Women's History
Book Reviews


Gender in History: New Perspectives on the Past
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Blackwell Publishers, 2001

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Wiesner-Hanks' fascinating look at history through the lens of gender should be on everyone’s bookshelf! Here is a short, concise analysis of trends of thought about the origins of historic male/female differences, and chapters on how gender has regulated the lives of women and men within families, economic life, laws, ideals and ideas, religion, political life, education, and sexuality. For each chapter there is a detailed bibliography, and in some cases suggested electronic discussion groups. The 246 page paperback is not a strictly chronological account; rather it presents key examples to illustrate the ways in which gender structures have varied over time. While a good attempt was made to include non-western examples, the emphasis remains on western women about whom there is the most available English language material.

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