How we did the "fallen" women of Bologna regain their lost honor as wives or nuns? Why did the church need to control the "quasi-magical" power of female fertility? What did working women do to transform the factory environment-- as well as their social identity? In the microstoria of Italian scholars, good stories make even better history.
"Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective"-- the inaugural volume of Selections from Quaderni Storici-- looks at sexual mores and gender roles in European social history of popular culture, these scholars present a broad and highly original view of human history. Taking a microhistorical approach, they explore topics including witchcraft and sexual intercourse, folk explanations of "monstrous" births, the reception of syphilis in Europe, sexual honor, female roles in Christian spiritual practices, and women in "men's jobs".
Without losing sight of larger historical themes or societal structures, the authors offer a refreshingly particular and subtle view of everyday people, their hopes and visions, and their words. Drawing from archives and manuscripts that have received little attention until now, "Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective" illuminates the cultural and political forces that shaped gender perception and sexuality over the centuries and offers an engaging and powerful challenge to current assumptions.
About the Author
Edward Muir is the Ver Steeg Professor of History at Northwestern University. He is the editor, with Guido Ruggiero, of Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective and Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe.