Women and Gender: In the Western Past, Volume One, 1st Edition

  • Katherine L. French State University of New York, New Paltz
  • Allyson M. Poska University of Mary Washington
  • ISBN-10: 061824624X  |  ISBN-13: 9780618246243
  • 336 Pages
  • © 2007 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $71.25  List Price = $ 95.95



This two-volume survey of the history of women in western civilization spans prehistory to the present. While devoting attention to women of all classes, religions, and ethnicities, the text examines political, economic, intellectual, and social history through the lens of gender. The narrative emphasizes women's agency over oppression and makes cutting-edge scholarship in women's history accessible to a wide audience. Five major themes run throughout the narrative: the relationship between key historical events and ideas and women's lives, the history of the family and sexuality, the social construction of gender, cultural assumptions about women (versus their actual lives), and self perception and women's place in western societies. A rich collection of primary sources and biographies reinforces these themes.


  • Sources from the Past introduce students to primary sources on women's history, from the poetry of Sappho and Sarah Fyge Egerton, to proposals on women's rights during the French Revolution and the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, to modern documents, including an oral history of the Holocaust and an excerpt from the Kinsey Report.
  • The Women's Lives feature tells the stories of interesting women, and engages students through the use of biography. Women profiled include the early Christian martyr Saint Perpetua, 19th century Russian activist Sofia Perovskaia, Harlem Renaissance writer Jessie Redman Fauset, and the Nobel-prize winning chemist Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin.
  • Maps and photos enhance the learning experience by introducing students to geography and visual sources.
  • Each chapter includes an extensive Notes section documenting the wealth of recent scholarship on women and gender. A short list of Suggested Readings provides a useful starting point for student exploration.

Table of Contents

1. Unearthing Gender in the Ancient Mediterranean, to 600 B.C.E.
2. Ancient Greece, 3100-150 B.C.E.
3. Women in Ancient Rome, 800 B.C.E.-200 C.E.
4. Gender and the Evolution of Early Christianity, 60 B.C.E.-600 C.E.
5. Women in the Early and High Middle Ages, 400-1200
6. Women and Urban Life: The Late Middle Ages, 1200-1500
7. Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700
8. Whose Enlightenment? Whose Revolution? 1700-1815
9. Women in the New Industrial Society, 1800-1900
10. Resistance, Revolution, and Reform, 1815-1900
11. Gender and Imperialism, 1830-1930
12. The New Woman from War to Revolution, 1880-1919
13. The Modern Woman Between the Wars, 1919-1939
14. New Possibilities, New Perils: Women in World War II, 1939-1945
15. Women and the Postwar Generation, 1945-1970
16. Gender at the Turn of the Millennium