History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism

Overview

Written for everyone interested in women's and gender history, History Matters reaffirms the importance to feminist theory and activism of long-term historical perspectives. Judith M. Bennett, who has been commenting on developments in women's and gender history since the 1980s, argues that the achievement of a more feminist future relies on a rich, plausible, and well-informed knowledge of the past, and she asks her readers to consider what sorts of feminist history can best ...
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History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism

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Overview

Written for everyone interested in women's and gender history, History Matters reaffirms the importance to feminist theory and activism of long-term historical perspectives. Judith M. Bennett, who has been commenting on developments in women's and gender history since the 1980s, argues that the achievement of a more feminist future relies on a rich, plausible, and well-informed knowledge of the past, and she asks her readers to consider what sorts of feminist history can best advance the struggles of the twenty-first century.

Bennett takes as her central problem the growing chasm between feminism and history. Closely allied in the 1970s, each has now moved away from the other. Seeking to narrow this gap, Bennett proposes that feminist historians turn their attention to the intellectual challenges posed by the persistence of patriarchy. A new manifesto, History Matters engages forthrightly with the challenges faced by feminist historians today. It argues for the radical potential of a history that is focused on feminist issues, aware of the distant past, attentive to continuities over time, and alert to the workings of patriarchal power.

About the Author:
Judith M. Bennett is Professor of History at the University of Southern California

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a book that will help us think deeper, and better, about the history we practice and its impact in the world."—Laura Gowing, King's College, London

"This is a remarkable work, at once erudite, insightful, witty, provocative, and analytically brilliant. Bennett writes with narrative verve and energy that captures the reader in both her compelling argument and detailed evidence."—Bonnie G. Smith, Rutgers University

"Judith Bennett offers a striking analysis of the current state of feminist history. In a series of lucid chapters, she demonstrates the political and intellectual consequences of forgetting the past. This book should be required reading for every feminist who cares about the future."—Martha Vicinus, University of Michigan

"Bennett argues convincingly that our understanding of modern women's condition and contemporary feminist dilemmas must be rooted in the longue durée. From that perspective, we can develop a more nuanced and sophisticated analysis of the 'patriarchal equilibrium' that has so long constrained women's lives and efforts to transform them."—Nancy A. Hewitt, Rutgers University

"This book should be required reading for anyone who believes that studying history 'for its own sake' misses the inherent revolutionary potential of the enterprise."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812220049
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith M. Bennett is Professor of History at the University of Southern California. She is the author of numerous books, including Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 and Women in the Medieval English Countryside: Gender and Household in Brigstock Before the Plague. She is coeditor, with Amy M. Froide, of Singlewomen in the European Past, 1250-1800, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: Feminism and History
Chapter 2. Feminist History and Women's History
Chapter 3. Who's Afraid of the Distant Past?
Chapter 4. Patriarchal Equilibrium
Chapter 5. Less Money Than a Man Would Take
Chapter 6. The L-Word in Women's History
Chapter 7. The Master and the Mistress
Chapter 8. Conclusion: For Whom Are We Doing Feminist History?

Notes
Index

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