In this study of the gendering of the practices of history, Bonnie Smith resurrects the amateur history written by women in the 19th century - a type of history condemned as trivial by "scientific" male historians. She demonstrates the degree to which the profession defined itself in opposition to amateurism, femininity and alternative ways of writing history. The male historians of the archive and the seminar claimed to be searching for "genderless universal truth", which in reality according to Smith prioritized men's history over women's, white history over non-white, and the political history of Western governments over any other. Meanwhile, women amateurs wrote vivid histories of queens and accomplished women, of manners and mores, and of everyday life. Following the profession up to 1940, this text traces the emergence of a renewed interest in social and cultural history which had been demeaned in the 19th century, when professoinal historians viewed themselves as supermen who could see through the surface of events to invisible meanings and motives. But Smith doesn't let late 20th-century historians off the hook.
She demonstrates how, even in the late 1990s, the practice of history is propelled by fantasies of power in which researchers imagine themselves as heroic rescuers of the inarticulate lower classes.
Buy Gender of History book by Bonnie G. Smith from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(235mm x 155mm x 23mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Bonnie G. Smith
Bonnie G. Smith is Professor of History at Rutgers University.