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European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804734202
ISBN-10: 0804734208
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Editorial Reviews


"This is an important work both for its recovery of little-studied aspects of European feminisms and for the reinterpretation of their main strands. The author's ability to situate feminisms squarely in the political and intellectual history of Europe, as well as in various chronological, geographical, and ideological contexts, is particularly impressive."—Mary Lynn Stewart, Simon Fraser University

"[European Feminisms] is clear, sensible, and forceful, and it never lapses into jargon or anachronism. It offers a rich account of the aspirations, illusions, disillusions, flounderings, achievements, and advances of a compelling cause." —Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter

"European Feminisms provides the best-documented and most synthetic survey of the European-wide [feminist] effort to date."—Journal of Women's History

"Karen Offen's long-awaited book provides an ambitious and substantially fascinating comparative narrative of themes in the history of European feminism. . . . This is a thoroughly reasearched, bibliographically impeccable, and interpretatively feisty history."—Europe: Early Modern and Modern

"Offen's history of European feminisms since 1700 is a fascinating tale of the complex relationship between political, state and feminist pragmatics. It will contribute to debates about what counts as a certain gain for feminism."—Canadian Journal of Political Science
"[European Feminisms] will become an indispensable research tool for students and scholars. . . . By its range and research this represents a remarkable scholarly work and integrates the history of feminism convincingly into mainstream history. European Feminisms provides a record of feminims' struggles as being fundamentally political and is itself a work of politics as well as of history."—Women's History Review
"[European Feminisms] marks a milestone in recent scholarship in women's history and particularly the history of feminism. The originality of the book lies not only in its reinterpretation of the history of feminism but also in its inclusion of countries usually considered to be on the periphery of European history."—The Historian
"The most comprehensive analysis of European feminism to date."—The Historian
"European Feminisms is a book that could be used in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in Women's Studies and gender studies, history, philosophy, and literature. Offen writes clearly, cogently, and persuasively . . . .For contemporary feminists, European Feminisms offers invaluable lessons from the past for the future."—NWSA Journal
“...in the tremendous breadth of its coverage, this book is a tour de force; there is none that compares.”—Journal of Modern History

From the Inside Flap

This ambitious book explores challenges to male hegemony throughout continental Europe. It focuses especially on France, but it also offers comparative material on developments in the German-speaking countries and in the smaller European nations and aspiring nation-states. Spanning 250 years, the sweeping coverage extends from Portugal to Poland, Greece to Finland, Ireland to Ukraine, and Spain to Scandinavia—as well as international and transnational feminist organizations.
The study has several objectives. For general readers and those interested primarily in the historical record, it provides a comprehensive, comparative account of feminist developments in European societies, as well as a rereading of European history from a feminist perspective. By placing gender, or relations between women and men, at the center of European politics, where the author argues that it belongs but from which it has long been marginalized, the book aims to reconfigure our understanding of the European past and to make visible a long but neglected tradition of feminist thought and politics.
On another level, by providing a broad and accurate historical analysis, the book seeks to disentangle some misperceptions and to demystify some confusing contemporary debates about the Enlightenment, reason, nature, equality vs. difference, and public vs. private, among others. The author argues that historical feminisms offer us far more than logical paradoxes and contradictions; feminisms are about sexual politics, not philosophy. Feminist victories are not, strictly speaking, about getting the argument right, nor is gender merely “a useful category of analysis”; sexual difference lies at the heart of human thought and politics.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (November 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804734208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804734202
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Karen Offen's newest work, the groundbreaking European Feminisms: 1700 - 1950, seeks to rediscover, contextualize, and historically analyze the ideas and actions of feminist women and men during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and the first half of the twentieth century. Offen succeeds not merely in filling in the blanks (and they are many) in our historical memory of the wide array of feminists and feminisms during this period, but more significantly, in taking steps to reconceptualize our understanding of this era in European history.
She does this, as she explains, "By placing gender, or relations between women and men, at the center of European politics..." In other words, European history, as traditionally conceived, presents a skewed and partial picture of the past - a portrayal made possible by the systematic marginalization and erasure of feminists and feminisms. The traditional conceptualization of European history has also relied on a refusal to recognize gender as central to human relations. For the past three decades feminist historians, Offen among the most widely known and highly respected of them, have worked to re-think and re-write the histories of many peoples and nations.
This book utilizes the work of this generation of European historians, synthesizing and reconceptualizing their arguments, while building upon their research with an expansive array of published primary sources, to create this wide-ranging, extraordinarily researched text. Relying on the axiom that knowledge is power, and "partial knowledge, or lack of knowledge, can disempower" (p.3), Offen provides a clear explanation for the historical evaporation of our feminist past.
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Format: Paperback
Feminism was and is among the broadest and most radical political movements of modern times--it concerns itself with a group, women, which makes up more than one half of the human race and with a form of oppression, patriarchy, which is certainly among the oldest and the most widespread. But in spite of its historical importance this movement has received so little attention in the mainstream of historical research that one can almost speak of an erasure of the feminist past. The "new" feminists of the 1970s were so unaware of this history that they believed that they had to reinvent feminism. A generation of scholars, resolved that the feminist movement must never again slip into oblivion, has reconstructed many aspects of its history. Without this research, the broad and synthetic work that Karen Offen presents to us would not have been possible. But Karen Offen, a well-known historian of France and the editor of several valuable collections of documents on women's history, is in many ways critical of this body of research. Historians, she charges, have too often evaluated feminists of past generations by present-day standards, and have criticized or rejected these feminists because they did not conform to today's feminist orthodoxies. Karen Offen, by contrast, places feminist movements in their historical context, which in this volume is the history of Europe from 1700 to about 1950. And, though she admits that many feminists made mistakes, her purpose is chiefly to praise these courageous women and men who, often against crushing opposition, identified, protested, and struggled against the subordination of women in all its varied manifestations. "They deserve," she writes, "not only to be recognized and remembered, but applauded and celebrated (16).Read more ›
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By Britt on January 16, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great Book, used it to reference and put into context some related topics! Get it, you won't be sorry!!!
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