out there, though I have to say unfortunately I haven't got a recent bibliography, syllabus, or reading list to share. I teach high school and it is frustrating that I have to cover such basic material I don't often get to work at a more sophisticated theoretical level. Here's a thought--how can one began to take a lower level curriculum (secondary ed) and transform it to integrate the study of gender and gender relations in a way that teens can understand and learn from.

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It strikes me that your model works perfectly for including both women and gender as key categories all the time:

1. commodities: who was drinking coffee and tea (and using sugar in them), and in what types of settings? (which allows discussion of mixedsex coffeehouses in some W. European cities, single-sex ones in E. Europe and the islamic world, even quite poor families and female servants buying teapots and other small luxuries, tea-drinking as one kind of ritual in Japan and another in England (both of which involved women), etc. What was the gender balance among slaves, and what impact did this have in the places they were taken from and went to? what different family forms resulted because of this?

2. religion: who accepted new religions more readily, men or women? why? how is it different in different places and with different religions? how did imported religions accomodate themselves to existing ideas and structures? (including family structures) what about people outside of families, i.e. do religions have a place for this or institutions that promote this (Cathoic Christianity and Buddhism do, Protestant Christianity and Islam don't, to be very general)

3. expansion and where societies meet -- you've identified two great places to bring out gender in this (SE Asia and French North America) but I can't think of a situation where there's NOT a gender angle. Every colonial setting involved trying to regulate sexual behavior between groups, and categorizing the people that resulted from mixing (Castas in Spanish colonies, one drop of blood in British North America, etc.). Imperial language and images are highly gendered, orientalism is gendered (even though Said doesn't highlight this), women are commodities (as slaves, and then workers in multi-nationals) and purchasers of commodities. There are several good new books about women and globalization: Grace Chang's Disposable Domestics : Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy and Barbara Ehrenreich's, Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy And I'm sure there are a bunch more I don't know about. But these have sections that could be used with beginning students. My students seem to be more attuned to this (even in Milwaukee) than some of the thoerists (and textbook coverage) of globalization either because they know someone or they watch a lot of Law and Order, which often has episodes on sex trafficking and contemporary sweatshops. Or (if they're younger) they watch a lot of anime, which is a very interesting example of cultural mixing and cross-cultural communication, and is gendered in very different ways than American cartoons.

What have other people found to be good materials?

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

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From: Mills Kelly <tkelly7@GMU.EDU>

Date: October 9, 2005 7:41:17 PM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

Hi Eva:

I'd like to add to what Merry wrote about commodities. Not surprisingly, many college students are very interested in the consumption of alcohol and drinking behavior is very gendered as are the physical spaces where alcohol is consumed in public. So, for instance, I often begin my discussion by asking my students what people would think of a woman who entered a popular sports bar alone, sat at the bar, ordered a beer and a shot of whiskey and began looking around at the crowd. Why was she there? What was she planning to do? As you might imagine, more than a few of my students offer up the opinion that the woman might be there looking for a sex partner, or, at the very least, other bar patrons would assume that she was. This leads us into a discussion of how such attitudes might develop, how they are related to particular cultures at particular moments, whether they have a history, etc. Then we examine drinking behavior and spaces across cultures and eras. It's usually an energetic discussion and one that keeps them thinking because it is a subject near and dear to many of their hearts.

Mills-- T. Mills Kelly, PhD Coordinator, Western Civilization Programs and Associate Director Center for History and New Media George Mason University http://chnm.gmu.edu/history/faculty/kelly

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I think you might be referring to Maria Mies' 'The Lace Makers of Narsapur: Indian Housewives Produce for the World Market'- right?


Ashwini Tambe Assistant Professor Women's Studies, ICC 587 Georgetown University 37th and O St NW Washington DC 20057

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1) Crops on the plantations in the US, Latin American and the Caribbean used female slaves in the fields. They were not employed as domestics, by and large, as we commonly image them. 2) Under colonialism in Africa, women performed significant amounts of labor in cash crop production when the British, Portuguese, French, Germans and Boers shifted traditional peasant economies to capitalist based agribusiness.

Therefore, you could develop good units on women's productive activities in coffee, tea, cotton, sugar, indigo, sisal etc.

Cora Ann Presley, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of African-American Studies Georgia State University P. O. Box 4109 Atlanta, GA ;30302-4109 Inter-office mail address: ;MSC 5A0913 Telephone:(404) 651-0772 FAX:(404) 651-4883

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From: Heidi Roupp <Heidiroupp@AOL.COM>

Date: October 11, 2005 2:46:28 PM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

Is the idea to develop gender studies as a consistent strand/theme of world history?

Or is the idea to use the history of women in various parts of the world at various times as case studies?

What is the advantage of each approach? Are other approaches more useful?


Heidi Roupp

Executive Director

World History Connected



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My computer is down, so I haven't been able to post as much as I would have liked. Regarding the discussion of women in world history, I would like to recommend a book called Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas by Richard Trexler. It provides an interesting link into this area. My feeling is that because of the taboos around discussion of sexuality and violence directed towards women, women and glbt people are often left out of the history books. However, violence by men on men (war) is an accepted topic of coversation, therefore it is included. Efforts to include women in history (and literature courses in high schools), must involve discussion around the acceptance and glorification of violence while gender and sexuality is vilified or not seen as important history

Michael Kozuch

History and Social Sciences Department

Newton South High School

(Goldrick House) 617-559-6552

(History Office) ;617-559-6700 x 453188

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From: Sharon Cohen <cohen@BAYFIRST.COM>

Date: October 15, 2005 12:50:38 PM EDT

Subject: Re: World History Models

My preference for teaching is to use gender structures as a consistent theme in world history so that students become accustomed to thinking in terms of how did the changes or continuities in a time period affect both men and women at many levels of the social hierarchy. It seems to make sense, on the other hand, to investigate "what happened to the women" as a case study approach to research. Since we know so much more about men at different levels of the social hierarchy and less about the women, I would appreciate scholars continuing to expand our knowledge of what women in the past were doing.

Sharon Cohen

Springbrook High School

Silver Spring, MD

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From: Heidi Roupp [mailto:Heidiroupp@AOL.COM]

Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 2:46 PM


Subject: Re: World History Models

Is the idea to develop gender studies as a consistent strand/theme of world history?

Or is the idea to use the history of women in various parts of the world at various times as case studies?

What is the advantage of each approach? Are other approaches more useful?


Heidi Roupp

Executive Director

World History Connected



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From: "Miller, Khadijah O." <komiller@NSU.EDU>

Date: October 17, 2005 1:27:33 PM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

Like Sharon, I too teach women consistently and consistencies in my courses. Although, my position is not in History directly, I do teach History courses, particularly, Introduction to Africana and Diasporan Studies. This course is interdisciplinary in nature and allows for the approach to take on many forms-looking at women from various perspectives as well as other groups, who have been traditionally marginalized. My approach, though, is not "women, too" but rather this is what each group did-men, women, Africans, Americans, Europeans, etc. However, as a woman, I do honestly share with students my particular interest in women and that is also evident in my teaching style, approach and content focus.

Khadijah O. Miller, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Norfolk State University

BMH C-107

700 Park Avenue

Norfolk, VA 23504


757.823-8602 (fax)


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I often start my class off with talking about hierarchies or categories of difference, and we come up with as many as they can think of, contemporary and historical; then we do a sort of Venn diagram (though it ends up looking more like a daisy) locating each person we read according to these various categories. It very much helps issues of point of view, and also reinforces the idea visually that all these categories of difference intersect. We come back to this as the semester goes on, especially when I find that the students (or me) start to lapse into generalizations. This seemed less fruitful as I began teaching first semester World History, when nearly everything came from dominant-group guys, but this, too, was news to my students.

Last week Michael Kozuch recommended Richard Trexler's Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas. I liked that book as well when I first read it, but since then have read some quite scathing reviews by Latin Americanists (which Trexler isn't--he's a historian of Renaissance Italy). What do other people think? Other specific suggestions about materials?

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

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From: Nicole Barnes <Nicole.Barnes@COLORADO.EDU>

Date: October 17, 2005 3:21:19 PM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

Regarding the questions posed by Heidi Roupp (see below), I would like to express the following thoughts:

If you simply use women as case studies, then the driving ideology behind your instruction will still be that history belongs to men--men are the primary actors in human societies--and women's stories only serve as a brief field trip into non-male experiences. The message will be that men are the norm, and women are the exception to the norm--their stories are told only when you want to add something new and exciting to your teaching.

This is the means by which historians and teachers of all disciplines first incorporated women's experiences, but people quickly found that it was not a satisfactory way of bringing women into the fold of history. Hence the notion of using gender as a category of analysis. It only makes sense to analyze people's experiences and attitudes as an expression, at least in part, of their experiences as a person of a certain sex, race, nationality (in the modern era), religious affiliation, etc. People would laugh at the notion of studying African-Americans without considering their lives as specifically linked to the experience of being black in the U.S. Similarly, I feel that my experience as female has had just as much impact on my values and judgement as has my experience as a white person in the U.S.

The one advantage that I can see to having a specific course or unit on women in a certain part of the world, as a case study or as a central focus, is that it helps to focus our attention specifically on women, with no apparent need to balance women's stories with those of men. While it is not intellectually advisable to divorce women's experiences from those of men, I think that in this stage of gender and women's studies, this women as case studies approach can help us to move away from the men are the norm, women the exception model of social history and focus on women as a viable field of inquiry in and of themselves.

Two other notes that I would like to make: 1) It is important to remember that there are a whole lot more than just two genders. If we are to truly engage in gender studies, we must move away from the male-female binary and incorporate the stories of people with different gendered experiences (trans, hermaphrodite, intersexed, etc.). This approach also helps us to recognize that the male and female experiences are neither diametrically opposed to and opposite of one another, nor are they easily categorized--one woman's experiences may appear to be more male than another woman's, and any given man's experiences and values may reflect more female norms.

2) As we continue to develop the field of gender studies, it is crucial that we improve our thinking about and analysis of men and male experiences, in tandem with women and female experiences. So often in academic conferences, courses, books, etc., there is an assumption that gender studies means [women and] gender studies, whereas men and masculinity are the unstated, and underanalyzed, opposite pole in a poorly constructed gender binary (refer back to point 1). This makes no sense and it leaves us stranded in the desert when it comes to analyzing and studying men. I believe that two huge contributions that gender studies can make to human understanding are in response to these two points: broaden our understanding of gender, and further enlighten our understanding of men and male experiences. For this reason, I think that it is imperative that teachers, whenever possible, move away from the women as case studies approach and toward gender studies, so as to hasten these intellectual contributions.


Nicole Barnes

The Program for Teaching East Asia

University of Colorado at Boulder

595 UCB, Boulder, CO ; 80309-0595

Phone: 303-735-5127

Fax: 303-735-5126


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I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for resources on women (and gender)to incorporate into a high school world history survey course: Good films? Good primary sources?

Carol Gold

Professor of History

University of Alaska Fairbanks



Patrice Mortson

Centerville, VA


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From: Jenny Lloyd <jlloyd@BROCKPORT.EDU>

Date: October 19, 2005 12:04:15 PM EDT


Subject: Re: World History Models

One general resource I don't think anyone has mentioned yet is Judith Zinsser's chapter on Gender in Palgrave Advances in World Histories, edited by Marnie Hughes-Warrington (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

Jenny Lloyd

Jennifer M. Lloyd, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History Director of the History MA Program Interim Director of Women's Studies SUNY College at Brockport

Check out the Internet Women's History Sourcebook


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I would recommend all high school history teachers get the curriculum units put out by Humanities Out There (HOT)http://hot.hnet.uci.edu. There was an article last year in the OAH newsletter on the units, see http://www.oah.org/pubs/nl/2004nov/luhr.html This article alsocontains the mail and e-mail address to get the FREE units. Anyways, one of the units is called Social Reform and Suffrage: Women's Activism in the Nineteenth Century, 1871-1914 - about 7 pages with sources. The unit used the following bibliographic sources: Books:

Burton, Antoinette. _Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915_ Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1994

Tickner, Lisa. _The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign, 1907-14_ London: Chatto Windus, 1987

Internet sites:


http://womeninworldhistory.com/lesson.html - this looks good



_Mary Poppins_ - the Sister Suffragette scene can be used to introduce the middle class women's movement _Shoulder to Shoulder_ BBC_A Century of Women_ 1994

I hope this helps,

Jeremy Greene

U.S. and World History Teacher

Key Club Advisor

Chelmsford High School

Chelmsford, MA 01863

website: www.TeacherEase.com

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Paul Halsall's internet history source book is the first place I would look for text (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/) There are also increasingly amazing digital data bases available on line, e.g. recently used Liberty, Equality, Fraternity at George Mason University for the French Revolution (http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/) Primary sources here include hundreds of political drawings and songs from the French Revolution and the age of Napoleon. Do a google search limiting hits to .edu .org. or .gov sites. Look at museum, library, government, and university based sites to get the best quality materials.

Once teachers make a commitment to regularly integrating primary sources into social studies/history lessons (at any level), and begin to look for them, you will begin to find more than you could ever imagine using . . .

Liz Ten Dyke, Ph.D.

Kingston, NY


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From: Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Sent: Thu 10/27/2005 8:54 AM


Subject: Resistance?

Hi All--We've had such helpful suggestions this month about materials, approaches, resources, and topics; I hope you have gained as much from this discussion as I have. But before we end our month on general issues involving women in world history, and begin the next month on Africa (moderated by Jean Allman and Marjorie Bingham), I'd like to bring up an issue we haven't touched on--student disinterest and resistance. Are there issues you have tried to introduce or integrate that students resist or seem bored with? Put their pens down and stare off into space? Are these different at the high school and college level? What's your strategy when this happens? I don't mean to end the month on anegative note, but feel this might also be something we can benefit fromdiscussing. I would also like to invite any of you who happen to be going to the NCSSmeeting in Kansas City later in November to join Heidi and me at the WorldHistory Interest Group breakfast meeting on Saturday morning; I'll be giving abrief talk reflecting on women in world history (including some of the issuesthat have come up on this list) and the discussion is sure to be lively, even at that dreadful early hour.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

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From: Pamela Stewart <Pamela.Stewart@ASU.EDU>

Date: October 27, 2005 2:40:25 PM EDT


Subject: Re: Resistance?

After teaching year-long seminars for honors students, which, in my case, amounted to a world-history course (from the ancient world to the present) conducted with only primary sources, I presented the fact that only about 30% of the sources they had read that year had been by or fundamentally about women. I employ a margins-to-center approach in all my classes, which ultimately includes significantly more sources and questions regarding women, slaves, religious minorities, etc., than many who teach similar classes. I therefore regularly ask questions and organize discussion that encourage students to look at laws, military endeavors, religious doctrine, etc., from the viewpoints of those affected by them, not only from the viewpoints of those creating the texts. When presenting the statistics about their required readings for the semester/year, I also told students the ratio of texts produced by those not of white, European background. For the first half of the year, which took them into the 16th c., the % of women-oriented sources was naturally even lower than for the second semester.

We then had a discussion about why their perceptions included the idea that everything had been about women. This led to some excellent insights, including one by a chemistry major about how adding a few drops of a colored material into a clear liquid could make the liquid appear that it was only made up of the few drops. Some of the most resistant students really opened their eyes. Certainly, as students observed, my questions had directed their attention to the experiences of women and other more marginal groups, even in texts where that was not the intent of the writer. As about 10 other professors taught the same course - but with different texts/approaches - students also could make comparisons with what their roommates and friends were learning in other corresponding sections of the course - most of which included little if any discussion of women's lives and ideas. The discussions therefore, also engaged corresponding, broader issues of historical exclusion.

The discussions were enlightening for me, for students, and I can add that more than one has emailed me since, letting me know how much of an impression that made on them. Since they had the evidence right in their syllabus and had read the many primary sources themselves, they didn't have to take my word for it. I find this discussion useful in a variety of classroom situations earlier in the semester, especially since I am no longer teaching the same course,but the surprise at the end of the semester made a particular impact.


Pamela Stewart

Department of History

Arizona State University

PO Box 874302

Tempe, AZ 85287-4302



fax: 480.965.0310

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From: Susie Berger <susan.j.berger@GMAIL.COM>

Date: October 27, 2005 11:05:22 PM EDT


Subject: Re: Resistance?

Hi all,

This is my first post, but I find resistance such a wonderful idea. My dissertation will discuss a clandestine curriculum of resistance in the Warsaw ghetto and until a few months ago, I refused to look at gender.

Dr. Nechama Tec writes wonderfully about gendered resistance. I refer specifically to Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust (2003 Yale U Press) and Defiance: The Bielski Partisans (1993 Oxford U Press). A sociologist and Holocaust survivor, it has only been in the past 20 or so years that Dr. Tec has begun understanding her experiences (her entire family was hidden by Poles during the Holocaust), and the role her mother, sister, and ultimately females played while resisting Nazi decrees.

I think all of her works are appropriate for mature HS students (especially Dry Tears 1984), and definitely college students. Not that they are graphic; however, Dr. Tec does not mince words regarding what it took to survive and resist Nazi domination.

Hope this helps continue the conversation.


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On 10/27/05, Elizabeth Ten Dyke <etendyke@earthlink.net> wrote:

Rather than resistance I find fascination and a very high level of interest. Studying primary sources on women, and discussing women's lives and issues of gender, also shifts the balance of discursive power in the classroom, if you will. With 10th graders today--discussion of Mary Wollstonecraft and her (critical) comment in A Vindication about women striving to be nothing more than alluring mistresses . . . While some of the males jokingly shouted yeah! yeah! many actually said they wouldn't want girlfriends or wives who weren't something more . . . Of course the women were startled into thinking about how much they take for granted the rights and freedoms they have in American society. I recall another discussion about Athens/Sparta--polling the students about their preference. Where would they prefer to live? I expected the textbook response--Athens with its philosophical, intellectual, artistic, and political culture. One by one almost every women in the class said Sparta! (We'd read and discussed Aristotle's Oh a Good Wife & and material from Pomeroy's Spartan Women among other sources). This opened up a wonderfully frank, energized, and, it seemed to me, empowering conversation for the young women (9th graders) about their priorities, dreams, and goals.

Resistance? Never.

Liz Ten Dyke

Elizabeth A. Ten Dyke, Ph.D.

Kingston, NY


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I was heartened to see that my query about resistance to women's/gender history on the part of students did not immediately provoke a flood of here too. Perhaps as the students that you all have move through the pipeline, the group of guys with their arms folded in the back of the room will grow smaller. I was quite wistful about Ben's comments about getting students up and moving--I've been able to incorporate many pedagogical suggestions I've learned from working with high school teachers, but just haven't figured out how to do active learning very well in a class of 300 with stadium seating.I teach in a huge physics room, so if I could perhaps come up with a world history approach that incorporated the periodic table, bunson burners, and a sink, I'd be fine.

I'm signing off as moderator, and turning this job over to Jean Allman and Marjorie Bingham for their focus on Africa.* I would like to say again how interesting this discussion has been, and invite any of you who happen to be going to the NCSS meeting in Kansas City later this month to join Heidi and me at the World History Interest Group breakfast meeting on Saturday morning; I'll be giving a brief talk reflecting on women in world history (including some of the issues that have come up on this list) and the discussion is sure to be lively. You can sign up at the NCSS website until this Friday; there will be no tickets available at the door.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks


*To register for the Women in Africa forum, moderated by Jean Allman and

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