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Gender in History (New Perspectives on the Past) [Hardcover]

Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks

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24 Aug 2001 New Perspectives on the Past
This concise overview explores the construction of gender in many cultures around the world at different times.

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"Merry Wiesner–Hanks has produced a judicious and learned book. Gender in History brilliantly explores the influence of gender constructs in political, social, economic, and cultural affairs. The remarkable cultural geographical, and chronological range of Wiesner–Hanks′ research is matched only by the sophistication, nuance, and clarity of her analysis. This book offers a rare and valuable global perspective on gender roles in human history." Jerry H. Bentley, University of Hawaii <!––end––>

"Professor Merry Wiesner–Hanks draws on this wealth of scholarship and her own research to provide a welcome overview of gender in global history from prehistory to date... I would recommend Gender in History as a set text for all students beginning a degree in history, alongside more conventional fare like E. H. Carr′s What is History? It should not be restricted to those students who select a course in which the main topic of study is gender. For, crucially, it demonstrates that gender is as significant as social class, race and ethnicity as a category of historical analysis, as well as providing novice historians with many insights into understanding history. This is not to ignore that it is also of value to more experienced historians, particularly because of its thematically arranged suggestions for further reading." Reviews in History

"Wiesner–Hanks ... accomplishes a near–impossible feat – a review of what is known about the construction of gender and the character of women′s lives in all known cultures over the course of human history ... Theoretically sophisticated and doing justice to the historical and cross–cultural record, yet assimilable by students ..." Choice

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Over the past 20 years, the study of history has been revolutionised by considerations of gender, and yet most books on the subject focus on only one period or region. This concise overview redresses the balance, exploring the construction of gender in many cultures around the world at different times.

The material is presented thematically, encouraging readers to appreciate the connections between gender and other structures such as the family, the economy, law, religion, sexuality and the state. The author investigates how what it meant to be a man or woman was shaped by these institutions, and how they in turn were influenced by gender. Within each chapter, information is arranged chronologically in order to highlight the ways in which gender structures have varied over time.

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The title of this book would have made little sense to me when I chose to be a history major nearly three decades ago. Read the first page
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