Women's History
Book Reviews


Sharing the World Stage:
Biography and Gender in World History
Volume 1 & Volume 2
Jane Slaughter et. als., 2008

This paperback series provides terrific classroom teaching tools. Each chapter focuses on one woman and one man who were key players in major events of the period under analysis. The authors, who have used these sources in their world civilization survey courses, site the rewards they found in letting students connect with specific people in the past while challenging the view of a universal female and male experience. Sometimes the pairing is wonderfully provocative, such as Anna Comnena and Raymond of Toulouse in volume I, and Mary Wollstonecraft and Equiano in volume 2.

Each chapter begins with background information on the period in which the individuals lived. The documents that follow open with a brief introductions and several focus questions. Additional short documents are also used to augment the information presented. At the conclusion of the chapter, suggested discussion questions ask students to pull together conflicting relationships, behaviors, and events, and place them in their historical context.

Volume 1 offers pieces from ancient Mesopotamia to the Ottoman Empire.

The second volume in this series covers the early modern world, 1500-1800 to 1962. Here the documents are grouped under broader themes to provide interesting comparatives. For example, the theme for part one, "Gender, Colonialism and Conquest in the Early Modern World", uses Hernan Cortes and Malintzin, Hurrem Sultan and Ibrahim Pasha, Jahangir and Nur Jahan, and Autshumato and Krotoa. Other broad themes are "Experiments in Revolutionary Change and Resistance," "Mass Politics of the Left and Right," and "Writing and Performing Dissent in a Global Community."

Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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