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Hidden from History? Feminist Historians Fight Back

Questions to ponder whilst you read…

  • Were feminist historians successful in changing the discipline of history?
  • Was the shift from ‘women’s history’ to ‘gender history’ a feminist move?
  • How have feminist historians re-shaped our understandings of class in history?
  • What do historians mean when they say that ‘gender is a category of historical analysis’?


Core Reading
D.L. Dworkin, ‘Remaking the British Working Class: Sonya Rose and Feminist History’, in P. Levine & S.R. Grayzel (eds.), Gender, Labour, War and Empire : Essays on Modern Britain (2009)

G. Bock, ‘Women’s History and the History of Gender: Aspects of an International Debate’, Gender and History, 1 (1989)

Further Reading

Laura Lee Downs, 'If "Woman" Is Just an Empty Category Then Why Am I Afraid to Walk Alone at Night? Identity Politics Meets the Post-Modern Subject', Comparative Studies in Society and History 35:2 (April 1993), 414-437.[A provocative and controversial intervention into the debate which helps to understand why some people felt so strongly against the shift to gender history]

J. Scott, Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, The American Historical Review, 91:5 (Dec, 1986), 1053-1075

L.L. Downs, ‘From Women’s History to Gender History’, in S. Berger, H. Feldner and K. Passmore (eds.)., Writing History: Theory and Practice (2003)

Joan Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (1988), esp. chs.1-2.

S.O. Rose, ‘Gender at Work. Sex, Class, and Industrial Capitalism’, History Workshop 21:1 (1986), 113-132

A. Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (1995) [Introduction]

K. Cowman, ‘"Carrying on a Long Tradition" : Second-Wave Presentations of First-Wave Feminism in Spare Rib c. 1972—80’, European Journal of Women’s Studies 17:3 (2010) 193-210