Creating Women: An Anthology of Readings on Women in Western Culture, Volume I: Prehistory Through the Middle Ages / Edition 1

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Overview

Creating Women is a rich, interdisciplinary, two-volume anthology of primary source material examining women's participation in and contributions to western culture over the centuries. It documents prevalent concepts of the nature of women and women's roles and status in diverse cultures, geographic locations, and periods of western civilization. Narrative framework, biographical vignettes, and introductions to documents carefully place women and their achievements within the social context in which they lived and worked.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137596225
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 11/29/2004
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Our goal in writing this two-volume work is to provide students and instructors with a more comprehensive understanding of the history of humankind than has previously been available to the non-specialist. As the title suggests, these volumes document the significant part women have played in the development of Western civilization, from the Upper Paleolithic era (we begin ca. 35,000 B.C.E.) to the present. We have brought together a varied collection of primary source materials including archeological artifacts, images, and texts that reveal women's participation in all aspects of human culture, religion, the visual and performing arts, literature, philosophy, and public affairs.

We deliberately chose our title, Creating Women, because, in addition to its obvious reference to creative women, it reflects another important dimension of Western civilization: The ways in which societal notions of gender (masculine/feminine) and gender roles have in essence "created" and/or "constructed" women. A significant consequence of this social construction is that women's experiences and opportunities have often differed in significant ways from those of men. Together, the documents tell much about Western notions of sex differences and how and why "the woman question" continues to be among the most persistent controversies in Western thought and discourse.

Creating Women, like many other new texts, evolved from the need for reading materials for a new course. In 1985, a team of Florida State University faculty and graduate students from history, dance, theater, music, English, classics, religion, humanities, and art history received a university grant to develop an introductory course for women's studies that would also fulfill part of the university's liberal studies requirements. Jean Gould Bryant, director of the women's studies program, led that project and Linda Bennett Elder was a member of the development team from its inception.

The decision to develop an interdisciplinary humanities course was prompted by several considerations. We wanted a course to complement an existing humanities sequence that introduced students to the traditional canon of cultural developments of Western civilization but made few references to women's contributions. We also sought to fill curriculum gaps in classics, music, art history, theater, and European history and to provide a catalyst for the creation of courses on women and gender across the arts and sciences. We hoped as well to create incentives for faculty to include information related to women's accomplishments and experiences within existing courses. The course, Women in Western Culture: Images and Realities, was a vital addition to our women's studies curriculum that had previously focused almost exclusively on the Western world since the seventeenth century, with heavy emphasis on contemporary American society.

In 1986, as now, there were a few discipline-specific texts and anthologies of secondary articles and primary source readings, but no interdisciplinary text or anthology concerning women existed and no anthology spanned the entire history of Western civilization. As we proceeded to refine Women in Western Culture, we recognized not only the need for an interdisciplinary reader, but also a unique situation for developing such a text. Since 1986, we have used a variety of readings, audio-visual resources, and lecture material in our respective courses on women in Western humanities. We have also explored different configurations of chronology and course themes suggested by the critiques, questions and responses of our students, and our mutual assessments. We discovered, for example, that although many contemporary feminist scholars ignore religion, religion is one of the most prevalent markers of women's participation in culture from prehistory through the medieval period, and it remained a critical factor through the nineteenth century. Over time we integrated the discrete multidisciplinary pieces of our examination of women into a coherent truly interdisciplinary course that highlighted major themes and patterns that emerged across disciplines and centuries.

The results have been exciting for us and for our students. We discovered that examining women's cultural achievements and struggles provides an innovative framework for discussing women's legal, socioeconomic, religious, and/or political status in different times and places. We found that the multidisciplinary approach ensures that each student will discover some individuals whose life/work matches her or his personal interests or career aspirations and may indeed discover new role models or cultural icons for inspiration. We also learned that bringing women and their voices to the forefront sometimes radically changed our understanding of certain periods of Western civilization and often introduced provocative new cultural forms, alternative visions of society and its institutions, and challenging critiques of values, ideas, and societal arrangements that many have regarded as "fixed" Western cultural traditions.

Creating Women is the product of an extended period of living with the material, adding to it and reconfiguring it in response to input from our students and colleagues. Both volumes integrate insights from an abundance of new scholarship that has enriched women's history in all fields over the last three decades. We believe that the interdisciplinary approach we have taken in these volumes and the expansive time-span that we have elected to cover will generate spirited discussion. Our approach will also add significantly to the reader's understanding of women and gender in Western civilization, thereby providing a more complete and realistic picture of the history of humankind.

CREATING WOMEN: STRUCTURE

Each volume consists of three parts with five chapters in each. Volume one encompasses women and culture from prehistory through the middle ages:

  • Part I: Women in Prehistory and the Ancient Near East
  • Part II: Women in the Mediterranean and Greco-Roman World
  • Part III: Women in the Roman Empire, Christian Origins, Late Antiquity, and the Middle Ages

Volume Two encompasses women and culture from the Renaissance to the present:

  • Part I: Women in Early Modern Europe
  • Part II: Women and Culture, 1750-1920
  • Part III: Women and Culture in the Twentieth Century
CREATING WOMEN: FEATURES
  • The narrative, biographical vignettes, and document introductions place women and their achievements within the broader social-political context in which they lived and worked.
  • Introductory narrative helps guide students' analysis of material and facilitates class discussion.
  • Maps, charts, and narrative link women and their achievements with more familiar events and personages in Western civilization and also illustrate significant clusters of female creativity.
  • Selected bibliographies facilitate student projects and enable instructors to enrich classes with audiovisual material.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I Women in Pre-history and The Ancient Near East

Chapter 1 Paleolithic,Neolithic, and Proto-Historic Cultures

Paleolithic Old Europe

Social Organization

Subsistence

Technology

Religion

The Holy

Symbol System

Myth and Ritual

Religious Functionaries

Neolithic Old Europe

Religion

The Holy

Ritual

Religious Functionaries

Myth

Symbol Systems

Social Organization

Subsistence

Neolithic Anatolia

Religion

The Holy

Myth

Ritual

Religious Functionaries

Social Organization

Subsistence

Technology

The Proto-Historic Period

Scenario One

Scenario Two

Suggested Readings

Chapter 2 Ancient Near Eastern Mesopotamia: The Religious Context

Religion

The Holy/Myth

The Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Damuzi

Pudu-heppas’ Prayer to Arinna the Sun Goddess

Religious Functionaries

En, Entu: High Priestess

The High Priestess Enheduanna’s Hymn to Inanna

Contexts of Correspondence from Mari

The Ugbabatum Priestess

Zimri-Lim to Kibri-Dagan Re: Ugbabatum Priestess of Dagan

Zimri-Lim to Queen Sibtu Re: Ugbabatum Priestess of Dagan

The Naditu

Love Song to a King

Harris’ Description of Naditus

Excerpt 2

Eristi-Aya, a Daughter of Zimri-Lim, Letter Excerpts

Two Letters from Lamassi

Female Scribes and Entrepreneurs

Amat Samas, Scribe

Hussutum, the Daughter of Sin-putram

Iltani the Princess, Excerpts

Inanna-amamu, Scribe, Daughter of Abba-tabum, Excerpts

Female Prophets

Oracles

Suggested Readings

Chapter 3 Ancient Near Eastern Mesopotamia: The Social Context

Social Organization

Cosmology Shapes Culture

The Enuma Elish: The Babylonian Genesis

Women in the Aristocracy

Women of the Royal Household

Queen Adad-Guppi, A Burial Inscription

Correspondences: Personal and Political

Queen Sibtu of Mari, Correspondence Excerpts

Politically Prominent Concubines of Zimri-Lim, Letter Excerpts

A Political Marriage

Legal Status of Women

Legal Codes

Law Codes from Lipit Ishtar 3000-2500 B.C.E.

Lipit-Ishtar Law Code 3000-2500 B.C.E.

Ur-Nammu Law Code 2000’s B.C.E.

Eshnunna Law Code 2000’s B.C.E.

Hittite Law Codes ca. 1800 B.C.E.

Law Code of Hammurabi 1700s B.C.E.

Women Outside the Nobility

Female Scribes

Female Merchants and Artisans

Female Serfs

Female Slaves

Suggested Readings

Chapter 4 Ancient Egypt

Social Organization

Religion

The Holy/Myth: Female Principle of the Divine

Ma’at, Cosmic Female Principle ofWisdom and Judgment of the Dead

The Goddess Isis Discovers Re’s Unknown Name of Power

The Holy/Ritual

Hymn to Hathor

Female Religious Functionaries

First Prophet of Amun

Stele of Nitocris at Medinet Habu

Women in the Aristocracy

Female Kings of Egypt

Meryt-Neith

Nitocris

Sobeknofu

Hatshepsut

Obelisk Inscriptions of Queen Hatshepsut in the Temple of Karnak

Nefertiti

Twosret

Female Queens of Egypt

Queen Ankhesenamun of Egypt and King Suppiluliumas

Queen Tiye

A Proclamation by Amenhotep III

Women Outside the Nobility

Legal Status of Women

Women’s Occupations

Education

Wisdom Literature

The Instruction of Ani from the Reign of Queen Nefertari

Egyptian Secular Love Poetry

Poems from Papyrus Harris 500 11

Suggested Readings

Chapter 5 Ancient Israel

Social Organization

Women of the Patriarchs

Sarah and Hagar,Mothers of Two Nations

Women in the Aristocracy

Queens, Princesses, Queen Mothers

Bathsheba,Wife of King David,Mother of King Solomon

Tamar, David’s Daughter, Raped by Her Brother Amnon

Queen of Sheba and Solomon: Mutual Admiration

Jezebel, a Despised Foreign Queen of Israel; Devotee of Ba’al and Asherah

Religion

The Holy

The Female Principle of Divine Wisdom Was Present at Creation

Images of the Female at Creation: Genesis 1 and Genesis 2

Israelites Bake Breads for the Queen of Heaven

The Holy/Ritual

Queen Esther and the Feast of Purim

Female Religious Functionaries

Miriam

The Prophet Miriam at the Sea of Reeds

Miriam: Administrator of Law at Kadesh

Deborah

Deborah: Prophet, Judge, and Warrior in Israel

Huldah, Court Prophet to King Josiah

Women Outside the Nobility

An Unnamed Woman is Sexually Abused in the Name of Hospitality

The Beloved Lover in the Song of Songs

Suggested Readings

Part II Women in The Mediterranean and The Greco-Roman World

Chapter 6 Women at Crete and Greek Women beyond Athens

Brief Overview of Archaeological Excavations at Crete

Social Organization

Subsistence

Technology

Architecture

Nature

Maritime Motif

Protection Motif

Religion

The Holy

Myth

Ritual

Symbol Systems

Female Functionaries

Greek Women’s Experience Beyond Athens

Sparta

Regulations of Lycurgus Concerning Spartan Women

Xenephon on the Education of Spartan Women

Plutarch on the Pride and Assurance of Spartan Women

Aristotle on Women at Sparta

Lesbos

Sappho

Selections from Sappho’s Poems

Telos

Selections from Erinna’s Poems

Two Epigrams for Baucis

Crotona (Italy)

Early Female Pythagoreans

Theano of Crotona, Excerpts

On the Immortality of the Soul

Advice to Women

Myia, Daughter of Theano and Pythagoras

Myia’s Letter to Phyllis

Female Heroes

Telesilla

Artemisia

Suggested Readings

Chapter 7 Athens

Social Organization

Eumenides

Wives, Daughters,Mothers of Citizens

Aristotle, Excerpts from Politics

Women Represented in Greek Tragedy and Comedy

Euripedes,Medea,Medea’s Assessment of Husbands

Legal Status of Women

Isaeus, On Property Laws for Women and Children

Inheritance Laws for Athenian Women

Provisions for Female Children

Religion

The Holy

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Ritual

Callimachus, Thesmophoria Hymn 6

Female Functionaries

Thucydides, Chrysis, Priestess of Hera

The Religious Duties of Aristocratic Young Girls

Women Outside the Aristocracy

Hetairae

Aspasia of Miletus

Plutarch on Aspasia

Menexenus

Plato’s Female Pupils

Women at Work

Occupations

Suggested Readings

Chapter 8 Etruria and The Roman Republic

Etruria

Social Organization

Women in the Aristocracy

The Textual Evidence

Queen Tanaquil: Kingmaker

Archaeological Evidence

Queen Larthia and the Regolini-Galassi Tomb

Ramtha, Immortalized on the Banquet of Eternity” Sarcophagus

Religion

The Holy

Myth

Ritual

Female Religious Functionaries

Vigoia, Etruscan Prophetess

Women Outside the Aristocracy

The Roman Republic

Social Organization

Patrician Women

Men Writing about Patrician Women

Livy’s Account of Lucretia

Valerius Maximus Praises Three Virtuous Women

Legal Status of Women

The Laws of the Kings, Rome

Laws Attributed to Romulus

Laws attributed to Numa Pompilius

Excerpts from “The Twelve Tables”

Husbands’ Punishment of Wives in Early Rome

The Roman Jurists

Religion

The Holy

Myth

Rituals

Female Religious Functionaries

Aulus Gellius’ Account of the Vestal Virgins

Plutarch on Numa Pompilius and the Vestal Virgins

Plebian Women

Should We Organize?

The Rape of the Sabine Women

Suggested Readings

Chapter 9 The Hellenistic World

Social Organization

Women in the Aristocracy

Olympias

Olympias, Queen of Macedonia

Olympias’ Tears

The Aged Olympias Rides into Battle

Hellenistic Queens: Ptolemaic Egypt

Arsinoe II Philadelphus

Cleopatra VII

A Sympathetic Portrait of Cleopatra VII

Education

Education for Women

Women Outside the Aristocracy

Female Philosophers

Hipparchia the Cynic

Female Pythagoreans

“On Human Nature”

Late Pythagoreans

Perictione I: On the Harmony ofWomen

Letter from Theano II to Rhodope

Perictione II: Sophias (Wisdom)

Female Physicians

Female Poets

Anyte: Epigrams

Miletus

Thersis

Nossis: Epigrams

To Hera

To Thaumarete

Musicians and Painters

Women Painters

Polygnota, the Harpist

Occupations

Eirene, Agricultural Entrepreneur

Religion

Mystery Religions

The Holy/Myth

Isis and Osiris

Suggested Readings

Chapter 10 Women in Hellenistic Judaism

Social Organization

Women In The Aristocracy

Salome Alexandra

Salome Alexandra Portrayed by Josephus

Education

Influence Among Hellenistic Jews

Jewish Women and Education in the Hellenistic Period

“The Rule Annex,” IQSA

Mishnaic Tractates

Legal Status of Women

Mishnaic Tractates Concerning Marriage and Women’s Inheritance

Ketubot

Religion

The Holy

Sophia in the Wisdom of Solomon

Sophia in Sirach

The Holy/Myth

Judith’s Victory Ode

The Holy Ritual

Jewish Maidens Re-enact Seila’s Pilgrimage

Female Theraputae Celebrate in Hymns and Dances

Venerable Female Essenes are Honored and Esteemed

Female Religious Functionaries

Female Leaders Featured in Texts

The Sages Recognize Seila’s Wisdom

Women Outside the Aristocracy

Jewish Women in Alexandrian Public Life

Philo on the Special Laws

Female Entrepreneurs

Female Entrepreneurs at Elephantine

Suggested Readings

Part III The Roman Empire, Christian Origins, Late Antiquity, and The Middle Ages

Chapter 11 The Roman Empire

Social Organization

Octavian Becomes Caesar Augustus

Social Organization at the Beginning of the Roman Empire

Women in the Aristocracy

Livia, Empress of Augustus

Octavian’s Generosity to Livia

Tiberius’s Resentment of Livia

Livia’s Legacy Is Influenced by Tiberius

Julia, Daughter of Augustus

Julia’s Wit

Caenis, Concubine of the Emperor Vespasian

Noble Roman Women Outside of Rome

Flavia Publica Nicomachus, Phocaea, Asia Minor, Second Century C.E.

Modia Quintia, Africa Proconsularis, Second—Third Centuries C.E.

Aurelia Leite, Female Benefactor, Paros, 300 C.E.

Pamphile, a Learned Woman, First Century, C.E.

Legal Status of Women

Laws in the Roman Empire, 30 B.C.E.—250 C.E.

Gaius on the Guardianship ofWomen

A Law Requiring Men to Marry

Rewards for Marrying and Producing Children

The Consequences of Adultery

Lolliane,Mother of Three, Requests Legal Autonomy

Religion

The Holy

The Transformation of Lucius

Myth/Ritual

Rituals of Initiation

Ovid on the Worship of the Goddess Vesta

Female Functionaries

Women Outside the Nobility

Musonius Rufus On the Education ofWomen

Women’s Occupations

Plebian Women and Freedwomen

Apollonia, a Philosopher from Mysia

A Female Commentator on Religious Ritual, Delphi

Phile, Female Magistrate and Civic Benefactor, Priene

Amemone, a Bar-maid

An Actress from the Theatre at Aquileia

To Bassilla, an Actress

Women Who Practiced Medicine

Primilla, a Physician at Rome

Women in the Service or the Imperial Household

Chapter 12 Christian Origins

The Women Around Jesus

Prophetic Gesture: A Woman Who Anointed Jesus’ Head

Woman Who Anointed Jesus’ Head

Mary of Magdala

Mary Magdalene Among Women Who Provided for Jesus

The Magdalene at the Resurrection in Luke’s Gospel

Mary Magdalene in John’s Passion Narrative

Gospel of Phillip Presents Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ Companion

Gospel of Mary

Martha

Joanna

Female Prophets

Anna the Prophet

Four Sisters Are Prophets

Women in the Apostolic Church

Teachers

Priscilla and Aquila

Female Missionaries and Leaders at Rome

Phoebe: Deacon and Prostasis at Cenchreae

Prisca: Missionary, Leader of a Church, Teacher

Mary: A Worker in the Church at Rome

Junia, Apostle

Tryphena and Tryphosa,Workers in the Lord

The Mother of Rufus: a Mother to Paul

Julia: Sister of Nereus; Olympas: Saints in the Church at Rome

Women in the Post-Apostolic Church

Female Priests Among Thracians

Arabian Christian Women of Thracian Descent Who Bake Cakes to the Virgin Mary and Function as Priests

A Montanist Visionary Submits Her Revelation to Careful Scrutiny

The Montanists Prophets Maximilla and Priscilla

Women Bishops, Presbyters, and Prophets among the Followers of Quintilla and Priscilla

Images of the Female Principle of the Divine in Early Christian Gnostic Communities

“The Thunder, Perfect Mind”

Female Heroes in Second and Third Century Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of Thecla

Perpetua’s Account of Her Persecution

Suggested Readings

Chapter 13 Late Antiquity

Roman Women

Ummidia Quadratilla

Ummidia and Her Grandson

Asclepiginia of Athens

Asclepigenia’s Influence

Jewish Women

Queen Helena of Adiabene

Queen Helena

Babata, a Wealthy Female Entrepreneur

Excerpts from the Babata Archives

Female Leaders in Synagogues

Heads of Synagogues: Sophia and Theopempte

Priests: Maria and Guadentia

Donors to Synagogues: Alexandra, Eupithis, and Halipho

Rabbinic Judaism

Beruriah

Byzantine Women

Helen,Mother of Constantine

Hypatia of Alexandria

The Murder of Hypatia

Empress Theodora

Christian Women in Late Antiquity: East and West

Origins of Female Monasticism in the East

Saint Macrina, Founder, Abbess, Teacher

Desert Mothers

Amma Sarah Instructs Holy Men

Amma Syncletica Teaches Perseverance and Humility

Female Deacons and the Order of Widows

“Regulations for Deaconesses”

“Regulations for Christian Widows”

Origins of Monasticism in the West

Jerome Praises Marcella and Her “Circle” of Holy Women

Egeria’s Account of Her Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

The Celts

Women Warriors

“Rhiannon, the Horse Goddess”

“Maedb,Woman Warrior”

Celtic Christian Saints

“St. Non”

“St.Melangell”

Suggested Readings

Chapter 14 Medieval Culture: The Religious Context

Monastic life and Female Creativity

Radegund of Poitiers (520—587)

The Fall of Thuringia

Hrotswitha of Gandersheim (ca. 935—1001)

Dulcitius or The Martyrdom of the Holy Virgins Agape, Chione, and Irene

Hildegard of Bingen (1098—1179)

Hildegard to Pope Anastasius, 1153—54

Excerpts from Causae et curae

Songs from Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations

“Vision Nine: 15 Wisdom and her appearance” from Scivias

Manuscript Illuminations

Varieties of Female Piety

Mechthild of Magdeburg (ca. 1210-ca. 1282):Mystic and Beguine

The Flowing Light of the Godhead

Marguerite Porete (12??—1310):Mystic and Beguine

Mirror of Simple Souls

Julian of Norwich (b. 1343?):Mystic and Anchorite

The Revelations of Divine Love

Medieval Images of Women: The Eva/Ave Dualism

Malleus Maleficarum or The Hammer ofWitches, 1486: Eva Imagery

“Why Superstition is chiefly found in Women” from Malleus Maleficarum

Ave Imagery:Mariology or the Cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Suggested Readings

Chapter 15 Medieval Culture: The Secular Context

The Women Troubadours (Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries)

Castelloza (born ca. 1200)

“Chanson II”

La Comtessa de Dia (b. ca. 1140)

“Estat ai en greu cossirier”

Bieris De Romans

“Chanson to Maria”

Women Artists, Artisans, and Patrons

The Art of Embroidery

Skilled Textile Workers and Guilds

Ordinances Regulating the Paris Silk Workers’ Guild, 1254—71

London Silk Women’s Petition to Parliament, 1455

Manuscript Illuminations

Anastasia

Women Book Owners as Patrons

Two Major Writers of the Middle Ages

Marie de France (Twelfth Century): Poet and Social Critic

Selections from Marie’s Fables

Christine de Pizan (1365-ca. 1430—34): Voice for Women and France

Pizan’s Defense ofWomen: The Book of the City of Ladies 1405

Treasure of the City of Ladies

Pizan’s Lament on the Evils of the Civil War, 1410

Suggested Readings

Bibliography

Read More Show Less

Preface

Our goal in writing this two-volume work is to provide students and instructors with a more comprehensive understanding of the history of humankind than has previously been available to the non-specialist. As the title suggests, these volumes document the significant part women have played in the development of Western civilization, from the Upper Paleolithic era (we begin ca. 35,000 B.C.E.) to the present. We have brought together a varied collection of primary source materials including archeological artifacts, images, and texts that reveal women's participation in all aspects of human culture, religion, the visual and performing arts, literature, philosophy, and public affairs.

We deliberately chose our title, Creating Women, because, in addition to its obvious reference to creative women, it reflects another important dimension of Western civilization: The ways in which societal notions of gender (masculine/feminine) and gender roles have in essence "created" and/or "constructed" women. A significant consequence of this social construction is that women's experiences and opportunities have often differed in significant ways from those of men. Together, the documents tell much about Western notions of sex differences and how and why "the woman question" continues to be among the most persistent controversies in Western thought and discourse.

Creating Women, like many other new texts, evolved from the need for reading materials for a new course. In 1985, a team of Florida State University faculty and graduate students from history, dance, theater, music, English, classics, religion, humanities, and art history received a university grant to develop an introductory course for women's studies that would also fulfill part of the university's liberal studies requirements. Jean Gould Bryant, director of the women's studies program, led that project and Linda Bennett Elder was a member of the development team from its inception.

The decision to develop an interdisciplinary humanities course was prompted by several considerations. We wanted a course to complement an existing humanities sequence that introduced students to the traditional canon of cultural developments of Western civilization but made few references to women's contributions. We also sought to fill curriculum gaps in classics, music, art history, theater, and European history and to provide a catalyst for the creation of courses on women and gender across the arts and sciences. We hoped as well to create incentives for faculty to include information related to women's accomplishments and experiences within existing courses. The course, Women in Western Culture: Images and Realities, was a vital addition to our women's studies curriculum that had previously focused almost exclusively on the Western world since the seventeenth century, with heavy emphasis on contemporary American society.

In 1986, as now, there were a few discipline-specific texts and anthologies of secondary articles and primary source readings, but no interdisciplinary text or anthology concerning women existed and no anthology spanned the entire history of Western civilization. As we proceeded to refine Women in Western Culture, we recognized not only the need for an interdisciplinary reader, but also a unique situation for developing such a text. Since 1986, we have used a variety of readings, audio-visual resources, and lecture material in our respective courses on women in Western humanities. We have also explored different configurations of chronology and course themes suggested by the critiques, questions and responses of our students, and our mutual assessments. We discovered, for example, that although many contemporary feminist scholars ignore religion, religion is one of the most prevalent markers of women's participation in culture from prehistory through the medieval period, and it remained a critical factor through the nineteenth century. Over time we integrated the discrete multidisciplinary pieces of our examination of women into a coherent truly interdisciplinary course that highlighted major themes and patterns that emerged across disciplines and centuries.

The results have been exciting for us and for our students. We discovered that examining women's cultural achievements and struggles provides an innovative framework for discussing women's legal, socioeconomic, religious, and/or political status in different times and places. We found that the multidisciplinary approach ensures that each student will discover some individuals whose life/work matches her or his personal interests or career aspirations and may indeed discover new role models or cultural icons for inspiration. We also learned that bringing women and their voices to the forefront sometimes radically changed our understanding of certain periods of Western civilization and often introduced provocative new cultural forms, alternative visions of society and its institutions, and challenging critiques of values, ideas, and societal arrangements that many have regarded as "fixed" Western cultural traditions.

Creating Women is the product of an extended period of living with the material, adding to it and reconfiguring it in response to input from our students and colleagues. Both volumes integrate insights from an abundance of new scholarship that has enriched women's history in all fields over the last three decades. We believe that the interdisciplinary approach we have taken in these volumes and the expansive time-span that we have elected to cover will generate spirited discussion. Our approach will also add significantly to the reader's understanding of women and gender in Western civilization, thereby providing a more complete and realistic picture of the history of humankind.

CREATING WOMEN: STRUCTURE

Each volume consists of three parts with five chapters in each. Volume one encompasses women and culture from prehistory through the middle ages:

  • Part I: Women in Prehistory and the Ancient Near East
  • Part II: Women in the Mediterranean and Greco-Roman World
  • Part III: Women in the Roman Empire, Christian Origins, Late Antiquity, and the Middle Ages

Volume Two encompasses women and culture from the Renaissance to the present:

  • Part I: Women in Early Modern Europe
  • Part II: Women and Culture, 1750-1920
  • Part III: Women and Culture in the Twentieth Century

CREATING WOMEN: FEATURES

  • The narrative, biographical vignettes, and document introductions place women and their achievements within the broader social-political context in which they lived and worked.
  • Introductory narrative helps guide students' analysis of material and facilitates class discussion.
  • Maps, charts, and narrative link women and their achievements with more familiar events and personages in Western civilization and also illustrate significant clusters of female creativity.
  • Selected bibliographies facilitate student projects and enable instructors to enrich classes with audiovisual material.
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